Douglas Coffee Palace

Douglas Coffee Palace

Mathieson gives the following description:

This was in an old building which in the 1870’s had been Priestley’s Restaurant. After it became the Coffee Palace it stood, a strictly teetotal establishment, gallant and lonely in the midst of an alcoholic sea, until ‘demolished, along with its neighbours, in the great clearance of the Douglas slums.

Founded to provide an alternative to the numerous public houses on North Quay - founders were William James Kermode and Thomas Cubon The Memorial notice for William Kermode of 1912 gives some of the history:

In association with the late Mr Thomas Cubbon. of The Priory. Mr Kermode founded the Douglas Coffee Palace, considerably over 30 years ago. Both gentlemen held strong convictions as to the harmfulness of intoxicating beverages, and both strove might and main for the advancement of temperance principles. They felt that some counter-attraction to the public-house was required — something in the nature of a temperance public-house, where men and women of the working class could be supplied with light and innocuous refreshment at cheap rates, and enjoy, if so disposed, a game of draughts or chess or bagatelle, and where the newspapers and magazines could be read. Accordingly they secured premises having a double frontage, the one to the North Quay and the other to the Fairy Ground, with a gable overlooking the Market-place; and in this building they established the Douglas Coffee Palace, an institution which exists to this day, and is carried on in the original premises by the same company which Mr Kermode and Mr Cubbon formed for the purpose of raising the required capital. And if the Coffee Palace have not fulfilled all the expectations of the more optimistic of its founders, it has served a most useful purpose in affording quayside workers the opportunity of procuring good food and non-intoxicating beverages cheaply. Moreover the Coffee Palace has always paid its way, the modest profits havng sufficed to return to the shareholders a reasonable turn upon outlay.


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2001