Pedal power brought cus­tomers flock­ing to pit stop

Gloucestershire Echo - - NOSTALGIA -

Tewkes­bury’s Willow Cafe, which over­looked the Cross, was first named the Vic­to­ria Restau­rant.

The build­ing at 61 High Street had once been a pub called the Ship and Cas­tle, but in the last half of the 19th cen­tury tea and cof­fee re­placed mild and bit­ter.

Around the turn of the cen­tury, cy­cling be­came a pop­u­lar leisure ac­tiv­ity.

The bi­cy­cle brought a sense of freedom that had never been known.

The Vic­to­ria Restau­rant, like many of its kind, was ap­proved by the Cy­clists’ Tour­ing Club and of­fered clean, in­ex­pen­sive ac­com­mo­da­tion to travellers who had ped­alled from as far as Birm­ing­ham, Bris­tol or Ox­ford.

Many Tewkes­buri­ans with a mem­ory that stretches back to the 1960s will re­call the Doddo Cafe.

This half-tim­bered build­ing stood in the High Street (where the li­brary is to­day) with Nel­lie Jones’ sweet shop and Shake­speare’s new and sec­ond hand furniture em­po­rium as its neigh­bours.

The Doddo cafe was a pop­u­lar meet­ing place.

At its en­trance was a heavy, stud­ded wooden door said to have been taken from the Abbey. It was de­mol­ished in 1965.

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So­phis­ti­cated din­ers made for Barsanti’s restau­rant.

Ital­ian em­i­grant, Palmiro Barsanti es­tab­lished his eat­ing house at 9 Church Street, next to the Berke­ley pub.

To the rear was his Ital­ianate gar­den where clas­si­cal statues, or­na­men­tal pago­das, trel­lised ar­cades and striped sun­shades mush­roomed above the ta­bles. Palmiro’s home made ice cream was highly re­garded.

Barsanti Tea Rooms and Berke­ley Arms

Doddo’s Cafe, left, and Willow Cafe over­looked The Cross

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