Minerva Café – Doncaster

A Doncaster town centre cafe, once used by former pop star Louis Tomlinson to film a pop video, has closed after trading for more nearly 50 years near the market. The Minerva Cafe has closed down after trading sine the 1970s offering breakfasts and lunches to shoppers.

The shutters are now down on the shop, which has not now been used for two weeks, say neighbouring businesses. Minerva was well known for its big breakfasts which often earned rave reviews on the internet. It also had a celebrity link, having been used by the former One Direction star Louis Tomlinson for the shooting of his Back to You video, last year. Doncaster Council town center bosses confirmed they understood the cafe had closed down, but did not know the reason. Long serving Doncaster market trader Nigel Berrysaid he had seen no sign of activity at the cafe for two weeks. He said: It has been here in the market for such a long time. It’s been there since I first started on the market in 1971. People have commented to me it feels like it has been there forever. 

“It is a shame to see it closed. It has been a bit of an institution round here.”

Doncaster Free Press

I came here on the 8th of February 2016, hungry but no alone – unaware of the Minerva’s popular cultural significance.

I just wanted a pie.

It came with chips peas and gravy – proper chips, proper tinned peas and an authentic plate pie pastry top and bottom, meaty minced meat filling.

My partner in crime had the full breakfast

We drank hot tea, chatted sporadically and ate the lot.

Table 16 aka table 22 – was more than satisfied.

The table was more than satisfactory a pale leatherette seated booth, with erratic homespun wood grain effects.

This was a place with hidden depths receding back from the entrance into deeper and deeper space.

And a proper regard for tea service etiquette – with no room for poor pouring stainless steel pragmatism.

But where are we now?

I returned on February 9th 2019 and the M was missing the Minerva was missing the shutters were down – ain’t nobody home.

No more pie, peas, chips and gravy no more full up upon full breakfasts.

No more Minerva, no more.

St Peter in Chains – Doncaster

A church shrouded in history and mystery – and on the day of my visit:

Torrential rain.

How appropriate as:

On the eve of the Reformation came a reputed miracle for Robert Leche and his family who were saved from drowning after invocation of Our Lady of Doncaster.

Its location on the Great North Road seems to have placed it through the years at the centre myth and magic.

On 30 November 1350, licence was granted for alienation in mortmain by, John son of Henry Nicbrothere de Eyoun and Richard le Ewere of Doncastre to the Carmelite Friars who are coming there to dwell in the town of Doncastre, of a messuage and six acres of land there, to build thereon a church in honour of St Mary and houses to dwell in.

A shrine was established to Our Lady of Doncaster.

Time and the Reformation were not kind to the shrine and Our Lady.

She and the church of St Peter came and went over the years until:

A new church was opened by Cardinal Heenan on Palm Sunday 1973, octagonal in shape. John Bentley’s Tabernacle Door, the four reredos panels and the altar designed for the old church are incorporated in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the new church.

The statue of Our Lady of Doncaster now stands in a circular shrine chapel on the north side of the church. Phyffers’ statue stands in an oak reredos with modern stained glass windows depicting St Joseph, the Annunciation, the Nativity and the Assumption.

A large and striking design by J. H. Langtry-Langton, incorporating important furnishings by J. F. Bentley from the predecessor church, along with good furnishings of the 1970s. The churches houses the modern successor to the medieval shrine of Our Lady of Doncaster.

Ambitious in scale, dotted with vertical detail, the main body of the church has an integrated meeting hall and clerical house. I remain however, more than somewhat unconvinced by its brick monumentality.

On September 23, 1974, the budding Liverpool star married his childhood sweetheart, Jean, at St Peters in Chains Roman Catholic Church in his hometown of Doncaster. 

There was no fanfare, no fans, no celebrity guests and certainly no Hello! style deal. Kevin was just 24, his bride a year younger. 

Watching them with a tear in their eyes were his proud parents, Joe, a miner, and Doris.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 10.52.09

Kevin says: ‘Jean and I hadn’t planned to get married for months, but I had a five-week ban for fighting with Billy Bremner and, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining, so we decided to use the time to get married quietly.’ 

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