Days of ice cream at the Piccadilly Bar

A 1930s photograph of the Amerigo clan at a family wedding. Ernest Amerigo, aged 16, is pictured second left with his mother Elizabeth Amerigo (Crosby) below him
A 1930s photograph of the Amerigo clan at a family wedding. Ernest Amerigo, aged 16, is pictured second left with his mother Elizabeth Amerigo (Crosby) below him

A FAMILY tree researcher would like to find out more about a famous ancestor who made it big in ice cream. Andrew Rimmer is one of the current generation of the well-known Amerigo family from Hartlepool. Chris Cordner found out more about his quest for more.

ANDREW Rimmer may not live in Hartlepool any more.

But he has many memories of his younger days in town. They were recollections of hot summer days helping out his relatives in an ice cream van on the Tees valley coast.

Now, 40 years on from those childhood memories, he is keen to find out more about his past and he would like to do it with the help of our Family Roots column.

Andrew, now 49, said: “I have great memories of helping my granddad in the ice-cream van at the Seal Sands on bank holidays.”

Those halcyon days included watching his grandfather Ernesto Amerigo make “hard ice-cream cornets by hand on a big cast iron machine.”

Andrew would then watch as Ernesto got the cornets ready to be stored in old biscuit tins. They were memories of a flourishing Hartlepool business.

Andrew also remembered: “My grandfather had a lot of brothers and some sisters, which I suppose was like a lot of families back then in the 1920’s.”

But now he wants help to progress his family memories still further,

“I’m looking for any information about the Amerigo family in Hartlepool,” Andrew added.

Andrew’s great grandfather was Guisseppe Amerigo “who had many children.” One of them was Andrew’s grandfather Ernesto Amerigo.

Andrew added: “They made ice-cream in Hartlepool and had an ice-cream parlour and coffee shop in Musgrave Street, near to Lynn Street. It was called the Piccadilly Bar.”

Andrew now lives in York although he recently returned to the town he was born and brought in. He returned on work-related matters but soon realised he recognised some old familiar sights,

He said: “I was nine the last time I was here but I instantly remembered the Binns building as well as Camerons brewery and the Co-op building as if it was yesterday.”

Andrew also has some of his own information on the origins of his family.

He said: “I understand my great grandad came from Italy. Guiseppe Amerigo was an organ grinder musician and then sold ice-cream from a cart on two wheels.”

That was followed by ice-cream selling using a horse and cart. Eventually the family had some ice-cream vans in Hartlepool before they became involved in the Piccadilly Bar at Musgrave street which sold ice creams and coffee.

Andrew added: “I’ve been asking a lot of people about it since I’ve been here. It was very popular as were other Italian places.”

We would love to help Andrew in his research.

If you have any information on the Amerigo family and its history, why not get in touch.

Contact the Hartlepool Mail head of features Chris Cordner on (01429) 239377 or email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk