Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Tower Hamlets (London Borough)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 34438 82613


788/1/10213 BETHNAL GREEN ROAD E2 332 E. Pellicci Cafe

II Cafe, with accommodation above. c.1900 building with 1946 remodelling as cafe for E. Pellicci. EXTERIOR: Ground floor cafe facade includes deep custard-colour Vitrolite frieze that continues down to a corner pilaster at both sides, and that has 'E.PELLICCI' in pronounced steel letters in Univers-face capitals. Below this a tripartite arrangement of window, door, window, each bay under steel grille. Window to left is wider and has a central horizontal steel band, below this the Vitrolite has been replaced in a similar shade; that to right has narrower window over original Vitrolite plinth. Paired wooden framed glazed doors replaced late-C20. First floor has replaced windows and plain parapet, the hopper head dated 1900 with E.P. initials. INTERIOR: A single cafe room with counter to front left and kitchen to rear all lined with an intricate Art Deco-style marquetry panelling crafted by Achille Capocci. The counter area is defined by a steel capped Formica counter with a framed panel of 'sunburst' marquetry. Behind this the wall has a marquetry frieze with a central plaque marked 'EP' and shelving framed by 5 slender pilasters with Egyptian style capitals' this returns to rear where full height similar pilaster and low marquetry wall. The rest of the cafe space is lined with panels of marquetry above dado level, each with central abstract fan shape and framed by slightly advanced pilasters. The opening to the kitchen window at rear was sensitively replaced in the 1990s after a fire. Door to rear with E.Pellicci coloured glass motif is modern, as is the motto on the floor. HISTORY: The E. Pellicci Cafe was opened in 1900, however it is the present shopfront and cafe interior, dating from 1946, that make this such a remarkable place. This work was fitted in the context of the period just after the war. This was the year of the 'Britain Can Make It' exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, heralding modern British design, and a few years later, the Festival of Britain brought a style and design awakening to the Capital. This was also to be a period of increased Italian immigration and a great number of new cafes and espresso bars started opening up, particularly in London. These new institutions were a modern continuation of a long London tradition that started with late-C17 coffee houses that densely populated the city, through late-C19 tea rooms, and 1930s Milk Bars. In the last few years of the 1950s, the number of cafes in Britain doubled from 1000 to 2000, with 500 of these in Greater London alone; they were to serve the new class of teenagers and other cool customers. Technological innovations of the period also enabled the use of visually attractive new materials, such as plastics and Formica that together contributed to a new design vocabulary, often expoited in bright colours, that was altogether an antedote to the drab war years. SOURCES: Adrian Maddox, Classic Cafes (Black Dog Publishing Limited, 2003)

Listed as a mostly unaltered cafe re-fitted in 1946 with a stylish shopfront of custart Vitrolite panels, steel frame and lettering as well as a rich Deco-style marquetry panelled interior, altogether representing an architecturally strong and increasingly rare example of the intact and stylish Italian cafe that flourished in London in the post-war years.


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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