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Houghton-le-Spring, Newbottle Street, No. 67




Eating and Drinking Establishment

Ice Cream Parlour



Extant Building

Riani's Gaiety Temperance Bar and Ice Cream Parlour. Allessandro and Columbo Riani, cousins from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana in Tuscany, arrived in Houghton in the early 1900s. There were several Italian families who had settled in the north-east. They set up an ice cream shop at 20 Sunderland Street. By 1909 they opened a second shop at 67 Newbottle Street. Their temperence bar capitalised on customers at the Gaiety Theatre opposite and from 1911 by the Empire Theatre. Allessandro served with the Italian army in the First World War and was killed in action. His name is included on Houghton war memorial. Columbo was killed during the Second World War. His wife Nelide continued to run the shop. The shop is two storeys. Ground floor has a central door with two large shop windows to either side. The shopfront included two fluted pilasters and rectangular panels below the windows. Above there is one off-centre window. Tiled roof. The shop had two rooms. The temperence bar had wooden booths, later replaced in vinyl, later still Formica tables. An arch led into the back room which had an open fire, a terrazzo floor and a huge mirror covering one wall. A three storey extension was added at the back on Boulby Street. A Roman coin was said to have been found when the foundations were dug. The extension was demolished in the 1960s. The shop closed in 1991. It has since been a florists, a sunbed tanning salon and Trends hairdressers. It is currently [2013] Vermillion Indian Cuisine.




Paul Lanagan, 2013, Riani's Gaiety Temperence Bar & Ice Cream Parlour,; Paul Lanagan, 2013, Ice work if you can get it for immigrants, article in Seaham and Houghton Star, Wednesday 30 January 2013

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