Author Topic: Curry Houses - Need stories  (Read 1546 times)

Moseley Man

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Re: Curry Houses - Need stories
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2017, 11:48:10 PM »
The Shah was on Broad Street, next i think to Maxi Millans and Peppermint Place Circa, run by a flamboyant Man called Moseley, who set up on his own circa 1984 about where Burberries were situated.

IzzyM

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Re: Curry Houses - Need stories
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2017, 12:46:59 PM »
 A big hello to all,
 
 My name is Izzy. I'm working alongside Mohammed Ali on the Knights of the Raj project. Already, your contributions have been wonderfully helpful.
 
 We are discovering new things all the time. These in turn are not simply helping us to find out about the development of Indian Restaurants, but have been illustrating our interconnected lives, spaces and communities. We have picked up information from outside the Asian/Bangladeshi community (most of the earliest restaurants were Bangladeshi - and for some time, it used to be said that 80% of all Indian Restaurants were Bangladeshi) that have been as important as what we have discovered inside - from snippets of stories to photographs.
 
We cannot progress or achieve the things we want to without that support, including from fellow heritage and history enthusiasts and experts on these forums.
 
Some of the restaurants were are interested in have already been listed but are worth mentioning again, alongside some new ones.
 
Shalimar
 Taj mahal
 Shah Jahan
 Jinnah Restaurant - Moseley Road
 
On the same spot as the Shah Jahan Indian Restaurant (before the Shah Jahan came into existence), which used to be at 119 Coleshill Street (in the area that is now the Aston University campus, Gosta Green), there used to the L’Orient Café between 1950 and 1960 (though it may have been called the Shah Jahan Café at some point during that period). And rather interestingly, between 1947 and /1950, at the same spot stood the British India Club (owned by an F. Rasul). In short, at 119 Coleshill Street*,
 
1947 – 1949/50, British India Club
1950 – 1960  L’Orient Café (though it may have been called the Shah Jahan even earlier, but street and business directories have been unclear).
c.1960 Shah Jahan Indian Restaurant
 
*It should be stressed that these properties/buildings no longer exist, though Coleshill Street remains – the area is now part of the Gosta Green campus, Aston University.
 
We are also hoping for memories and even photographs of John’s Restaurant and the Darjeeling on Steelhouse Lane.
 
Once again, the thoughts, stories and support we have received so far have been wonderfully helpful. But there is so much more we do need help with. We are trying to capture a story before it is perhaps extinguished by time as generations pass.
 
Please do get in touch, via this forum or via email izzy (at sign) soulcityarts.com
 
We look forward to hearing from you!
 
Many thanks and best wishes!
 
Izzy
 

Edmund Fifield

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Re: Curry Houses - Need stories
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2017, 04:06:39 PM »
Mohammed, it was the Darjeeling I'm 78 and the mind plays tricks used to sit in the window on the right every Saturday night after seeing the big band concerts at the Town Hall great days

IzzyM

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Re: Curry Houses - Need stories
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2017, 04:43:27 PM »
Hello there Edmund

My name is Izzy and I work alongside Mohammed on the project.

Really great to hear about your memories of eating at the Darjeeling. You would have been amongst the first really building the taste for curry within the city.

Is there anything more you can tell us?

Do you remember when you first ate at the Darjeeling? What did you eat? What was the menu like? How did the place look and feel? What were your memories (then and subsequenly) of the staff?

We know the Darjeeling was at 122 Steelhouse Lane. Prior to that, at the same site/address, there was John's Restaurant, which reportedly opened in 1945 and went on to eventually become the Darjeeling some time around the late 1950s - possibly 1957 or 58, but could be earlier.

These are the wonderful, tantalising bits of detail we are interested in but so hard to come by. Anything you or others could do to fill on the gaps (and there are many gaps) would go a long way. So much has changed. It is suprising sometimes how little information/knowledge there is outside of people's memories.

Stay in touch,

Best wishes!
Izzy

Edmund Fifield

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Re: Curry Houses - Need stories
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2017, 05:35:39 PM »
Hello Izzy, My first recollection from what I can remember was that I was 16 ,Beingnew it was very mysterious and didn't know what to expect. I remember that meal well ,I had chicken curry with rice and the curry was very hot,never having meet Indian people before I found them quite nice,I still like Teka Masarla meals .Hope this helps with your research Edmund

Phil

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Re: Curry Houses - Need stories
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2017, 08:09:57 PM »
Hi Izzy

Welcome to you, according to Kelly's Trade Directory for 1956 which would record 1955 details both the premises you mention,  John's Café on Steelhouse Lane and L'Orient Café on Coleshill St were still trading in their original names. By 1962 most of Steelhouse Lane hade gone, but the L'Orient had changed to the Shah Jahan.

The Jinnah was in operation in 1961 on Moseley Road to my knowledge, but the first time I ever used it would have been 1962. I think the menu had more English Meals than Indian at that time. I had a basic Beef Curry and wasn't brave enough to try it with rice because rice to me then meant rice pudding and I just couldn't imagine that combination so on the advice of the owner Kazzi? I tried it with chips and it cost me all of 3/6d that's seventeen and a half pence to you youngsters. I was hooked from that day forward and though the Jinnah was not very salubrious it remained my favourite eatery until it closed in the 70's even though it was never licenced to sell drinks.  So we used to take our own with us.
Make Love Not War

IzzyM

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Re: Curry Houses - Need stories
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2017, 09:00:43 PM »
 Many thanks there Edmund, appreciate your story!! It helps to add detail to the story we are building. In fact, you have helped to take us back with you there, almost like looking back in time.
Without these stories, we’d be left to ‘make things up’, to speculate, so it is indeed lovely to get stories from someone who was there, including a sense of what it must have been like  :)
 

IzzyM

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Re: Curry Houses - Need stories
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2017, 09:05:21 PM »
 Thanks for the detailed story Phil and for the help with research :-) Kelly’ Directories are indeed a great source of information! Just like Edmund, you’re proving us with a window on the past we could not access otherwise.
 
What I find interesting about the L’Orient is that it was there for perhaps 10 years but no one has said anything about it, as if lost from living memory. What is further interesting is that before it, for three odd years, there was the British India Club, and that is even further faded in terms of living memory. Don’t know you if you have recollection of them?
 
I really do find fascinating how things come and go, how we are able to remember certain bits and not others. Is definitely an exciting thing to be able to learn and research this topic!!  :)
 
Thanks and stay in touch Phil  :)
 

Edmund Fifield

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Re: Curry Houses - Need stories
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2017, 10:27:32 PM »
Izzy,just remembered the first time I took my future wife for a meal we went to the SHAH Jahn on the corner of Stafford St in1959,were still together after 58 years .Must be the curry  :P :P :P :P :P

aerosolarabic

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Re: Curry Houses - Need stories
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2017, 10:56:22 PM »
Edmund - i can only echo the words of my colleague Izzy. You are like a window into an unseen world.   You don't happen to have any photographs from inside any of your curry experiences do you?  If not, perhaps you might be able to describe what the interiors were like of a 1950's curry house - how different was it a 1970's or a 1980's curry house?   Part of our exhibition may be a reconstruction of the old curry houses with furniture, table layouts etc.


Many thanks.

Edmund Fifield

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Re: Curry Houses - Need stories
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2017, 10:00:43 AM »
Mohammed,many thanks for your kind words,unfortunately my memory about that period of time is a bit hazy at this time of my life.all I remember really is that it was all new to me,the same with the coming of the Chinese restaurants,ifiremember any more I will be in touch.Take care Edmund