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Colin O’Brien’s Pellicci Portraits

November 29, 2012
by the gentle author

Spitalfields Life Contributing Photographer Colin O’Brien begins a new series today, taking portraits of the esteemed diners at London’s most celebrated family-run cafe – E.Pellicci at 332 Bethnal Green Rd, in business since 1900. Many customers have been coming their whole lives to this tiny marquetry-lined restaurant where everyone sits cheek-by-jowl, engaging their neighbours in lively conversation while enjoying freshly cooked honest food at keen prices, and demonstrating that in the East End community spirit is alive and flourishing.

Juke Box Jimmy, the Scots Cockney “I’ve been coming to Pelliccis since I first arrived from Scotland in 1960 and I eat here five days a week.”

Julie Rassatt – I’ve been coming here since about five years ago, I live across the street.”

Del “My aunt Theresa first brought me here when I was twelve, and I’ve been coming in my own since I was about sixteen and I am thirty-two now.”

June Mumford – “I’ve been coming here since I was eight or nine.”

Dave Cowland, Cab Driver & Boxing Trainer “I’m a newcomer, I only started coming here a couple of years ago.”

Maureen Thaxter – “I’ve been coming here regularly, on and off, since my daughter was small and she’s forty-seven now.”

Tyrone Walker Hebborn, Cinema Owner & Ex-Roofer – “I first came to Pelliccis in the late eighties, when I was working with my dad doing roofs in Bethnal Green.”

Samantha Clarke – “I used to come here with my dad when I was little and I’m twenty now.”

John Atherton – “I live in West London but I always visit Pelliccis whenever I am in the neighbourhood. I found out about it from book of Classic Cafes five years ago and I’ve been coming regularly ever since.”

Lauren Bonner – “This is my first visit to Pelliccis!”

Melvin Pamplin, Can Driver & Ex-Roofer “I’ve been coming here most days for about thirty years.”

Elizabeth James – “I’ve been coming here for twenty-five years, ever since my son Michael first brought me here.”

Michael James – “I was born in Stepney and I’ve been coming here thirty years. I think I first came with the Art Critic Andrew Lambirth.”

Claire Marden, Hampshire Lass – “I’m from the Isle of Wight, I’ve only been coming here for a year.”

Stan Dowsett – ‘I can’t remember how long I’ve been coming here, I’ve been fairly regular for many years and my office is  just down the road. On Sunday, I was elected Toastmaster President to the Toastmasters’ Guild.”

Anna Pellicci – proud third generation in the family business.

Photographs copyright © Colin O’Brien

You may like to read these other Pellicci stories

Maria Pellicci, Cook

Pellicci’s Celebrity Album

Pellicci’s Collection

Maria Pellicci, The Meatball Queen of Bethnal Green

Colin O’Brien at E.Pellicci

And these other Colin O’Brien stories

Colin O’Brien, Photographer

Colin O’Brien’s Clerkenwell Car Crashes

Colin O’Brien’s Kids on the Street

Gina’s Restaurant Portraits

Travellers’ Children in London Fields

Colin O’Brien’s Brick Lane Market

Colin O’Brien Goes Back To School

At Colin O’Brien’s Flat

5 Responses leave one →
  1. November 29, 2012

    Lovely portraits!

  2. Greg Tingey permalink
    November 29, 2012

    More Polpettini required!

  3. katie permalink
    December 3, 2012

    My dad is top pic, he took there every weekend as a child, im 28 now and when i visit him now, this is where he takes me. x

  4. June 10, 2013

    I swear that first-timer jumped out of a Kit Williams painting.

  5. Shirley (Dowsett) Byrne permalink
    October 17, 2015

    Enjoyed seeing a Dowsett (Stan) in the flesh in my Dowsett family’s part of London. My great grandfather Richard Dowsett arrived alone in Australia sometime, somehow in the 1850s but, through your website, I’ve discovered I share with J. Dossett, five generations back, a Hugenot ancestor, Rachel Orange. I don’t have any information on the Orange line but will share anything I find.

    Wish I’d spent more time exploring Spitalfields on my visits to London. Thanks for the great insights. I feel I belong.

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