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Iconic roadside cafe in Stonebridge awarded Red Wheel award by Transport Trust

PUBLISHED: 17:23 20 September 2019

The Red Wheel plaque from the Transport Trust unveiled at the Ace Cafe. Picture: Toni Harris

The Red Wheel plaque from the Transport Trust unveiled at the Ace Cafe. Picture: Toni Harris

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An iconic roadside café in Stonebridge has made it into the transport heritage books and received a separate appreciation award for its 80 years of service.

Ace Cafe founder Mark Wilsmore awarded a certificate of appreciation by Brent Council and a 'Red Wheel' by the Transport Trust for services to transport. Picture: Brent CouncilAce Cafe founder Mark Wilsmore awarded a certificate of appreciation by Brent Council and a 'Red Wheel' by the Transport Trust for services to transport. Picture: Brent Council

A Red Wheel award from the Transport Trust now has pride of place in the Ace Café which recognises its contribution to the history of transport.

The bikers' café is one of just 115 sites in the UK to receive a plaque which is only given to places that have special value.

The plaque reads: "Built 1938 as part of a service area for the new North Circular Road. In the 1950s and 60s, it became a magnet for young motorcyclists".

It was unveiled by the mayor of Brent Cllr Ernest Ezeajughi together with Father Sergiy Diduk, Chairman of the 59 Club on September 8.

The Ace Cafe has been awarded the Transport Trust's Red Wheel recognising its contribution to the history of transport.The Ace Cafe has been awarded the Transport Trust's Red Wheel recognising its contribution to the history of transport.

Café founder Mark Wilsmore was presented with a certificate of appreciation from Brent Council the following day in recognition of his café's success.

He said: "It is with privilege that Ace Cafe London, on behalf of patrons, visitors and staff, past, present and in the future, is appreciated, valued and recognised, as being of both significance and relevance."

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Ace Cafe was built in 1938 as a roadside cafe to cater for traffic using the then new road.

During WW2 the building was destroyed and then rebuilt in 1948 to herald a new dawn in entertainment.

One of the first cafes to use neon signage, the Ace stayed open 24 hours and soon attracted hoards of young motorcyclists.

It was used as the setting for The Leather Boys, a cult film starring now deceased Stonebridge actor Colin Campbell and in recent years it has appeared in Top Gear, an episode of Car SOS and on the National Geographic channel.

The business has grown with licenced venues in Spain, China, America, Finland and Canada.

Regular Ace Cafe visitor, Ace Rocker, said: "The Ace Cafe is a brilliant place with a great atmosphere and the feel good factor. It takes you back to the 60s where everybody helps each other and I'd recommend it to anybody."

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Brent Council's culture and leisure chief added: "I'm incredibly proud to have it here in the borough and we're looking forward to working with them as part of Brent's London Borough of Culture 2020 programme and seeing what we can create together."

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