Wally’s Delicatessen, Cardiff

button-theme-evacWally’s Delicatessen, 38-46 Royal Arcade

The origins of this retail business lie in war-ravaged Europe. Polish-born Ignatz Salamon arrived in Britain in 1939 after fleeing persecution of Jews first in Poland and then in Austria, where he had run a general store. In 1938 he and his family were sent by the Gestapo to live in a Vienna ghetto. He managed to reach the UK, enlisted in the British Army and arranged with a charity for his wife and three children to come to Britain. Ignatz had five siblings: two moved to Britain, the other three died in the Holocaust.

By 1947 Ignatz had accumulated enough money from factory work, and learned enough English, to set up a store in Bridge Street. The shop sold meats, cakes, pickles and other imports from eastern Europe, giving migrants a taste of home. Many people had migrated to South Wales before or after the Second World War, to avoid persecution or to find work. Some had migrated around the time of the First World War and Russian Revolution, and their own children had grown up in Britain by 1947.

When Ignatz died in 1963, the business was continued by his sons Walter and Otto. It was forced to relocate in 1981, to make way for construction of an ice rink and other buildings in the Bridge Street area. Those buildings have since been replaced by the John Lewis store.

Otto founded his own business in 1981, while Walter set up a new delicatessen, called Wally’s, in Royal Arcade. The store continued to cater mainly for migrants, especially from Poland, and their offspring into the 1980s. The clientele then became more diverse as the Welsh public sought more exotic foods, in response to television cookery shows, foreign holidays, diets and food fashions.

The shop expanded in 2009, a year after Walter’s death, by taking over the next-door premises. It is now run by the third generation of the Salamon family in Cardiff.

In the early 20th century, one of the shop units here (number 42) was the premises of “bird and animal preserver” J Mountney, who stuffed dead animals for display. He supplied the Marquis of Bute and Cardiff Museum, and offered to dress skins and furs and to line rugs. The same taxidermy business was known earlier as Cording & White, which was at 10 Royal Arcade when it advertised in 1870: “Private Museums attended to. Ladies Plumes made to order.”

Postcode: CF10 1AE    View Location Map

Website of Wally’s Delicatessen

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