With talk yet again about the Mecca of classic motoring, the Ace Cafe facing closure, Heritage Insurance take a look at the ups and downs of this iconic venue.
It seems the famous Ace Cafe has always sparked controversy for one reason or another and the latest headlines about the Ace Cafe facing closure are no different. This iconic venue is well known internationally for hosting car and bike events across the calendar with motoring enthusiasts from all walks of life getting together to admire and discuss their favorite subject. However as usual, these events are being spoilt by an unwanted element. This time in the shape of unruly yobs on mopeds displaying anti social behavior and disrupting events at the Ace on a regular basis.
Mark Wilsmore intends to fight to continue the Ace Cafe’s tradition of hosting classic car and motorcycle events despite receiving a formal letter threatening that the Ace cafe faces closure under the new Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act which seems ludicrous. He said “it’s very easy for the Police to see bikes and cars outside the premises and mix them in with events that we have going on in the car park. The police have been putting two & two together and getting five.”
He is confident however that this situation can be resolved with co operation from the police and it seems at last that they are finally starting to see that the cafe and its patrons are as much a victim as anyone else in this matter.
The Ace Cafe has always attracted motoring enthusiasts of all kinds from the very beginning. To see such an important nostalgic venue as the Ace Cafe facing closure, of course causes great concern to us all. Let’s hope things get resolved for the better and the Ace Cafe can continue what it does best. Hosting outstanding motoring events with a bit of rock n roll mixed in for good measure.
Let’s take a look down memory lane and show you a brief history about how The Ace Cafe all began.
It was way back in 1938 that the original Ace Cafe opened its doors to the British motorists. This world famous venue started life as nothing more than a humble 24 hour transport cafe for truckers. However being open round the clock this soon attracted the motorcyclists of the era.
With the increase of traffic on UK roads, the Ace Cafe soon thrived and grew, preparing home-made food on the premises in its state of the art kitchen and opening a service station and work shop with petrol pumps and car valeting.
Sadly as World War two hit Britain the Ace Cafe was bombed in an air raid completely destroying the premises and had to be rebuilt in 1949. With the British Motorcycle industry at its peak and the teenage phenomena in full swing, the Ace Cafe soon became the place to be, playing rock n roll on the juke box hanging out with the rockers and bikers such as the infamous “Ton-Up Boys”. Many Bike runs started and finished at the Ace as well as many a rock n roll band were formed.
The Ace Cafe had certainly earned itself a reputation and it wasn’t long before middle class society had condemned road cafes as places where decent people didn’t go. This together with the expansion of the motorway network soon saw the Ace Cafe close its doors for the last time in 1969.
25 years had passed without the doors of the Ace opening. Until one man, Mark Wilsmore had the idea of holding an Anniversary reunion to mark the closure of the original cafe. And so it was that Mark and his friends formed an organising team arranging motorcycle runs to converge at the former Ace Cafe site on the 4th of September 1994. To everyone’s surprise this turned into a major free motorcycle and rock n roll event with over 12,000 people gathering at the old site with extensive media coverage. In fact such popularity ensued a film was made entitled “An Ace Day”. With its rock n roll soundtrack this official Ace Cafe Reunion video received worldwide critical acclaim.
Mark Wilsmore is now the current owner of the Ace Cafe and it was in September 2001 after a complete rebuild that he finally opened the doors once again to the Ace Cafe.
Today’s Ace Cafe still upholds its traditional values of the 50’s and 60’s such as rebellion, non-conformist and individualism as well as pulling huge crowds of motoring enthusiasts with their bikes and cars. And so, is the Ace Cafe facing closure? Well with the likes of Mark Wilsmore at the helm, we wouldn’t bet on it.
Want to no more about the famous Ace Cafe? Just click on the link below: