Portrait by Inès Elsa Dalal

Fran and Bob’s mother, Marie Taylor, ran a café on the corner of Vittoria Street and Graham Street in the early 1970s to early 1980s. The café sold sandwiches and lunches to local workers and was later expanded to seat customers due to popular demand. Many people working in local trades used the café and Bob and Fran remember customers fondly referring to their mother as ‘mum’. The café would be busy from when it opened at 6.30am – Fran recalls junior staff bringing lists of breakfast and lunch requests from staff at local factories.

Fran worked there whilst training as a teacher, and her brother Bob helped with the decorating and maintenance. Judy is Fran’s daughter and she worked there as a teenager for four years – she recalls seeing mice in the café and seeing her nan using caustic soda to unblock the drains!

The building is no longer standing, but Fran, Bob and Judy’s stories of the café help preserve the memory of the building and give an insight into the history of Vittoria Street.

It was fun. They all got to know you and everybody called her [Marie] ‘Mum’ all the people who came in. A lot of these factories would have a junior, or a couple of juniors and one of them would go round and take the order for lunchtime and for dinnertime, you know, midday, whenever they had their break and you would get it all ready.

– Fran Preston

Listen to Fran

Fran talks about her mum Marie's cafe on Vittoria Street in the 1970s

Listen to Judy and Bob

Judy and Bob talk about working at the cafe on Vittoria Street, run by Judy's nan and Bob's mum Marie