These photos are a wonderful trip down memory lane. They were provided by Pino Battista, whose mother Franca established Franca’s Ice Cream in the early 80s. Nowadays Pino and his brother Felice run the business (www.francasicecream.co.uk )- but his wife Sandra has been a constant in Higginson Park, from the early kiosk to the current ice cream van!
The first three photos below show Sandra serving from the very old kiosk shed and then a photo of the late Franca.
Eventually the kiosk was knocked down and Franca’s were absent from the park for 3 years. However, they we were invited back by WDC, and then served out of 2 units – an ice cream parlour and hot food one.
After trading for a couple of years out of the trailers, they built a new kiosk facility, Marlow Piazza. This became very popular with the local community and visitors, and ran for approx. 13 years until their licence ran out in 2007. Marlow Piazza was demolished as part of the planning consent to make way for the facility we have today in the park (was “Cafe in the Park, then “Costa”, now “The Resolute”) – but the rent on the new building was too high for Franca’s to meet.
Of course, though, Franca’s are still in Higginson park serving ice creams by the river in their ever popular ship ice cream van and trailer, where Sandra can be found serving with a smile along with other family members.