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My Grandfather Papa Francesco Romano, or Lepone, the family name was born in 1868 at Palermo Sicily. His wife was Rosa Aprile.

My Grandmother Rosa came from Gaeta, Italy. They came to Britain and to Wales in the very early 1900s, first arriving in Merthyr, and later on moving to Swansea. According to the old family stories, he walked from Merthyr to Swansea barefoot to save his Shoe leather!

In Swansea he started A Small Ice Cream business in the Strand with a small hand cart, going every morning to the docks to get the fresh Ice to make the Ice cream. Later, as time moved on, Francesco and Rosa had six children (Teresa, Mary, Joseph (My Father) Frank, Adeline and Angie). The sons and daughters helped with the business, running one of, if not the very first, Ice cream vans on the streets of Swansea, as well as the shop in Rodney street.

Later, the family acquired a van, and this is shown in the photographs along with my father. I am told you could set your watch by the time he arrived at a certain place throughout the day. His ice cream was known far and wide, as well as his famous ‘blobs’, a big helping of ice cream topped with chocolate that would set deliciously solid and crispy on the top.

Report and photos by Robert Romano
Sent to People’s Collection Wales by Anita Arcari

Photo 1: Francesco and Rosa with their 6 children
Photo 2: Census 1911 Romano
Photo 3: Frank Romano Snr
Photo 4: Romano cafe in Rodney st.
Photo 5: Romano ice cream van.
Photo 6: Romano van 2
Photo 7: Rosa Lepone
Photo 8: Rosa Romano (Aprile)
Photo 9: The Romano children

Comments (2)

Robert Rhodes's profile picture
My mother's family (Pelosi) also settled in this country and I have recently become interested in researching the Italian families and posting interesting information on the Swansea history Facebook sites. If Robert Romano reads this, I would like permission to use such information incl. photos particularly the shop in Rodney St. I can be contacted on: [email protected] Thanks very much. Robert Rhodes.
Robin Davies's profile picture
As a kid I fondly remember holidays in the Sandfields, and going to Angie's at 76 Rodney Street, and having iced lollipops dipped in chocolate! What a treat! Our Nan was always asking us to pop over to Angie to get goods and provisions. I guess Angelina ran Romano's as a cornershop in the 60s and 70s (at least).

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