Photo: Ron Hunt
Item #: 943
Just past Naylors shop to the right of the picture was the bus stop for the WCT buses to Wigan.
Just next to the car on the right was Unsworth's music and electrical shop, where I bought my first record, 6s 8d. Opposite was the Eldorado ( I think it was that ) coffee bar, where there was always a fight going on, and the lady would break it up saying "This has never happened before"
Spent many an unhappy in the tall building behind Barclays Bank my mother made me go every Sunday to the Congregational Church as was.
I recall in about 1971 standing at the church doorway and looking inside. It was dark, creepy and derelict. Then suddenly it disappeared. If not for this photo I thought I may have imagined it all. There is no trace of it now. Would it's location be where now stands a pub which might be called "The Gerard"?
The pub is the Sir Thomas Gerard, the only trace of the church is a small section of church wall between the Bank and the pub where Millingford brook runs underneath.
In response to John Harrison, the coffee bar was ‘The El Toro’. In the early/mid sixties it was run by a foreign lady, Spanish, I think - there was certainly a Spanish connection. The interior was decorated in yellow and orange, as opposed to the usual magnolia and there were bullfighting posters on the wall. I used to call in there after school with a couple of mates.
There were at least 3 coffee bars in Ashton: Rickards, which was higher up the street on the left and Dickinsons Temperance Bar, on Wigan Road. ‘The El Toro’ was more of a ‘café’ than coffee bar and I always regarded it as an afternoon place rather than somewhere to visit in the evening.
Rickards was the ‘posh’ place to go and was frequented by ‘Mods‘, there were scooters parked outside most evenings. Likewise Dickinson’s was the place for ‘Rockers’ justified by the number of motor bikes out front. Many of Rickards clientele wouldn’t be seen dead in Dickies and vice versa. I used to call in both with my particular group of friends, all three if you count El Toro, eventually favouring Dickies - they had a better jukebox.
Although they were called coffee bars not many people drank coffee, ice cream sodas were popular and in winter sasparilla and hot Vimto(really). The patrons of these places were generally in their mid teens, once you reached your late teens/early twenties, pubs became more appealing.
The Congregational Church was demolished about 1971 - 1972. A friend of mine, Ron Taylor, salvaged the church organ and rebuilt it in a shed at the bottom of his garden in Bolton Road. Fortunately it was a very long garden - well away from the houses. He had a big shed but the organ filled it almost completely, even so, some of the organ pipes were too long to fit inside so he had to cut a hole in the roof to poke them through.
If you were ever in the Bolton road area late at night and heard Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor wafting in the breeze, it probably wasn’t the Phantom of the Opera, more likely Ron Taylor in his shed.
What a great story Kenee... I wonder if the shed with the church organ is still standing. Wouldn't that be a great background sound for a dark Halloween night in the neighbourhood!
I fear the organ only had a brief reprieve Sheryl, it and the shed are long gone.
Smiley face! LOL, Cheers!