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The Egremont Cafe

The Egremont Cafe

Busy transport cafe

This photograph shows the Egremont Cafe, in Egremont Place, opposite the entrance to Queen’s Park and was taken in May 1977. It was a very busy transport cafe, frequented by the people who worked for the GPO, Gas Board, refuse collectors and a host of wonderfully interesting people. The lady who ran it was Margaret Popadiuk and the staff included Lucy, Rita and Joan.

The wonderful fresh cakes were very popular and you had to be an early bird to get one.

Corona in glass bottles

I remember it had three pin ball machines; I needed to stand on a plastic box to reach the flipper buttons, to enable me to play.  It also had a jukebox, which had a regular change of songs, to match the mood of customers. It had tables and a long breakfast bar, with high stools, where we sat to drink our Corona drinks in glass bottles with straws. On the same wall a large blackboard had the week’s menu, which people could book in advance. The cake of the day was also shown on the blackboard for you to order.

Do you remember?

Do you remember the Egremont Cafe? When did you go there? Or did you have another favourite cafe? If you can share your memories, please leave a comment below.

Now the Wooden Belly

Comments about this page

  • Hi, If memory serves there was a newsagent/sweet shop next door.

    By Rick Smallman (17/04/2014)
  • I used to go past here every day on my way to school when I was at the Xaverian College, Queens Park. Went past it the other day whilst in the old home town and saw it was still a caff but with a funny name! I suppose it has a meaning to someone. Shame the old Attree Villa, Xaverian College, got pulled down and the only reminder is the word ‘College’ on the remaining gatepost.

    By Tim Sargeant (17/04/2014)
  • It gets a decent write-up, so it can’t be because you need a wooden belly to eat there. That would be Deli Belly, anyway! Intriguing…

    By Stefan Bremner-Morris (18/04/2014)
  • Next door to the Cafe was a fruit and veg shop, which closed down and was empty for years.  Next to the fruit and veg shop on the corner of Egremont Place and Upper Park Place, was the sweet shop / newsagent. I believe both shops have been turned into private dwellings now, leaving only the cafe.

    By Jill (06/05/2014)
  • Regarding cafes, does anyone remember a tea room run by Agnes and Cecil Watts in the 1930s or 1940s. If so where was it? Agnes, maiden name Rogers, was one of the Gwen Rogers Musical Dolls and possibly the Romany Players in the 1920s. Cecil E Watts was a pioneer of direct to disc recording and the ‘dust bug’ for cleaning disc records.

    By John Rogers (12/06/2014)
  • Re John Rogers’ question of 12/06/14: The tea room and garden run by Agnes & Cecil Watts was near Uckfield, which is about 18 miles from Brighton. They bought it in 1953 but may not have opened it until 1954. (Info. from biography of Cecil, by Agnes, self-pub. 1972.) I am researching Watts – perhaps we might be able to help each other?

    By Norman Field (20/09/2014)
  • I would have dated the top photo earlier than 1977 as it looks like one of those 1960s flavoured milk drinks machines by the door. I thought they were all defunct by 1977.

    By Peter Groves (22/09/2014)
  • The Egremont Cafe is listed at 32 Egremont Place in my 1974 Kelly’s Directory of Brighton & Hove if that is any help.

    By Alan Hobden (22/09/2014)
  • I have great memories of this café when I was at Queens Park Secondary. As I couldn’t stand school dinners, I, along with lots of others, used to walk up Park Hill at dinner time, and have lunch in the café, usually ham, egg, and chips, with bread and butter, and a cup of tea. The meal was wafted down as quick as we could, so as we could get on the pinball machine. This was in the late 1960s to early 70s.

    By Alan Purton (23/09/2014)
  • How well I remember the Egremont. Fresh crusty rolls filled with wads of bacon (and fried onions if you asked for them). The mouth drools just thinking about them. Time passes, such a shame.

    By Peter Miller (28/03/2015)
  • Oh yes! I was a milkman briefly in 1978-9 and used to love being on “110 round” because of being able to have a slap-up breakfast at the Egremont! I included a very brief scene set there, with a photo of my co-op milkfloat taken from inside the cafè, in a short story I wrote – which you can find here
    (Better to start with the chapter entitled “110 round” then click on the Egremont hypertext)
    Names were invented of course. Glad my son found this site, thanks!

    By Sherren Hobson (16/11/2015)
  • Peter Groves… Have checked the original photo and May 1977 is the date and  sequence. I never remember using the machine or seeing it refilled, with I assume cartons of milk.  Yes, Peter Miller – I remember the crusty bacon rolls too – Rita would ask “Sat-on?” “Yes please” meant she would crush it, meaning I could bite into it.  

    By Jill (07/06/2016)
  • This brings back happy memories for me. My parents John and Joan Wootton and my nan Hilda Taylor owned it. l was still at school at the time my dad had a job it was mum, nan and my sister Sandra who worked in the cafe. Rita mentioned in a previous comment, worked for mum.  Mostly the customers were workmen and it was very popular with the kids from Queens Park School for playing the pinball machines. Mum and nan made the cakes and pastry. In the cellar was the potato peeler machine, and the machine that cut the potatoes and made them into chips.

    By Carol Wootton (14/07/2017)
  • Hello Carol Wootton. Did you ever attend St. Margaret’s School during the ’50s when the never to be forgotten Pop Mason was headmaster? Apart from Wiggie who often posts its rare to find anyone from the old school of this period. Often walk down Queensbury Mews and many happy memories flood back. Any other old pupils still around?

    By Frosty (28/07/2017)
  • Hi Carol Wootton – It seems it must’ve been my parents that bought it from yours around 1980 ish!!  We were there for about 8 years, I think. I remember Rita (an Irish lady) and next door turned into a sewing shop owned by a Chinese lady, and next to that was “Len’s” the newsagent and sweetshop.  Gotta get down there sometime soon and see it again.

    By Phil Adams (13/09/2017)

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