Friday, 15 January 2010

Derby Kardomah

THE manager of a former Derby cafe which became a meeting place for the rich and famous has died, aged 103. Tributes have been paid to Albert Ragg, who ran the Kardomah Cafe in the Corn Market for more than 33 years.
During its heyday the cafe was the place to be seen, attracting the likes of Brian Clough, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and stars appearing at the Hippodrome theatre.
Mr Ragg, who had lived in the same house in Chaddesden since he moved to the city from Merseyside in 1934, died at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary on Saturday.
His daughter, Susan Nuttall, 69, who now lives in South Africa, said her father had loved running the cafe.
She said: "He used to talk about it all the time. My father used to talk about the people who went into the cafe such as the actor Richard Todd. My mum was a huge football fan so she always used to tell me about the Derby County players that visited regularly and the manager Brian Clough."
Born in Birkenhead, Mr Ragg moved to Derby with his wife, Marjorie, who died in 1993.
He took over as manager of the former Kardomah Cafe and stayed in the job for 33-and-a-half years until he retired in 1969.
During the Second World War, Mr Ragg was in a reserved occupation in catering, so he was not able to join the armed forces. Instead, he signed up to Derby's Home Guard.
The Derby County fan was also a member of the former Derby Society of Lancastrians for many years.
Mr Ragg also leaves his son, Ian Ragg, 73, of Chaddesden, 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Susan added: "My father was always very interested in people. He was a gentle person with a patient manner and loved chatting to anyone."
The cafe was owned by a firm called Kardomah Ltd which, at the start of the Second World War, had 30 branches around the country, including six in both Liverpool and London.
Mr Ragg eventually went on to become area manager, overseeing the branches in Derby and Nottingham.
The firm finally sold out to a major catering chain which closed the venue in 1980.
Mr Ragg's funeral takes place at Markeaton Crematorium on Monday at 2.20pm. Nov 2008


  1. Does anybody have any history on the Notitngham King Street Kardomah. My granda used to go there during the war, and afterwards. Just wondering if any know when it closed down ?

  2. Hi James,

    I was really pleased to find your Kardomah blog! I have been doing a bit of family history research and one of the memories it has sparked is being taken to the Kardomah in Derby in the early '60s as a little girl by my Mum to meet up with my Grandad and two Great Aunts. My Grandad, Harry Cholerton and his sisters, Kit and Joyce met there every week. I dont remember the place in the vivid detail of the article I read on your site though I do remember the amazing smell of coffee in the shop downstairs as well as the policeman on point duty outside. I also remember the Kardomah towards the end of its existence because I had as a teenager I had a Saturday job in Harts the Chemist which was more or less if not actually next door so we had our tea breaks in the "KD". It had gone a bit downhill by then and was not at all the place as I remembered it.

    But was there not a Kardomah in Bath? I lived there from the mid 1980s and was sure there was a Kardomah at the bottom of Milsom Street (kind of beyond the bottom so might have a different street name), selling coffee and tea in the front just like the old Derby cafe, with chairs and tables in the back. Whatever it was has certainly disappeared now.

    Anyway, thankyou again for pressing on with your blog in the evenings. It is fascinating to read the background and other reminiscences. One of the miracles of the internet to be able to access such amazing nuggets from the past!

    best wishes, Barbara