Our team from Hudgell Solicitors were delighted to support the iconic Ace Café in north London as it celebrated its 80th anniversary this month.
Having joined forces earlier this year to host monthly ‘bike nights’ on the first Friday of each month from April to September, we have witnessed first-hand how the café is a genuine focal point for the biking community.
It was great to see such a fantastic turn out with many riders coming from all over Europe, including a group ride in from a team that had started in Germany earlier in the day, and visitors from the USA (including the Ace Café Orlando).
A landmark with a very rich history
The celebrations gave us all the chance to reflect on the cafe’s amazing history since being established in 1938 on the then brand new North Circular Road surrounding London.
It started as a simple roadside cafe catering to travellers, particularly truckers, but being open 24 hours a day it soon attracted motorcyclists in number.
Badly damaged during an air raid in the Second World War, it reopened in temporary accommodation and was subsequently rebuilt in 1949.
The café became popular with the Ton Up Boys in the 1950s and the Rockers in the 1960s, and was where the motorcycling priest Bill Shergold came to invite them to the 59 Club, which still exists today
However, changes in the social order and the growth of the car market at the expense of the motorbike industry, alongside the expansion of the motorway network, saw the Ace Cafe serving its last egg and chips in 1969.
But that wasn’t to be the end of the road.
The reunion and reopening
1993 saw the birth of The Ace Cafe Reunion, the brainchild of current Managing Director Mark Wilsmore.
He shared his ideas for an annual event to mark the closure of the original Ace Cafe, and for a book and film documenting the history of the Ace Cafe and endeavouring to ensure that the original Ace Cafe re-opened, with relevant products being available.
To mark the 25th anniversary its closure, Mark, along with friends, formed the organising team for a reunion and arranged for motorcycle runs to converge at the former Ace Cafe site on Sunday 4th September 1994.
In 1997 planning permission was obtained, and the company ACE CAFE LONDON bought the original site. A part of the original and legendary Ace Cafe site was re-opened on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Bank Holidays and on the first Wednesday of every month
In 2001, the Ace Café opened its doors properly and started to become the Ace that we know and love today.
A wonderful place which means so much to many
If you have never visited the Ace Café, it really is recommended even if only for a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich.
Upstairs along the corridor you can lose an hour or so just looking at the pictorial history of the Ace and obtain a better understanding of just what this famous landmark means.
Myself and my solicitor colleague Kent Pattinson loved meeting and chatting to all those who attended the birthday celebrations, and I was particularly honoured to be asked to be one of the judges of the Café Racer of the Year competition.
It was certainly a tough decision as the car park was packed and there was such a vast selection and variety to choose from in each category, but all winners were worthy of the accolade in their categories.
It was a wonderful experience to see so many people turn up in either the full Teddy Boy outfits (a few ladies dressed the part as well but not to the same degree as the guys) or full blown rockers reminding many of us youngsters of a generation long gone.
The live music was an experience and again a throwback to the 50’s and early 60’s – a terrific way to celebrate such a milestone.
We at Hudgell Solicitors are proud to be associated with such a famous venue and a great bunch of people.
We wish them every success for the next 80 years.