Image courtesy of Marie Haddleton and YSK Diamond Millings 

Vittoria Restaurant, 1976

No more utilitarian stews
for those who spend dim hours
plating Bentley badges,

while the twisted rails
of Fattorini’s stay unhealed;
we know what we deserve.

We dip our hands
in bowls of cyanide
and, having clad

the morning’s last watch-bracelet
in its perfect hue of gold,
emerge to feast

on omelettes, ravioli, leg of lamb,
chicken à la Pozarski;
watch them steaming through

round windows in swing doors,
all afternoon tasting
the evening’s smoke:

fur coats on gummy tablecloths,
then where the tables were,
a clear floor

and the bullion of our lives.

Richard O’Brien
Birmingham Poet Laureate


In 1950, the building at 43 Frederick Street opened as the Vittoria Restaurant.  Operated by the Birmingham Catering Department, it served the staff of factories based in the Jewellery Quarter, many of whom used it daily. It was also used for events such as rallies, dinners and dances and had a banqueting suite. In 1977, the leasehold for the restaurant was advertised for sale.

Richard O’Brien was commissioned by the JQTH project to write a poem for Spotlight on Frederick Street – a week of events and activities which marked the heritage of the street. The poem was displayed outside 43 Frederick Street, now the Bullion Store, along with images and adverts which illustrate the buildings former life as the Vittoria Restaurant. 

Further Information

Home to the Vittoria Restaurant from 1950, one of a series run by Birmingham City Council created to provide facilities for those working in the Jewellery Quarter