19 George Street was purchased in the 1930's at about the same time as 22 Kensington Gardens. Agostino De Marco ran this shop with his son Geraldo then when Agostino retired to his native Picinisco in the early fifty's Geraldo continued the business.

George Street with it’s numerous small shops was the busiest shopping street in the eastern part of Hove and the De Marco Bros cafe was a popular place to stop for a pot of tea or some of De Marco’s award winning ice cream made on the premises. The sandwiches and cakes were delicate, the butter was shaped into decorative whorls and the service and atmosphere was as genteel as the town itself.

The rooms immediately behind the small cafe was used by Agostino De Marco and his wife for their daytime meals, during and just after WW2 the table they used was a steel ‘Morrison’ shelter covered with a patterned oilcloth. Later, when they returned to Italy, the cafe was extended to include this room. Next was the old scullery which had been converted into a food preparation area. A small solid fuel boiler supplied hot water to the whole house. Lastly, an extension into the long garden was used for making and storing the ice cream mix - it was made by the old-fashioned method of heating and stirring to near boiling-point in a large metal vat. Upstairs, beside the usual rooms, Agostino had built a luxury bathroom full of magnificent gleaming 1930’s chrome, just as he had done in his house in Picinisco.

Besides the family, the other occupant was a vast surly multicoloured tomcat who often sneaked into the cafe to sleep under a table. He had an extra finger on each of his enormous front paws. One day the foot of a little old lady disturbed him and grasping her leg in his oversized paws, sunk his teeth into her ankle - he was never seen again.

Morrison shelter
19 George Street, Hove
19 George Street Hove


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