Saturday, August 29, 2015

1932 Cafe and Restaurant and Tour of Manchester Unity Building

Recently, Tim and I went to a 1932 Café and Restaurant Afternoon Tea and Tour of the Manchester Unity Building. 

The 1932 Café and Restaurant is an art deco style establishment nestled on the ground floor of the historic Manchester Unity Building, on the corner of Collins and Swanston Streets in Melbourne.  

The café is hung with all manner of prints evocative of the early 1930s, when the Manchester Unity Building was built:

and the ceilings are hung with numerous impressive lights:

Our afternoon tea commenced with a cheese platter (the blue cheese was the winner):

and a glass of bubbly:

We were then allowed to choose from a selection of sweets.  Tim chose flourless orange and almond cake:
while I went for the last strawberry tart:

These delicious sweets were served with a cup of coffee of your choice:

Following afternoon tea, our group went on a guided tour of the Manchester Unity Building, established in 1932 and built in modern commercial Gothic style.  It has a tower at the top which is non-functional, installed simply to make it the tallest building in Melbourne at the time.

Here is a glimpse at the marvellous art deco interiors of the building:

and some of the views from the rooftop plus an exterior shot of the building from street level:

One of the highlights of the Manchester Unity Building is its boardroom, with a table so massive that it had to be lowered in from the roof.  The table has stayed in the building since its establishment, being preserved mainly because it is so large that it was considered too difficult to move.  Here is Tim sitting in one of the leather chairs at the board table: 

and here is me, sitting in the chairman's seat and trying my best to look stern and business like:

On the tour, we were informed that builders used to leave their shoes inside the walls of buildings they worked on to leave their mark.  Inside the boardroom of the Manchester Unity Building, there is a pair of shoes on display, ostensibly found in the walls of the building during renovations:

We really enjoyed our afternoon tea at 1932 Café and Restaurant and our tour through a fascinating and beautiful Melbourne landmark.

220 Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9663 5494


Kari said...

This afternoon tea / tour mix sounds quintessentially Melbourne. The food looks delicious and just the thing to precede a tour of the building.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe you do look very stern and not at all like how I picture you (which is really baking cakes for colleagues and friends :))

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Dear Gaye, what a marvelous post with so many amazing pictures, history and food!
Thank you for sharing your interesting tour with all of us!
Have a wonderful Sunday, my friend!

Mae Travels said...

I wonder if there are photos of the building as it was originally designed. Was the tea room built for that purpose? Sometimes the urge to reconstruct things leaves you with exaggerated features that combine the most extreme of the style being emulated -- or not, all depends. I always like when there are old photos displayed to show what the real original was like. Such as at the Coronado Hotel near San Diego which has been the model for many imitations and also has been the site of many movies (most notably Some Like it Hot which is supposed to be in Florida). Has the Melbourne building been in movies?

Cakelaw said...

I don't know Mae - if they have, they didn't mention it in the tour.

Kayte said...

I have to say that you and Tim look very at home in the chairs at the Manchester Unity Building! The photos of all that are just fantastic, what a beautiful building, and the food photos were so enticing...I wish I had been able to go with you! All of it looked fabulous. You do the most interesting things!