The Sunderland cafe which served up tasty treats for bus drivers

Cyril Rowell is never likely to forget the days of the Economic bus '“ or any other Sunderland bus for that matter.

Friday, 2nd March 2018, 11:49 am
Updated Friday, 2nd March 2018, 11:50 am
Cyril Rowell remembering his father Cyril's cafe at Park Lane

That’s because Cyril’s dad, also called Cyril, ran Rowell’s Cafe near the bus station for more than 30 years.

Cyril junior was 15 when he left Hylton Road School and started helping his dad out. “It was open seven days a week,” he said.

Cyril Rowell remembering his father Cyril's cafe at Park Lane.

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And as for the Economic buses, Cyril said: “There used to be two of them parked outside of ours and they used to go to Shields.

“The drivers used to come in to our cafe on their break and we became friendly with them.”

Rowell’s cafe had its own bakehouse and Cyril said: “In the early days, we could turn out 1,000 pies a week as well as sausage rolls.”

And he also remembered: “You could get pies, peas and bread and butter for two shillings and ninepence. And a cup of tea was 3 shillings and that was in the 1960s.”

An archive photograph of Sunderland buses from the late 1950s.

He remembered the distinctive colours of the Economic bus as well as the Jolly bus, which he said: “Used to park outside the Plaza cinema.

“I used to collect my pension at the post office in Chester Road and I used to bump in to Mr Jolly. He was always immaculately dressed.”

They were fantastic memories from Cyril, who responded to our recent series of stories on Sunderland’s nostalgic public transport.

He explained that his father started the business after he was demobbed from serving with two Scottish regiments in the Army.

Cyril Rowell remembering his father Cyril's cafe at Park Lane

Cyril senior first went into partnership in the cafe before taking it over to run himself.

We thank Cyril junior for some wonderful bus-related memories – and we have plenty more still to share with you.

We would also love to hear from anyone looking back on other areas of Wearside nostalgia – whether it’s your old school, favourite pub, or a former workplace.

Cyril Rowell remembering his father Cyril's cafe at Park Lane.
An archive photograph of Sunderland buses from the late 1950s.
Cyril Rowell remembering his father Cyril's cafe at Park Lane