Gulliano’s sweet shop, East Dulwich

From: Frank Staples
Cheltenham GL52

I well remember an Italian family who kept a sweet shop on the corner of Archdale Road and North Cross Road in East Dulwich in the 1930s. I think their name was Gulliano; they were very well known in the area. Ice cream was made in the kitchen of the shop – cream ice water ice. One could buy a cornet for ½d or 1d or even a wafer for one penny. They had a couple of push barrows, which they would load up in the summer mornings and push them around the local streets. One barrow always went to Peckham Rye Common and the Park. A roaring trade was carried out. It was extremely fine ice cream.

Trade was dependent on the weather so if the weather was cold or wet they did not go out.

The shop itself was a meeting place for young local children and we used to gather in the shop and sit on lemonade boxes which were placed around the walls. I think there was mother, father (Italian nationals) two sons (Jack and Mick) and I believe a daughter, but I am not sure.

When war came Mick joined the British Army and eventually found himself in Italy. It was thought that he found his way to the town from where the family originated. However he did bring back a lovely Italian girl to England and married her

After the war, as young men, we used to congregate at the shop and sit and talk. We were always welcome. We might sit there for the whole evening. I do not know what became of the shop because we all made our way in the world but it was a slice of my life that I will not forget.