Italians made a big impact on Falkirk

Italian families have been a hige part of Falkirk's community for generations
Italian families have been a hige part of Falkirk's community for generations
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Following Ian Scott’s article on the influence the Italian community had on Falkirk, Alida Melaragni got in touch.

Her grandparents Francesco and Antonietta Notarangelo moved from Belmonte Cassino circa 1920 to Falkirk and opened the Manor Cafe in the town.

Her father Benedetto, known as Ben or Bettino, came over after World War Two in 1949 to visit his sister Amelia and her husband Eddie Ponari.

Alida remembers: “They had a fish and chip shop on the corner at Ladysmill and were friends of my grandparents - my father met and married Frank’s eldest daughter Bridget - my mother - within six weeks!”

Alida’s father went on to open the Kit Kat Cafe in Camelon and would often be seen making deliveries on his ice cream bicycle.

“The cafe was closed to allow for redevelopment of Camelon Main Street, at the Copper Top area, at the end of the 1960s. A compulsory purchase order was imposed and alternative premises for the fleet of ice cream vans - 23 at the last count - promised. However this was never forthcoming, which broke my father’s heart. I even remember writing to Harry Ewing, our local MP at the time to appeal!

“The ice cream recipe was given to Asher’s who prepared the ice cream for him and delivered through Camelon for many years until my father’s death in 1979.”