Cafe Culture in the heart of Birmingham, during the 1920’s
The “Park Cafe” was, from all accounts, a well patronised ‘Hub’ on the east side of Birmingham city centre, close to the famous Football Club – Aston Villa.
Business Travellers, Merchants, Shoppers and Mothers would while away their time in the warm and comforting establishment, along with their young children ‘skiving-off’ school on such cold and polluted days. Many little friends and dolls were lost and made under those tables.
My Great Grand Father owned the Cafe and his long suffering wife ran it. She worked night and day to keep the establishment viable whilst her Husband gambled away the profits doing questionable deals with his cronies.
Toasted Tea Cakes would have been prepared hours before the Cafe’s doors opened along with great pans of Soup and Bread. Meanwhile Silver Urns of Tea and Cakes would have graced the Travelling Salesmen, interspersed with great drawers of cigarette smoke.
My Grand Father was one of four sons, each of whom would have been known for their excesses. There was my Grand Father who was a Gambler (An unlucky one by all accounts!) Another son a wheeler-Dealer. Then there was the Artist, a thin young man given to fears and illnesses! The fourth of the son’s was an Adventurer; a day-dreamer who was convinced his fortune and future was as a Writer & Producer of films in the burgeoning West Coast of America. I have caught a glimpse of his name from time to time but am not sure this is truly the destiny of one of my English ancestors (although I would love to think he is!)
Dreams and plans are truly birthed in the nurturing atmosphere of Cafe’s
Written by Peter j Foster.