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Think forming a cafe preservation society is an excellent idea. These places are part of our history just as much as historic houses and deserve to be protected from big business / Starbucks. Happy to help get something started.

I'm still mourning Pollo's, THE place I ate in Soho for 20 years. The idea that the New Picadilly is going is simply criminal. Rant over. What are we going to do?


I couldn't agree more with Caroline's comments.
I'm in my early 40s and on trips to London we'd always frequent a caff at lunchtime - or for a refreshing afternoon cuppa.
It's time we gave our support to something that's truly British, truly popular but now disappearing rapidly. Why do you think I drive a Cortina?!

Amy Lou

I think this is a wonderful idea. There should definitely be a Cafe Preservation Society! If I can do anything to help set up something like this just let me know.

Amy Lou


Go for it! I recently visited the recently closed Borough Cafe,established in 1831 or about that time,now gone forever along with the Tea Rooms off of Shaftesbury ave, last of its kind as far as i know?

ian brown

I saw a mention of your website on the METRO free paper.
I love the idea of your site.
I went to university in Aberystwyth and used to love the Dolphin Cafe,great food and nice staff.
I am from Edinburgh and can I reccommend the following cafes.
The BRONX diner near the Playhouse Theatre,good food and friendly Italian/Scottish staff,also the Basement Cafe in Elder Street near the bus station,mini good breakfasts and interesting customers.


How is the Cafe Preservation Society progressing? Is there a move to take the first steps of a Real Ale/Critical Mass outing?


I agree totally about having a Cafe Society. I could add dozens and dozens of cafes to your lists. Many of them are mentioned in various guidebooks I have. I realise you may say that you can't take information from other people's publications but, it just saves me the hassle of writing a huge list! In the guide I'm about to mention, I had already been to 102 of the 200 cafes mentioned, and I will do the rest as and when I'm in those areas. The book, which you may already have seen, is the AA Roadside Cafes and Truckstops, £7 99 from Smiths, Ottakers etc. Other guides can be picked up in transport cafes, with even more entries.

I'm a fan of not just roadside cafes but, also seaside cafes and town centre ones although, roadside ones are my favourite, especially if they are in the middle of nowhere and have a time warp atmosphere. There our some gems out there, often on lesser A or B roads. I also love seaside town cafes in the middle of winter or, off peak summer, with 1950s or 60's style cafes and a few locals gossiping. Barry Island has a couple of such places, to name just one resort among many. Some find such places depressing, I think they are heaven.

If possible, if enough people are involved, I would like to see a movement to actually save some of these places from closure through buying or leasing them, or failing that, to at least get some of them listed. Clearly, raising finance may be difficult but, with enough participants and publicity in the right places, not impossible. Once they are purchased, they are safe. The Classic Cafes web site regularly reports the loss of another cafe gem but, doesn't seem to actually do anything about it.

Where I live, Swanage in Dorset, we had a wonderful Fortes cafeteria on a prominent corner, with long sweeping curved windows, a self-service counter and, coffee served in a tall glass in a metal frame with curved handle. New owners and several refurbishments, have wiped out the interior although the windows remain. Now, it's the usual latte and sofa setup. I don't dislike it, in fact its still my local and the sofa's are very comfortable but, only one cafe amongst many remains original in Swanage, a local bakery/cafe. At least seven others dating from before the 70s have closed or been modernised out of all recognition.
This scenario must apply throughout the country, indeed, on a visit to Newbury a few years ago, I could find nothing except fast food joints and tea rooms, no 'proper' cafes at all. I ended up in Sainsbury's cafe, which at least serves traditional meals. We need influence and money although, influence may be enough on its own where listing is concerned.

Hope this strikes a chord.

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