Part 1: The West…
None of the research in this piece is specific, scientific or socially significant. Any misconception, misrepresentation or misanthropy is purely there for alliterative reasons and I blame the 80s.
Mooching M20 with Didsbury Son has always been a favourite pursuit and I have had to start thinking about routes that will take a double buggy with a coffee holder as we prepare to welcome twins into the family tradition of wandering aimlessly; all this wandering – it’s my cultural heritage.
Clyde Road. A three-storeyed gateway linking Barlow Moor Road’s former cutting edge with Lapwing Lane’s BoHo entry to Westworld. Barlow Moor Road used to host The Barleycorn and Mr Marvel’s Cafe. The Barleycorn, a former casino where my own Didsbury Dad and Mum lived as a young couple was the first pub I ever went into. At occasional stages I was almost cool enough to go downstairs. Mr Marvel, a now empty basement opposite Moor Allerton pre-dated Art of Tea and Costafication by several generations. Its lure for older kids and its promise of smokey naughtiness, pinball and … coffee was enticing and a little scary.
But Clyde Road. Now that was West Didsbury; a combination of dance school, studio flats and huge houses seemingly packed with dressing up boxes, tobacco and wannabees. Clyde Road leads to Lapwing Lane and Burton Road – the heart of West Didsbury. Once faded, now sought after and a go-to place for boys with big cars, girls with big heels and developers with an eye for renovation.
Lapwing Lane has always held a fascination for me since childhood. I always thought that Withington Town Hall would make a great nightclub. Lapwing Court’s flat roofs and balconies were chic beyond belief and the venue now known as The Metropolitan was a monolith in the heart of my world.
Piccolino’s was The Nose. The Nose was groundbreaking. When Liz owned it, Henry worked the kitchens and Sonia served it was the daytime Madchester office cum hangout. The Midland, first with Bilko’s and then MVITA brought the world to West Didsbury and a party to every weekend.
Duwe’s brilliant bakery is now Pete’s stylish Steranko and where I cycled with my Didsbury Dad for bagels from Somers is now a wooden furniture treasure trove. The impressive Withington Hospital may have been diminished and hawked for a development with the look of an open prison but Burton Road is a journey through Didsbury’s past through to its future. The Canadian Charcoal Pit has been there from a time when cup cakes being global currency was as improbable as Manchester being a destination city, but Folk fits seamlessly into Westworld and from the mosque to Withington Baths is a cultural journey with room for both of us, coffees and a pram with more gadgets than a James Bond Aston Martin DB7.
Didsbury Dad’s random recommendations in West Didsbury:
Folk: great vibe, great food, service so bad it’s entertaining.
Ghurka Grill: the extension gives more menu sampling opportunity.
Orchard Street: I like a mooch up and down.
Crazy Wendy’s: I like to walk past.
The Shop on the corner opposite Piccolino’s. always something beautiful.
The Metropolitan: I like to go there to watch the beautiful people and count my blessings I am married and Didsbury Son means I have to go home early.