History of 39/40 Bond Street

Photo:Cover of Sussex Cigar Stores leaflet

Cover of Sussex Cigar Stores leaflet

From the collection of Denise & Stephen Taylor

Photo:Magnolia Cafe, with Prestige Travel on the right

Magnolia Cafe, with Prestige Travel on the right

From the collection of Denise & Stephen Taylor

Photo:I Da Costa traded in wholesale cigars

I Da Costa traded in wholesale cigars

From the collection of Denise & Stephen Taylor

Photo:Abraham Schneider

Abraham Schneider

From Stephen Taylor's collection

Photo:Abraham Schneider with his son, Stephen's father

Abraham Schneider with his son, Stephen's father

From Stephen Taylor's collection

Photo:Another picture of Abraham Schneider

Another picture of Abraham Schneider

From Stephen Taylor's collection

Derby's Sandwich and Coffee Shop

By Stephen Taylor

My grandfather was Abram Sznajder/Sneider/Schneider, known as Abraham Schneider. He was born in 1887 in Semiatyeze, Bielski, Russia. There are some photos of him at the bottom of this page.

He came from Russia

From what I’ve been told, he arrived in the East End of London by boat from Russia in about 1910. Accommodation was found for him by a Jewish organisation. He only spoke Russian on his arrival - hence his paperwork shows the name Schneider spelt several ways. His wife Chana Gitl (known as Annie) and two sons (known as Sammy and Morris) followed separately after border guards had been bribed and they made an illegal exit. My grandfather had by now found work in the butcher industry working in the local markets.

One of seven brothers

He was one of seven brothers and there is no record of their survival. As a young teenager he had served in the Russian Army, gaining entrance by pretending to be his older brother and lying about his age.

They lived in Cable Street

The family took up residence in Cable Street in London, where my grandfather opened up his first butcher's shop.

Then they moved to Brighton 

In about 1920 the family made the move to Brighton including their new born son Henry and they rented accommodation at No 13 Bond Street, which is now [2011] Art Republic. He traded for some time as a kosher butcher at No 20 Bond Street, which is now Gresham Blake.  He then managed to borrow money from one of his chicken suppliers in Shoreham to buy the property at 39/40 Bond Street, which now trades as Caffe Nero. The ground floor and basement became his trading premises and the family lived on the upper three floors. Business must have prospered because they were able to install the first bath in Bond Street, which did away with the ritual of having to go to the public baths.

Susssex Cigar Stores

The building itself was built in the mid 1800s and in our loft we found many booklets of the Sussex Cigar Stores (established 1867). I De Costa had traded at these premises in wholesale cigars and ‘fancy goods’.  The leaflet was printed at King & Thorne Printing Works, which is now Infinity Foods Cafè. As far as we are aware, the same front door remains today.

The shop became Magnolia Cafe

The family remained trading there until well after the Second World War when my grandfather let the shop, which eventually became Magnolia Cafe. This workmen’s cafe traded until autumn 1982 when we purchased the last three remaining years of his fixed 25 year lease. (Under that Agreement he paid £7 a month for 22 years!)  The photo shows Magnolia Cafe adjoining Terry’s Fruit and Vegetable lock-up, with Prestige Travel at No 41, taken in the late 1960s.

Derby's Coffee Shop

My wife Denise and I purchased the lease in 1982 so that we could set up Derby’s Coffee Shop and we traded there for 17 years. Owing to family bereavements, four years after starting up the business we took the opportunity to purchase all other shares in the building to ensure that the property would remain in our family and not be sold.  The basement was being used to strip pine furniture and there was an outside patio with a privy.

Then leased to various coffee companies

Eleven years ago we were approached by Good Bean Coffee Company, who had decided that North Laine was a great area to start up their coffee business, and we decided to accept their offer to lease the premises from us. It has subsequently passed from them to Coffee Republic and on to Caffe Nero.


[Also published in the North Laine Runner, No 212, September/October 2011]

This page was added on 20/06/2011.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.