Heritage column: How Rossi Bros came to Barkingside

PUBLISHED: 17:41 06 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:41 06 October 2017

David Rossi's father outside a Rossi Bros shop in 1937. Picture: David Rossi

David Rossi's father outside a Rossi Bros shop in 1937. Picture: David Rossi


In 1897 Pietro Rossi from Padivarma in Liguria, Italy, landed in Glasgow via a ship from Hamburg after drifting through Europe.

After some time with a monkey and organ he opened a shop making and selling ice cream in London Road, Glasgow.

The shop was in the East End of Glasgow, one of the roughest parts of a rough place.

The shop was a huge success and soon he sent for his brothers and any nephews of working age.

Giobatta and my grandfather Davide arrived but my grandfather did not stay long.

He did not like tea or the climate and returned to Italy to live the life of a penniless peasant to a ripe old age.

My father went to work in Scotland when he was 12 years old in 1924 and stayed with his uncle until 1932.

He suffered in the Glaswegian winters and was advised to move south.

Taking the advice seriously he went to work for an Italian family in Brighton called Gizzi.

After about four years he had saved enough money and called his brother Amilcare down from Glasgow and open the first Rossi Bros shop in East Street market in Southwark, central London.

This shop was lost due to the Second World War and my father along with most Italians was interned.

After the war he worked for another Italian family called Ferraro in London Road, in Elephant and Castle.

With Amilcare they then opened a shop in New Cross which after a few years he left to his brother and went to open the shop in Barkingside with his cousin Elpedio in 1948.

His cousins, Rino and Orfeo Ciuffardi, had in the meantime opened shops in Ilford and Walthamstow.

My father opened another shop in Croydon and when that was redeveloped also opened one in East Ham.

When Elpedio retired in 1971 he offered the Barkingside shop back to my family and I have been here since then.

The original shop was at 55 High Street, Barkingside, but I moved it down the road to 113 High Street in 1990.

Related articles


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ilford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ilford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ilford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Ilford News Stories

Every single year in the UK 600 die from sudden cardiac arrest. It is estimated that 270 of these deaths occur in school.

Yesterday, 15:00

In this week’s heritage column, Hainault schoolboy Derek Hall remembers what it was like in east London as the Luftwaffe pulverised neighbourhoods and fighter pilots shot up residential streets.

Yesterday, 12:00

They say never meet your heroes. So I am at liberty to think of any of the winter Olympians as heroes – as I can’t afford a skiing holiday, our paths won’t cross.

Yesterday, 10:00

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our three-minute Met Office video forecast.


Redbridge Estate agents Sandra Davidson’s hassle-free service guarantees rental income for your property, whether it is occupied or not. Here they share details of the Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it can help you avoid the regular stresses associated with managing a let.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now