Sidoli ice-cream factory, Ebbw Vale


Sidoli ice-cream factory, Ebbw Vale

Ice cream is made here by descendants of an enterprising Italian who settled in Wales as a child and was interned for five years in the 1940s.

Benedetto Sidoli was only 12 years old in 1922 when he travelled from Bardi, Italy, to Cwm, south of Ebbw Vale, to join his older brother Bert. Initially the brothers sold drinks to miners outside the local colliery. Later they opened a café where they sold ice cream.

Ben married a local girl named Doris. They set up a shop in Ebbw Vale High Street where they made and sold vanilla ice cream. The all-important ice was delivered in a block by train from Cardiff early each morning for many years, until a freezer was installed in 1936.

In June 1940, Italy announced that it was siding with Germany in the Second World War. Italian men living in Britain were soon arrested as “enemy aliens”. Ben was sent to the Isle of Man, where he remained interned until September 1945. His eldest son was sent to work on farms. His equipment stood idle through the war, except briefly when it was used to supply ice cream to American soldiers camped at Gilwern!

Soon after the war, Ben purchased these premises at Market Square to expand production. The company sold ice cream wholesale, in many flavours, and became a household name across South Wales. During the hot, dry summer of 1976 the company temporarily used night shifts to keep up with demand.

Successive generations of Sidolis have continued the business. Stefano Sidoli – Ben’s great-grandson – joined the company in 2006 after graduating from Swansea University.

Several other Welsh ice-cream businesses were founded in the first half of the 20th century by migrants from Italy. They include Parisella’s in Conwy and Frank’s in Ammanford.

Postcode: NP23 6YN    View Location Map

Sidoli’s website