||See you at the Ace...
The Ace Cafe was built in 1938 as a roadside cafe to cater for traffic, particularly hauliers, using the new North Circular Road.
With its proximity to Britain´s then new and fast arterial road network and being open 24 hours, the Ace Cafe soon attracted motorcyclists.
In world war two, the building was badly damaged during an air raid on the adjacent railway marshalling yards. The Ace Cafe was reopened in temporary accommodation and subsequently rebuilt in 1949. The post-war increase in road traffic and advent of the "teenage" phenomena saw the Ace booming, and with it, the arrival of the "Ton-Up-Boys". The British motorcycle industry was at its peak, and along came Rock ´n´ Roll. Not played on radio stations, initially the only place it could be heard was at fairground or on jukeboxes at transport cafes. Photo by kind arrangement with The Classic MotorCycle It became the place to meet, have a meal or cup of tea, arrange runs (often to other cafes or the coast) or simply to mend your bike. People came to listen to the jukebox, many subsequently starting bands or clubs. Some gaining success and considerable reputation.....and WOT a reputation.....!
From this powerful fusion of motorbikes and Rock ´n´ Roll came the legends of record-racing,- "drop the coin right into the slot"-, and race to a given point and back before the record finished.
The Ace Cafe, with its combination of motorbikes, speed and Rock ´n´ Roll was the launchpad for many famous racers and the birthplace for many bands.The tabloid press carried many articles portraying cafes as the places where decent people didn´t go.
Paul Trudelle from Canada is happy to share this brilliant photo of his father and friends taken in the 1960's. His father, Roger (aka Trad) frequented the Ace Cafe and founded the Scorpions. He was also a member of the 59 Club. If you recognise anyone in this group, let us know. The famous 59 CLUB was essentially born there, when Father Bill Shergold, a motorcyclist, visited and then invited the youths to his church and club. This club then grew into the largest motorbike club in the world.
Changes in the social order, the growth of the car market at the expense of the motorbike industry, and the expansion of the motorway network saw the Ace Cafe serving its last egg and chips in 1969.
The Ace Cafe in 1969.The building has been used as a cafe, filling station, bookmakers office and latterely a tyre depot. It remains however, largely unaltered. The legend of the Ace Cafe lives on in the minds of those who went there, those who wish they went there and those too young to have been there.