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Digbeth

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
this pic seems familar to me but cant be certain if its been posted before...

looking up digbeth with rea st on the left...dated 1934
 

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sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Hi Lynn,

I thought Phil posted this in a thread last year, but I'm darned if I can remember what the thread was about!

Maurice
 

dek carr

gone but not forgotten
Can anyone remember a Cafe the second shop up toward Deritend from Smithfield Garage. this was probably the smallest cafe in brum they had little pews between tables for seats two men ran the cafe lovely blokes though, we would go in there for a tomato dip (a crust dipped in the tomato pan) for a penny,every day they would have a tray of cakes that lasted about 10 minutes if you were lucky i used to love the Lardy (dripping )cakes the size of a piece of bread i could sink my teeth into one right now. Dek
 

motorman-mike

Brum visitor who stayed.
dek that was the Minerva Cafe, alternative Midland Red canteen for many of us that worked at Digbeth Garage/Coach Station.
 

smiler

master brummie
The Minerva Cafe was a real old family run business, it was run by John Fletcher and his brother Ernie Fletcher, together with their sister Lil, who communicated between the brothers who apparently didn't get on. So John worked at the front of the shop serving sausage and tomato sandwiches and 'tomato dips' and Ernie worked in the back kitchen where he cooked the bacon and made up the orders for the local factories to take out. 6 days a week it was a little 'goldmine'.

The interior fittings were all pre-war and they were never changed or upgraded, dark brown paint and tiny little booths to sit in, stools in the window where you could look out onto Digbeth and the Midland Red opposite, even the old one penny pin ball machine at the back of the cafe was a museum piece, it must have come from the 30's.

The cafe was started by Joe Fletcher the father of the family in the 30's and John and Ernie came into the business after war service.

The cafe closed when Smithfield Garage obtained the buildings to extend their premises to the corner of Oxford Street sometime in the late 70's I think.

I can still remember those sausage and tomato sandwiches, the sausage's were slow cooked in a little black metal cooker on the counter next to the hot water urn and had a taste that I dont think any sausage will ever have again and all for one and six, oh the memories!!!

Smiler
 

motorman-mike

Brum visitor who stayed.
I well remember watching John slice all the bread by hand - no slicer or pre sliced bread in the Minerva. They used long catering sized loaves and his breadknfe had been sharpenend that much the blade was about half the width it started out as. If you asked for a crust to your sandwich he managed one off each loaf as he used to go off at an angle with his cutting so the end crust ended up wedge shape. Trevor was right about the sos and tom sandwiches!
 

Charlie

knows nowt
Some lovely memories here. I can picture the Cafe as well as taste and smell the sandwiches....oh joy!
 

paul stacey

master brummie
my favorite was a tomato dip, we did it with a piece of fried bread dipped in tomato pan and brown sauce deffinatly brummie and simply the greatest.
 

dek carr

gone but not forgotten
Smiler thank you for your memories youv,e painted it exactly as i recall it even down to that little penny pin ball machine screwed to the wall what a good memory you have. i was a 15-16 year old electrical apprentice based in Moor St in the early 60s we often did electrical work at Smithfield Garage i was no more than nine and a half stone at that time and any time i went to the Cafe i was befriended by John who must have thought i needed fattening up he was always giving me food that i could not pay for the cafe used to shut early afternoon he used to tell me to come back just before he shut and would give me a sandwhich or any cake that had not been eaten i really looked forward to working in Digbeth as this would give me an excuse to go in the cafe. Dek
 

BobS

master brummie
Couldn't agree more.I first went there in early 1960 when I worked at Henry Shaws' in Birchill street.The sos and tom then was a shilling and I think the dips were tuppence.He use to sell lots of dips to the men who were staying at Rowton House and sometimes when the weather was a bit parky you had a job getting in there and they took ages to get through even a single slice.I don't think they were allowed to stay in Rowton House during the day.I will never forget the taste of the sos and tom,the best ever and I have been in a few cafes in my work as a hgv driver for about fifty years.BobS.
 
H

Humph3

Guest
Can anyone remember a Cafe the second shop up toward Deritend from Smithfield Garage. this was probably the smallest cafe in brum they had little pews between tables for seats two men ran the cafe lovely blokes though, we would go in there for a tomato dip (a crust dipped in the tomato pan) for a penny,every day they would have a tray of cakes that lasted about 10 minutes if you were lucky i used to love the Lardy (dripping )cakes the size of a piece of bread i could sink my teeth into one right now. Dek
I had a similar cafe to visit near the reservoir in Reservoir Road Ladywood during luchtime when i was at school in the early 60's. We could get a penny dip. Thick wedge of bread dipped in the frying pan with bacon fat and tomato - it was lovely. If you asked for a tuppenny dip, you got lumps on it - that is tomato. Also once week, we would go down to the off license where we could get penny bags of Smith's crisps. They were broken crisps which were delivered only once a week and used to go like hot cakes. Twice as big as a normal bag and packed tight and for the quarter of the price.....

Regards
Humnph
 

Charlie

knows nowt
How on earth did we survive with all that "unhealthy" food? The Nanny State would have a fit now, the cafes would be closed down on health grounds!
 

A Sparks

master brummie
How on earth did we survive with all that "unhealthy" food? The Nanny State would have a fit now, the cafes would be closed down on health grounds!
Probably because people in those days got plenty of excercise through hard work and walking everywhere. It counteracted the less than healthy food!
 
W

Wendy

Guest
Here is a thought provoking picture of women and children in Digbeth 1912 during the coal strike. They had to rely on the Medical Mission to feed their children.

Digbeth_1912.jpg
 

paul stacey

master brummie
Can I say how these women look quite proud, and how spotless they seem to be attired with their white aprons and the children too.
paul
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
A lot of the women are wearing flat caps. Would they have been their own or their miner husbands I wonder? Viv.
 
W

Wendy

Guest
I love the ladies in their flat caps. I remember in Kathleen Dayus's books she would mention her mother putting her cap on when going into battle with a neighbour.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
That's funny Wendy. I suppose wearing them gave women a sense of power and strength! Viv.
 
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