Memories of the Airflo Café by Jack Rickard

Soon after my father came back from the Middle-East at the end of the Second World War, my mother went up to London to negotiate renting the premises which were part of the Birch Brothers’ Bus Garage. This was the bus company which ran from Rushden to London.  Birch Brothers agreed to rent the premises to my mother and father and they ran the Airflo Café for about 40 years. 

The bus garage

One of Birch’s buses

It had a table for every shoe factory in Rushden and Higham Ferrers.  The workers used to come at 12 o’clock for their dinner every week day.  All the workers paid for the week in advance.  When the shoe workers left at 1 o’clock to go back to work, the reps came from all over the country to get business from different shops in Rushden and Higham Ferrers.  My mother would also serve the bus drivers through a hatch at the bus station, and sometimes the police would get meals for the prisoners who were on their way to prison. The Bowls Club, who met in Spencer Park, had their annual meal at the café.

We had fish from the local fishmonger and bread from the local bakers, and we had two Rushden milk firms to deliver the milk. 

Voluntarily my mother did meals on wheels cooking three days a week, usually between 16 and 20 meals for the three days.

The café always opened at 9 a.m. and closed at 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday.  No Sundays.  It was on the main A6 road, before the motorway was built, which was the route from London to Scotland. 

Mr. and Mrs. Rickard

The same building 2018

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