By Pat Rodwell, research volunteer

The Vittoria Restaurant was one of a series run by Birmingham Council created to provide facilities for those working in the Jewellery Quarter. Two restaurants,  one on the ground floor and one on the first floor. In the evening and at weekend, the restaurant was available for private functions and the ground floor could be converted to a ballroom. Up until it closed prior to 1977, there were a wide range of events held in evenings and at weekends, e.g. Labour Party Regional Council, Cigarette Card Collectors annual rally, meeting of National Amateur Speedway Association, Perry Barr Conservative Association dinner and dance.

In 1955 there was an advert in the Birmingham Daily Post which said ‘Bop tonight and every Saturday at the Vittoria Restaurant, Frederick St, Hockley with Andy Hamilton’s West Indian Combo’[1]. Andy Hamilton was a well known jazz musician who lived in Birmingham. In the same year an article in Birmingham Daily Post on ‘Birmingham’s Club Caribbean’ at the Vittoria Restaurant in Hockley attended by ‘some 150 West Indians and friends’. The club had started previous year and wanted to create a bigger Social Centre for West Indians in Birmingham.

In 1959 £16,000 improvements were agreed for Civic Restaurants including Vittoria Restaurant. In 1960 it was the first Civic Restaurant to get an alcohol licence; it was granted despite objections to setting a precedent. However it felt by many that it could provide a restaurant where companies in the Jewellery Quarter could take buyers who regularly visit so would be beneficial to the local trades. [3]

In 1970 it was re-decorated and re-opened by the Mayor of Birmingham. Now with ‘facilities for 180 and equipped with alcove seating and a lighting system giving a range of special effects’. In February 1977 the leasehold for the restaurant was advertised for sale [4].

[1] Birmingham Daily Post, 1955

[2] The Birmingham Post, 12 September 1955

[3] The Birmingham Post, 15 January 1959

[4]  The Birmingham Post, 14 February 1977

Building Timeline

1950

The Vittoria Restaurant opened, one of a series run by Birmingham City Council

1960

First Civic Restaurant to get an alcohol licence

1968

Fruit machine installed

1970

Re-decorated and re-opened by the Mayor of Birmingham.

1977

Restaurant closed and leasehold advertised for sale