Victoria Cafe

I’m looking forward to writing a sequel to my Glasgow Road book, which will this time be all about the businesses and homes on the North side of the road. I’ve been collecting many photos for that purpose. Like this one of the former Victoria Cafe, just after it had been boarded and bricked up. This was 44 years ago in 1979. The bricks and boards used looking new like it had just been done.

To put some context into the location, this would now be the grass at the side of Glasgow Road at Andy’s Tyres, with the corner of Forrest Street just out the photo to the left. The Victoria Cafe stood directly opposite the end of Auchinraith Road junction of Glasgow Road.

Actually, this building has an interesting piece of trivia attached to it. The upper storey directly above the cafe, a house was one of the first tenements to be demolished on the north side of Glasgow Road. The rest of them coming down pretty fast after it.

I was recently conversing with Sandie Choi, who used to live in that very upper house! Sandie kindly provided me some great social history of her time in this area as a child. She told me, “You’ll have to appreciate I am relying on memory here as it was a long time ago.  Neither of my parents are alive to ask for more information. My mother was very sharp on detail so it’s a shame that I can’t refer to her anymore.  I was a very young child when I lived there.

My father was William Skouse and I believe he owned the Victoria Cafe from the late fifties to approximately 1965.  He ran the cafe and an ice cream business from the cafe.  He was of Italian descent so it was ice cream without all the additives and churned in the cafe.   There were ice cream vans as well.  

I lived in the tenement above the cafe with my parents and older sister.  The tenement was accessed in Forrest Street by a staircase at the back which led up to a concrete walkway.  I think there were 3 dwellings per tenement but can’t be entirely sure.  Next door were the Murray family and I think on the end were the Flanagan family.  

The tenement we lived in had one large room at the back which was the kitchen (well sink and cooker) and sitting room.  At the front were two bedrooms looking out onto Glasgow Road.  There was no bathroom.  I think we had a tin bath.  There was a concrete outdoor toilet opposite our front door which was shared by all the families I think.  

I remember Forrest Street.  I think it started on a hill from Glasgow Road and I used to run down it being chased by our Alsatian dog.  There was a swing park there and I do have photos of myself and the kids from the other tenements but not sure where they are.  I will dig them out.  

The cafe had a back room and there are photos of that.  Again I’ll need to go up to the loft to dig them out.   The cafe itself had a counter and the ice cream vats on the left hand side as you entered and there were seating areas on the right hand side.  We sold tobacco because I remember playing with the cigarette papers!

I went to St Joseph’s primary school which I believe is still there although the original building has gone.  My sister went to Bothwell Convent, Elmwood? 

I do remember the sectarianism of Glasgow at that time.  We were Catholic and you remained indoors when the Orange band marched through!!

Looking at the photos of the demolition it looks really grim but I had a happy childhood despite the obvious deprivation.  I can remember being out playing for hours with freedom to roam that kids just don’t have these days and I must have been very young as was 7 when we left and moved to the south of England. “

What’s your memories of the Victoria Cafe? Did YOUR family own or run any businesses on Glasgow Road (especially on the north Sports Centre side?!). I’d love to hear from you.

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  1. Living at Beech Place off Auchinraith road, I remember that shop as a kid, but we all called it “Angie’s”. Could Sadie maybe elaborate on that? Maybe her mother was represented in that name.
    My era for going there would be mid 50’s to mid 60s, so only a little earlier than Sadie’s.
    We know Peter’s on Glasgow Road and Mickey’s at the bottom of Stonefield Road were connected by family and my family thought Angie’s was too, so interesting to note that was not the case.

    I think “Joak” Richardson’s butcher shop was next door or very close by the entrance to Forrest Street where I was born. Possibly the Richardsons were neighbours upstairs, sharing the same entrance….and maybe outdoor Loo!
    I hope my memory is not failing me.

    Could census records assist in giving clarity on the name?
    A “Poky Hat” from there (or anywhere) was a really special treat in my day. Miners (as my Dad was) didn’t have much, or any disposable income.

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