Rumour has it that Hitler was so enamoured with the beauty of Manchester’s Midland Hotel he sent out orders to avoid damaging the building during World War II.
In fact, claims suggest Hitler planned to set up a base of operations in the city, right in the Midland – the Luftwaffe was ordered to avoid bombing the building in the Blitz because of this.
This legend has been quoted in many pieces of literature about the hotel since, but is there any truth to it?
To understand where the Midland Hotel comes into the story, we’ve got to take a little trip into a history lesson of Hitler’s plan for Britain in 1940, Operation Sea Lion.
As Hitler had successfully defeated most of Western Europe, his thoughts turned to conquering Britain. Operation Sea Lion was created, with which he essentially hoped to press the British Government into a peace agreement. He planned to use the force of odds against them, as well as sea and air superiority over the Channel.
Obviously, neither of these things happened. But what is important about the plan was the sheer efficiency and detail in its creation.
What is missed out in the detail though, is the invasion of the North of the country, as the plan only described how to occupy the South leaving the North in a limbo situation.
Now we’ve got that bit of high school history out of the way, let’s get back to The Midland Hotel.
The story follows that once the South had been invaded, German forces would rapidly push North across land, air and sea.
They wanted Manchester as a key administrative centre, the Town Hall would be commandeered and The Midland would become a key location for high-ranking Nazi elite. Including the Fuhrer himself.
Or so the story goes.
When you delve into the finer details it becomes apparent the truth behind the rumours are a lot murkier.
Manchester did become pretty high up on the list of places to bomb in the Blitz. This was most probably due to high munitions and war-effort industries around Salford and Trafford.
The Luftwaffe bombings smashed most of Manchester’s famous buildings including the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Cathedral, Piccadilly Gardens and Free Trade Hall.
What just so happened to be missed out from this list of landmarks is the Town Hall, Central Library and the Midland. This part is probably where the story comes from.
In fact, an anonymous American Intelligence Officer claimed to have uncovered papers indicating Hitler wished to set up his headquarters in the Midland and thus ordered Luftwaffe to avoid the area at all costs.
But how possible was it back then to accurately avoid very specific areas within a bombing process?
To refute the claim even more, those alleged papers have never been seen by anyone but that ‘anonymous tip’.
These kinds of myths don’t stop there, Hitler was apparently after the Blackpool tower and very specifically Rochdale Town Hall.
With hindsight we can see that none of this happened. After the Battle of Britain, Hitler turned his attention to the Russians with his Operation Barbarossa – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Take a look inside the creepy abandoned Belle Vue Showcase cinema
Who else has great memories of this place?
The Belle Vue Showcase cinema was somewhat of an iconic venue in Manchester, however, it is set to be demolished and replaced.
The news came late last year that the cinema would be demolished to make way for a new secondary school.
The school, ran by the Co-op, is planning on having its first year sevens students in by September, although they’ll be placed in temporary buildings.
The new Co-Op Academy Belle Vue school is set to be finished in 2023, and a first glimpse of what it will look like has now been released.
Newly released documents show a modern L-shaped building, which will be split into three different ‘zones’, including a two-storey sports block – complete with a sports hall, auditorium, and drama studio.
The iconic cinema first opened its doors in 1989 boasting a huge 14 screens in the entertainment complex.
Closing its doors back in March 2020, the cinema had been left abandoned all last year and started to look seriously creepy.
The timeline for demolition hasn’t been given yet, and parents had to have applied for their child’s place in the new school by November 2nd last year – in case you were wanting to.
Once the grounds of Belle Vue zoo and amusement park, the area will definitely have some stories to tell.
The Belle Vue Showcase cinema was one of the first multi-screen complexes to open up, bringing American films, no queues and car parks to fit a 1,000 cars – it was unlike anything that had ever been seen before when it first opened back in 1989.
Back in February last year when rumours began to circulate the cinema would be closing, Mark Barlow, general manager at Showcase Cinemas UK, said: “As the leader in UK cinema innovation, Showcase Cinemas remains committed to operating a cinema in Manchester and as such are in active discussions about future opportunities for a new, state-of-art cinema in the city.”
If you’re going to miss this iconic venue, the company are said to be looking into a new unnamed location for another cinema. They added that they ‘remain fully committed to the city’.
The 12 retro chocolate bars that need to be brought back immediately
Sadly many of the chocolate bars we were once delighted to see in our lunchbox no longer exist, snatched from us way before their time.
And I’m not the only one upset. Hundreds of petitions have been set up to bring back some retro classics and a handful have even been successful.
