Page 40 - MarketTimesFebruary2020
P. 40

40 MARKET TIMES • FEBRUARY 2020 After a century London’s oldest
coffee stall calls it a day
 SYD’S coffee stall, which has traded from the corner of Calvert Avenue and Shoreditich High Street for 100 years, has served its final cup of char.
Sydney Edward Tothill used his invalidity pension of £117 from being gassed in the First World War to pay for the mahogany stall and it remained intact for the next century.
Jane Tothill, Syd’s grand- daughter and an NMTF member has played her part by continuing the family business until she finally shut up shop in December.
She told Market Times: “My grandfather was very proud of the stall he had made using the best mahogany, etched glass and brass fittings, and he would be verypleasedithadstoodthetest of time.”
When Syd started the business he was tapping into the 19th century culture of coffee stalls in London.
He served mainly tea, cocoa, “Bovex” or “poor man’s Bovril”, and later Camp coffee
which came in bottles. The most popular snack was saveloy sausage.
Jane said Syd’s became an institution in Shoreditch and Prince Edward once stopped there for a tea.
In 1931 the stall featured in a silent film, which was the only time it left Shoreditch to be transported to Elstree studios.
After a refurbishment it is now destined for the new Museum of London when it opens as part of the Smithfield complex in 2024.
Syd and May, Jane’s grand- mother, built a thriving business of seven stalls and two cafes, but Syd enjoyed a drink and had a gambling habit.
“He lost the cafés and the rest of the stalls, but managed to hangontothisonewhichwas his pride and joy,” Jane said.
Syd’s stall got mains electricity when it was hooked up to a lamppost in 1922.
Over time, mains water was installed and mains gas replaced the brazier of coals.
Jane’s dad, Syd junior, joined
Jane Tothill (right) with assistant Cheryl Diamond
 the business in 1935 and during World War Two when the East End was targeted Syd’s stall never closed.
Syd junior and his wife Iris, alongside other family members, developed a successful catering business which they ran alongside the stall.
Jane began working on the stall in 1995. “We used to be very busy with three of us serving all day long,” she said.
“But this part of London has changed so much.”
Shoreditch used to be a
   APPMG says farewell to Ann and Jim
THE All-Party Parliamentary Markets Group lost two of its strongest supporters as Ann Coffey and Jim Fitzpatrick decided to retire as MPs and not stand in the general election.
Both Ann, formerly MP for Stockport in Cheshire, and Jim, who represented Poplar and Limehouse in East London, served as Chair of the group, which was formed nearly 20 years ago in 2001. Ann was a founder member of the group, when its joint Chairs were the late Lord Wade of Chorlton and the late Dennis Turner MP.
Lord “Ted” Graham of Edmonton, a long-term supporter of the NMTF, was the group’s first secretary — in fact it was set up on his recommendation.
He continued in the role until 2007 when he handed over to Ann.
Later she became the chair, a position she held
for several years before handing over to Jim in August 2015.
He, in turn, passed the baton to Bromley and Chislehurst MP Sir Bob Neill, knighted in the new year honours, just over a year ago.
NMTF Chief Executive Joe Harrison said the NMTF and the whole of the
workaday area but in recent years it has become achingly trendy with every other unit a coffee house or eating place.
Jane continued to keep the stall true to its roots, serving hot and cold drinks, pies and tasty filled rolls.
“But finally the time came to call it a day,” she said.
“It was a very hard decision to make and a very emotional time for us all.”
Nevertheless a hundred years of trading from the same market stall is quite an achievement.
Ann Coffey
Jim Fitzpatrick (right) hands over to new Chair Sir Bob Neill
markets industry owed a debt of gratitude to Ann and Jim and to Sir Bob.
“MPs are very busy people and that they have been willing to give their time to help us in lobbying government about the issues and challenges facing the industry means a lot to everyone involved,” he said.

   38   39   40   41   42