A red hot response to ice cream appeal

Freda Larkin of the Amerigo ice cream family has been tracing her family tree. Freda, right, pictured with her daughter Yvonne Lord.
Freda Larkin of the Amerigo ice cream family has been tracing her family tree. Freda, right, pictured with her daughter Yvonne Lord.

YVONNE Lord and Freda Larkin had loads of reasons to remember the Piccadilly Bar, in Hartlepool. They both worked there and got in touch when we asked for memories of the coffee shop and ice cream parlour. It’s even the place where Yvonne met her future husband. Chris Cordner reports.

WE’VE had a remarkable response to our appeal for information on an ice cream empire.

We asked if anyone could tell us more about the Amerigo clan who set up The Piccadilly Bar, in Musgrave Street, which was both an ice cream parlour and coffee shop.

The results were marvellous, We’ve not only found out more. We have also spoken to two of the family descendants who worked in the business.

Family Roots has traced Freda Larkin, 70, whose maiden name was Amerigo, and her daughter Yvonne Lord, 48.

Last week, we featured a photograph showing the wedding of Rita and Alfredo Amerigo who were married in 1930.

Yvonne rang us to say: “That’s my nana and granddad who were getting married.”

She remembered the Piccadilly Bar well and recalled how the business became so successful, it grew too big for its Musgrave Street premises.

It moved into the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre where it kept the name of the Piccadilly Bar and continued for many years before it was taken over by Stephen Valenti, and later still became known as Alvin’s.

Yvonne said: “My granddad Alfredo took it into the shopping centre and all his daughters ran it. They were Rita, Muriel, Nita and my mam.”

But Yvonne also recalled: “I worked there myself from when I was 16, and I even met my future husband there.

“I loved working there. I got a pay packet with £15 for my first week’s work.

“Sometimes I would be front counter serving tea and coffee. Sometimes I would be on the serving window.

“I used to do the ice creams. You would put the milk in the churn and add the sugar.”

Mother-of-three, Yvonne, who now works in the Herons store, in the shopping centre, said: “Even when the shop changed hands, they kept it the same. They never changed the layout.

“The place eventually shut and some say that when they pulled out all the units, they found one of the old menus for the Piccadilly Bar.

“They were wonderful times.”

Our quest for more information started when former Hartlepool man Andrew Rimmer wanted help to find out more about the Amerigo family in Hartlepool.

Andrew’s great grandfather was Guisseppe Amerigo who had many children including Andrew’s grandfather Ernesto Amerigo.

Andrew remembered helping out on the ice cream van on hot summer days on the Hartlepool coast.

He also recalled watching his granddad make hard ice-cream cornets by hand on a big cast iron machine and storing them in biscuit tins.

Since our first story last month, more than half a dozen members of the Amerigo family have been in touch to offer help in Andrew’s search for more information.

We thank them all.