Column: Quirky days of cafe culture

Carol Forster
Carol Forster

Well dear readers, I have been reflecting on a dim and distant past again.

Dim is an appropriate word in this case because one of this week’s memories is the mysterious cafe that I believe was named Casa Baba, though I could be very much mistaken.

Anyway, I recall climbing up steep steps on Penny Street in the early 1970s, not far from the crossroads of Church Street or that place of fishy wonderments – MacFisheries - to a dimly lit cafe with black wrought iron which hugged cosy clusters of tables and, perhaps, an orange theme going on. At the counter sat egg and cress buns and cream cakes, while the whirring drinks machines were busy doing their thing.

We would pop up after school sometimes for a cuppa and I am sure many Lancastrians have fond memories of the place.

The most noticeable thing for me, however, was the effect of entering the den, much like entering another more exotic world.

The dim lighting made it seem more for the evening, and I have no idea whether it ran into the night ...

Another place that people who were around in the 1960s will recall (and indeed well beyond) was the boat of wonder that stood proudly in the Glasson Dock basin for eons.

The Cafe Babagee!

Not surprisingly I often get the two names mixed up in my memory.

For a start, it was beyond quirky, and seemed to fit perfectly into the strangely attractive zone of Glasson Dock.

I recall entering the old wooden boat for a Hot Chocolate in the 1960s as a wee ‘un, as well as entering with friends, after a long walk at Glasson, some years later.

What a marvel it was with its old fashioned charm and perfect location.

Finally, I wonder if any of you recall a wonderful fish and chip shop on upper Penny Street?

I remember going up the stairs with my family, in the 1960s, to a delicious meal and glass of Vimto while a huge ceiling fan kept we kids fascinated. I also remember the busy staff rushing hither and thither as it was a very popular place.

It made me realise that, along with Lawson’s rocking horse, Lancaster is a very quirky place, and some!

More local memories next week ;)