Last year, Cadbury announced it’s bringing back the Marble bar (only in Australia, unfortunately), proving that nagging works.
We’re still upset about a few other discontinued chocolate treats though…
These delicious honeycomb and white chocolate balls were last tasted in 2014 and Mars have confirmed they have no intention of bringing them back. It’s a crime against humanity.
Poundland does its own version if you can’t go another minute with eating one. Sure, it’s not the original but they are almost as good.
This white chocolate revelation from Cadbury was taken from us too soon. It first graced the shelves back in 2002 and fizzled away just a few short years after.
You can still get the original in Australia and New Zealand and import it over if you’re that dedicated to the cause. Personally, I’d like to see this in corner shops all around the UK.
There was nothing quite like the feeling of dunking your hand in a box of Celebrations and pulling out a Galaxy Truffle.
That feeling was pure happiness and frankly, we all need it back. They’ve released some sort of knock-off Nigel version but I’m not buying it. We want the originals.
It wasn’t until I started researching this that I discovered Time Out bars had sneakily been taken off our shelves and replaced with a single wafer version called Time Out Wafer.
Clever but you’re not fooling me with this smaller alternative.
Two words we didn’t know we needed putting together; chocolate and crisps. Essentially these bad boys were chocolate Pringles and how iconic were they?
We lost these to the discontinued pile back in 2010 and things haven’t been the same since.
The Mars Delight led a short life, just 4 small years. In part due to the fact that it was one of the most calorific bars ever made and it was released just when we were all getting fit – unfortunate timing.
6,423 signed a petition to bring these back in 2016 but there was no luck.
She is beauty, she is grace! Another bad decision from Cadbury was to remove the Flake Snow from our lives.
Nothing beats the promo of this either, a sponsored photoshoot at Anthea Turner’s wedding?! ICONIC.
Fox’s Echo bars were classic lunch box biscuits. They were discontinued and replaced with an inferior bar that we won’t even give any limelight.
Absolutely partial to a mint one but nothing could beat that mix of white and milk chocolate that would just melt in your mouth.
Cadbury Marble is only back in Australia so it is definitely going in the list of things we need back in the UK.
Marble is quite possibly one of the most missed creations of Cadbury, complete with swirls of milk chocolate, white chocolate and hazelnut praline. Dribbling already.
These rivalled Aero Mint (easily) but unfortunately never proved popular enough, being taken from our shelves back in 2003. Something about that velvety chocolate though…
The best thing you could get with the spare change you’d find down the sofa was a Cadbury Taz or a Freddo. The Taz has been replaced with a caramel Freddo instead, and I’m sorry but it’s just not the same.
This is like an ’80s version of a Twirl. Because I was born in 1996 I can’t comment on this bad boy, but I’ve heard good things and there is a petition to bring it back so they must’ve been popular enough to create an army of fans.
Have we missed any? Let us know in the Facebook comments…
There’s an abandoned bar hidden underneath Manchester’s Victoria Station
Would you dare explore underneath Victoria Station?
The Urban Collective search cities and urban landscapes for hidden, unexplored derelict sites, filming the process so we get to see.
Recently, The Urban Collective headed underneath Manchester’s Victoria Station to see the inner workings beneath the station.
Manchester’s Victoria Train Station opened all the way back in 1844, and was designed to help connect Leeds with the port city of Liverpool via train.
The initial building was designed by the ‘Father of Railways’, George Stephenson, who was heavily involved in the UK’s early rail networks.
The original building was a long, single-storey structure that you can still see just next to the large Arena steps.
By the early 1900s, the station had 17 platforms and a huge façade, designed by William Dawes, which still exists today.
The Urban Collective headed underneath the station via the old station offices in the main building, and descended into the now derelict B.R.S.A club.
The club was an underground bar owned by the British Railway Staff Association, and operated as a typical working men’s club during the ’70s and ’80s.
It’s tucked away below the station and the street itself, with punters heading down for a pint near the top station entrance.
You could also get in via the glass building over the road, which later became a barbers.
The bar, topped with glass, as well as wooden floors and other original features are still intact. There’s even a creepy cellar full of crates and thousands of discarded lager bottles.
Old posters are still on the walls, plus there’s even electricity still supplied which makes the fan above the dance floor occasionally spin.
Members nicknamed their fave spot ‘The Vic Bars’, and train staff regularly attended day and night to see organists and cabaret acts throughout the week.
The club was eventually closed in 1992 and has remained derelict and forgotten ever since.
However, the club unit is now under offer as a potential new club, pub or retail unit, despite the considerable amount of work that needs to be undertaken.
You can check out The Urban Collective on YouTube here.