The Ace Cafe London is an old transport café in London, England. It originally opened in 1938 and was designed to accommodate the traffic traveling on the then new North Circular Road. Because the cafe was open 24 hours a day, it soon started to attract motorcyclists. It became popular with Rockers in the 1950/60s and it was a local hangout for the petrol heads. Today it has been refurbished and Rockers and motorcyclists from all over the world go to the Ace to share stories, fix bikes and see the legend itself.
The cafe was rebuilt in 1949 after being destroyed in a World War II air raid. This happened because the building is very close to the Willesden Railway Marshalling Yard, the actual target of the raid.
A number of events occurred in the Post-war environment to make the Ace Cafe a success, the emergence of the Teenager; increases in road traffic; and the British motorcycle industry being at its peak. Many young people started to meet at the cafe with their motorcycles and listen to Rock 'n' Roll music.
The cafe established itself as a cultural hub for rockers, and many bands and motorcycle enthusiast groups formed there.
The original cafe closed in 1969; one usage before it re-opened was as a tyre sales and fitting shop, which did, at least for some time, sell and fit motorcycle tyres. The Ace Cafe was refurbished and reopened in 2001 by Mark Wilsmore, an ex mounted policeman who had been one of the 'teenagers' that had visited the Ace in the 60s and had fallen in love with the place.
The Ace under the management of Mark and his wife Linda has gone from strength to strength and is now open as a café restaurant and is now not only famous amongst the biker fraternity but also amongst various classic and sports car gatherings ranging from American V8s to Classic British, French, Italian, German and Japanese vehicles. The Ace has also been used as a location for several TV programmes and a film in the 60s called The Leather Boys.
My photographs will form a book dedicated to the Ace Café and its customers and staff who keep this uniquely British icon alive in a world where individuality is frowned upon and people still judge a book by it's cover.