Cafes and Refreshment Rooms in Town.
Mr Smith’s Coffee House.
In 1891 Mr Thomas Smith had a coffee house at Market Street, Abertillery. It was advertised as Smith’s Coffee House.
The Arcade Cafe.
In the late 1890’s the Italians come to the valley and in 1899 Messrs Antonio and Louis Bracchi came to Abertillery and opened a cafe ice cream parlour in the new Arcade at number 5 the Arcade, High Street. Over the next few years the Bracchi, Tidaldi, Berni and Carpanini families were proprietors of cafes in the Arcade, Market Street and Somerset Street.
Amarilli Gaudio Jackson.
In the 1907 Copes Directory, Mr Amarilli Gaudio Jackson had a refreshment room at 6 Market Street. He also had a confectionery shop at Carlyle and Station Road junction later demolished with the Empress Skating Rink being built on its site.
Carmel Street Refreshment Rooms.
In 1907 Messrs J. Player were the proprietors of the Carmel Street, Refreshment Rooms, Abertillery.
Mrs Jones Refreshment Rooms.
In 1914 Mrs Edith H. Jones had a refreshment rooms in Somerset Street, Abertillery.
Lanes Refreshment Rooms.
In the 1900’s Mr William Lane was the proprietor of refreshment rooms at 21 Market Street.
The Dorothy Cafe .
In 1916 the Dorothy Cafe in Somerset Street had opened. Mr Joseph and Maria Handy were proprietors. Mr Joseph Handy born 1872 was a blacksmith at the Penybont Tillery Colliery and the son of Mr Charles Handy, the under manager of the same colliery.
After the death of both Mr and Mrs Handy in 1928 and 1935 respectively, the Dorothy Cafe was kept by their daughter Flossie and her husband Mr W. Henry Phipps of Glencoe, Aberbeeg Road, Abertillery.
The Snowdon Cafe.
In 1917 the Snowdon Cafe, Carmel Street was advertised. The proprietors were Mr E. H. & Mary Davies. Their eldest son Mr J. Stanley H. Davies was a doctor of philosophy Ph.D at Manchester University. He had been taught previously by Mr Bevan at the British School, Abertillery and by Mr D. Lewis Evans at the Intermediate School, Abertillery.
In December 1936 Mr Hartley Davies (second son) became the medical adviser to the Darjeeling Medical Association, North India. They had two daughters – Miss Teify Dewi Davies (Islington) and Miss Morfydd Davies, a well known Abertillery vocalist.
In April 1937 the Snowdon Cafe was put up for sale.
In 1919 the Watkins Hotel appeared and was located opposite the Bon Marche at King Street. Mrs Watkins was previously the proprietor of the Great Western Dining Rooms, Abertillery.
In 1920 the Coates Restaurant, Abertillery was advertised, the cafe occupied what was originally Messrs W. B. Harrison’s Hardware Store next to the Medical Hall Chemist, Somerset Street. Coates’ Restaurant was later taken over by Messrs Veal and named Veal’s Temperance Hotel.
Veal’s Temperance Hotel.
Originally Coates Restaurant, (as above). Mr Veal didn’t seem to have the temperance hotel for very long, it only appeared in reports for about one year. Some time later the temperance hotel building was taken over by Lloyds Bank.
The Empress Cafe .
In 1921 the New Empress Cafe was opened at 37 Somerset Street, it was advertised as being opposite the Pontlottyn Store, I don’t know if this is a misprint though the cafe was not opposite the Pontlottyn (number 37 is on the corner of Hill St and Somerset Street, opposite Lloyds Bank).
Messrs G. Grassi & G. Ricci were the proprietors of the New Empress Cafe, it was only open for a few years. Messrs Grassi & Ricci appeared in many reports as owning the Empress Cafe though it never appeared in reports after 1925.
The Popular Cafe
In 1921 the Popular Cafe, Abertillery appeared in adverts. The Popular Cafe was owned by Mr B. A. James and was at the Rogers Buildings 31-33 Somerset Street, opposite the Bon Marche.
The Express Cafe .
In 1926 the Express Cafe appeared in reports and was owned by Mr Salvatore Grassi. In 1938 Mr Jack Gallinari was the owner and Mr Giovanni Gallinari and Catherine Gallinari lived at the cafe.
Messrs Taffurelli Bros.
In the late 1920’s there was an Express Cafe advertised in reports as being in Alexandra Road, Six Bells. I am not sure if this was a misprint or it did exist for a short time? Although in the McDonald’s Directory of 1931, Messrs Taffurelli Bros had a cafe at 41 Alexandra Road, Six Bells, this is more than probably the Express Cafe that was advertised.
The Alexandra Cafe.
In 1922 the Alexandra Cafe was open, it was located in Alexandra Road Six Bells, it may have been the same cafe that Mr Chivers owned in 1914? Mr & Mrs William Lewis James.
The Cottonwood Cafe .
The Cottonwood Cafe, opposite the Bush Hotel, Abertillery was established some time in the 1920’s-30’s. The building was originally the Abertillery General Post Office from 1903 to 1925. (More information to come on the Cottonwood Cafe).