Members of the Crolla family outside the Premier Cafe in Main Street, Bridgeton, c 1935. The Crollas came to Glasgow from Frosinone, south of Rome.
Many Italians who arrived in the city set up in business in the catering trades, selling ice cream, confectionery, tobacco, and fish and chips. A business network developed among families of Italian origin. The Union of Italian Traders, set up in 1928, had a membership of 1,000 in Scotland ten years later.
On 10 June 1940 Italian dictator Benito Mussolini declared war on Britain. This sparked off anti-Italian riots, resulting in widespread damage to Italian shops. In Glasgow, the worst incidents took place in Maryhill, Govan and Tradeston. Adult male Italians were interned on the Isle of Man, leaving wives and children to manage businesses as best they could. Gradually the men were released, and things improved when Italy changed sides following the overthrow of Mussolini in 1943.
Reference: Glasgow City Archives, P7682
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
cafes, chocolates, cigarettes, confectionery, Crolla family, ice cream, immigrants, internees, Italians, Premier Cafe, riots, Second World War, shop windows, shops, tobacco, tobacconists, Union of Italian traders