Served up by the impressively titled ‘Special Features Division of the Rank Organisation’ is this fascinating look at London’s coffee bars in the 1950s and 1960s.
The coffee bar boom in Britain started in 1952 with the arrival of the first espresso machine in Soho, central London, and the awfully stilted commentary tracks the subsequent growth of coffee bars across the capital.
There’s an excellent clip of a jiving crowd filmed at the famous 2i’s Coffee bar, which was situated in the basement of 59 Old Compton Street, Soho, London, England, between 1956 and 1967,
Artists who played this bar included Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard, Hank Marvin, Wee Willie Harris, Joe Brown, Screaming Lord Sutch, Johnny Kidd, Jet Harris, Ritchie Blackmore, Mickie Most, Big Jim Sullivan and, err, Gary Glitter (Paul Gadd).
There’s also some fabulously unconvincing footage of writers, actors and film directors hanging out in cafes, and there sure seems to be a lot of folks in sunglasses lurking indoors too.
Naturally, there’s plenty of cigarettes being smoked throughout the clip, although most of the coffee cups on view curiously seem empty.
Check out the eight minute video below:
Oh, and please note: being a YouTube clip about Britain’s past, you can expect to find the usual depressing racist shit in their comments section, with a farrago of morons banging on about foreigners, blacks, falling standards and the never-ending evils of socialism. Best avoided, really.