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Eleanor Crow’s East End Cafes

December 13, 2012
by the gentle author

Syd’s Coffee Stall, Shoreditch High St

Illustrator Eleanor Crow made this set of watercolour portraits of cafes as a tribute to those cherished institutions which incarnate the essence of civility in the East End. “It’s because they’re individual concerns, often owned by families across generations who get to know all their customers,” admitted Eleanor, revealing the source of her devotion to cafe culture ,“I like the frontages because each is designed uniquely for that café with wonderful sign-writing or lettering and eye-catching colours. Some of these cafés have been here for a very long time and everyone in the area is familiar with them, and is very fond of them. They make the streets into a better place and are landmarks upon the landscape of the East End.”

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E. Pellicci, Bethnal Green Rd

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Savoy, Norton Folgate

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Time for Tea, Shoreditch High St

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Dalston Lane Cafe

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Paga Cafe, Lea Bridge Rd

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Lennies Snack Bar, Calvert Avenue

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Marina Cafe, Mare St

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Kingsland Cafe, Kingsland Rd

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Grab & Go, Blackhorse Lane

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Gina’s Restaurant, Bethnal Green Rd

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Copper Grill, Eldon St

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Billy Bunter’s Snack Bar, Mile End Rd

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Beppe’s Cafe, West Smithfield

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B.B. Cafe, Lea Bridge Rd

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Savoy Cafe, Graham Rd

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A.Gold, Brushfield St

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Arthur’s Cafe, Kingsland Rd

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Cafe Bliss, Dalston Lane

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Cafe Rodi, Blackhorse Lane

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Rossi Restaurant, Hanbury St  (Gone but not forgotten)

Eleanor Crow at E.Pellicci

Drawings copyright © Eleanor Crow

Portrait copyright © Colin O’Brien

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At Gina’s Restaurant

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At E.Pellicci

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At Syd’s Coffee Stall, Shoreditch High St

24 Responses leave one →
  1. December 13, 2012

    I loved this post! The drawings have such warmth and humour and really give a sense of the cafes’ place in their communities

  2. Greg Tingey permalink
    December 13, 2012

    Nice to see someone has made it past the Lea into Walthamstow!
    ( Or even Leyton )

  3. Peter James Millson permalink
    December 13, 2012

    Eleanor, these are beautiful. I love the colours you see! All the best, Pete.

  4. December 13, 2012

    What lovely drawings…and such a good portrait also of a multi talented designer and typographer

  5. Hazel Parker permalink
    December 13, 2012

    These are fantastic, you’re an inspiration. When I visit I will take the print out so that I can try to get the gist of where you’re coming from with your art. Thank you.

  6. Philip Marriage permalink
    December 13, 2012

    Simply enchanting – more please.

  7. Liz Bowman permalink
    December 13, 2012

    These are great Eleanor. I can hear the doors clanging shut and see the winter condensation on the windows.

  8. Heidi Barnes permalink
    December 13, 2012

    Beautifully painted!!! :-) Thank you!

  9. Faith McLellan permalink
    December 13, 2012

    I really love these! Congratulations!

  10. Rich permalink
    December 13, 2012

    Big wallchart poster please so we can compare/contrast and admire.

  11. December 13, 2012

    If you are thinking of bringing out a book of these cafe drawings do please let me know as I will be the first on the scene to own one.
    We can’t take for granted these lovely old cafes will stand much longer. I still mourn the passing of Centrale in Soho….

  12. December 13, 2012

    Absolutely lovely work, Eleanor.

  13. December 13, 2012

    Love these! I’ve eaten in most of them, especially Arthur’s Cafe on Kingsland Road where they do the best sandwiches in London IMHO. Lennie’s is another fav, Mama Jean makes her own hot sauce and it’s goooood.

  14. December 13, 2012

    Beautiful, I would second the request for a book of these, Eleanor… or at least some postcards?

  15. Shona Andrew permalink
    December 13, 2012

    I loved these beautiful illustrations, I have been in many of these cafes, how delightful to see them captured like this because who knows how long they will last

  16. Ros permalink
    December 13, 2012

    I loved these. Marvellous collection – I hope there will be more, captured before they go. Their closures are coming thick and fast.

  17. December 14, 2012

    Lovely gorgeous illustrations. Please bring out a book.

  18. December 14, 2012

    Go to Lennies people – especially Thurs-Say evenings when the secret Tai trout with make you a very happy bunny indeed. She’s in Calvert Avenue and facing fierce rent rises as the area becomes more interested in shops selling ceramic pig trotters for thirty quid than the original traders.

  19. Helen Tomolillo permalink
    December 16, 2012

    Eleanor, you have captured all the cafe’s with such great detail and great colours. Its fab to see these wonderful buildings being drawn as well as photographed. Is there a way to buy prints? I want the one of my mother and father’s cafe if possible?

  20. December 16, 2012

    Thanks Helen Tomolillo, I’m looking into getting prints and cards made. If you drop me an email via my website, I can let you know when they are ready.

  21. Malc permalink
    December 19, 2012

    A great collection. Such a different world to to a country cousin (brother) but the way you illustrate it I can see the attraction.

  22. Jenny permalink
    January 5, 2013

    I’m very proud, hon, and utterly delighted that these are being so treasured and well received. I’ll buy a book; they’re a marvellous collection!

  23. March 26, 2013

    Wonderful watercolours! Now I want to visit the real cafes for tea and a fry up.

  24. March 26, 2013

    Wonderful! And so lovely to see some from my neck of the woods Lea Bridge Road way……

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