Friday, 21 April 2017

A city landmark already fading from the memory ............ Elisabeth House

It is remarkable how quickly you can forget a building.

Not that I suspect many will mourn the passing of Elisabeth House which was all glass and concrete walls and which was so misunderstood and disliked that no one can quite agree on when it went up.

Various sources suggest a date in the 1960s which does not quite fit with my memories of gazing across at its Victorian predecessor in the 1970s.

But recollections of events, places and buildings can so easily be wrong and I was prepared to accept that this was just one of those times when I was mistaken.

But not so. According to A Manchester View run by David Boardman,* Elisabeth House was built in 1971, which I am pleased to say means that my long term memory is fine, even if I can forget to put the wash on, turn off the lights.

And emboldened by having my memories confirmed I am sure the Ceylon Tea Centre inhabited what became the Dutch Pancake House.

The Tea Centre was  a commercial showcase for Ceylon’s products and it was there that I first discovered a salad could be more than a soft tomato, some limp lettuce and a bit of curly cucumber smothered in salad cream.

Here were rice dishes, some of which were curried and others which contained fruit, nuts and other exotic things.

It was a place I took for granted and then suddenly it had gone and now has been joined by Elisabeth House and soon the cinema just a little down Oxford Road, where I saw West Side Story, Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid and revisited with our young children in the 1980s and early 90s.

I can’t say I miss Elisabeth House but when I ever I do feel a tad nostalgic for the place I turn to that excellent series Blue Murder with Caroline Quentin  which ran for five series from 2003 through to 2009.

Look carefully and there are plenty of shots of the building and as a bonus from inside outwards Central Ref and the Town Hall Extension.

And in time these may well be some of the only images of the building to survive.

Location; Elisabeth House, 2011

Pictures;  Elisabeth House, 2011, from the collection of Ian Robertson

* Elisabeth House - St. Peter's Square http://manchesterhistory.net/manchester/tours/tour6/area6page61.html

2 comments:

  1. I certainly don't miss it. I worked there briefly a couple of decades ago. I can remember the view of the alleyway​ between the building and The Ocean cinema which was still going at the time.

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  2. Just remembered, Elisabeth House included​ Kentucky Fried Chicken opposite the traffic lights. Now, I do miss that!

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