The Koffee Pot, Ashton-under-Lyne: 1967 – 2007
After 40 years of being Ashton’s famous greasy spoon café, the Koffee Pot had closed its doors on Saturday 24 March 2007. Citing increased competition and the Ashton Market fire of 2004, the café closed at 4.00 pm, ending its tenure as one of the oldest residents of what is now known as the Ladysmith Centre.
Originally on Staveleigh Way, the café’s previous unit was on the first floor of the precinct, above the Rumbelows store, next to Burton. This outlet was a relic of the 1960s with formica tables, lighting with coloured cigar shaped lamp shades and black rexine seats with tables, in regimented fashion. This unit was popular, being close to the often broken escalator, the Tesco store (now today’s Home Bargains shop), and Boots.
Until 2002, The Koffee Pot had a sister outlet on the corner of Market Avenue and Stamford Street, once the main shopping street in Ashton-under-Lyne. This too had the same rexine seats, though with higher ceilings, and an outdoor serving hatch. In 2002, this was attractively refurbished and renamed as ‘Sorrento’s Café’, with a contemporary Italian theme.
Due to refurbishment of what was then newly renamed ‘The Ladysmith Centre’, The Koffee Pot moved to bigger premises, taking an upstairs unit in the late 1990s. The new premises saw an increase in retail space and a lift. This was formerly the Lancastrian Tandoori, and had imposing views of the bus station and the Radcliffe Freedom Gardens. At least that was the case till the Arcades Shopping Centre opened in October 1995.
In the last few years, The Koffee Pot struggled to find the form it had in the 1970s and the 1980s. Tastes had moved on, and the sort of cafés which shoppers wanted were akin to Sorrento’s on Market Avenue. People not only wanted all day breakfasts, they also wanted pasta dishes, ciabattas and posh coffees. Nevertheless, it was still supported by a loyal following. Within that period, places like The Koffee Pot had also lost out to pub chains offering cheap meal deals and family friendly gastropubs.
On Saturday, I was one of the last paying customers of a café, part of Ashton-under-Lyne for over forty years. Never again will I hear the staff shouting “two Full Monty Breakfasts”, nor will I be wearing the remains of that due to the air conditioning. The breakfast was good, though nothing special. Their milky coffee was every bit as good as the one I had last Wednesday at twice the price.
After four decades, that venerable outpost of all day breakfasts had joined the likes of The Wooden Spoon and Bakers TV and Radio in the great shopping mall in the sky. Farewell Koffee Pot, and all the best to those who have shouted with frightening virtuosity for several years “Two Full Monty Breakfasts”.
S.V, 28 March 2007