I wasn’t brought up in Glasgow, but my Uncle and Auntie lived on Victoria Road and when I was a kid we used to visit them every summer. The highlight of the trip was always the short walk up to the park, punctuated by a visit to the Queens Cafe for ice cream cones. My Uncle Johnny bought all of us cones and even used to buy one for his dog, Topsy. We’d guzzle them as we ran to the park, ice cream dribbling down onto our sandals.
Years later, when I moved to Glasgow I was thrilled to see the Queens hadn’t changed much at all. Sometimes you want things to stay like you remember them as a child! As the Skinny magazine neatly summarises:
‘Queens Café on Victoria Road is one of the few 50s style ice-cream parlours left in Glasgow. Its art deco stylings and battered leather booths instantly take you back to another era, when the city was full of places like this.’
The Queens has been given the acolade of one of the UK’s top ten ice cream sellers by the Guardian.
Although on the face of it, the 1950’s style tiled frontage looks pretty simple, it was actually quite a tricky Lego model to build. The first challenge was how to make two ‘giant’ fake ice cream cones topped with the characteristic Ginesi’s raspberry sauce out of Lego!
This took a bit of experimenting, but I eventually used a yellow cone (obvious) with a 2×2 white round plate for the ice cream part; the raspberry topping (which is quite significant in scale) is a red dome piece in the opposite aligment to the rest of the cone. The key to holding the cone togther is a white 1×6 ‘aerial’ piece which threads through the whole thing. Getting the left hand cone centred in the window requires a couple of ‘jumper’ plates.
Recently, I’ve noticed that the original ‘fake’ cones have gone and there’s now only big pictures. It would be interesting to know where these ended up. Other Glasgow Cafes still have these fake cones outside (Newlands cafe on Kilmarnock Road for example).
Challenge number two: that quirky sunburst art deco style stained glass window. Not really possible to build out of lego. But I got round this by using an original photograph printed onto a transparent sticker. I stuck this onto a backing of 1×2 and 1×1 transparent bricks which provide a realistic window texture behind the sticker and allow some light to shine through it.
Challenge number three: those tiny little oblong tiles that cover the central part of the frontage. This took a bit of figuring out, but the ultimate solution is testament to how wonderful the geometry of Lego is. This bit of the model is actually built sideways out of 1×2 red plates and 1×2 transparent bricks for the widows. This allowed me to use the ends of the 1×2 plates in a vertical alignment to represent the small oblong tiles. And this ‘sideways’ bit can be slotted into the model almost seamlessly. It sits on top of the base part which is six studs long. The way Lego is designed you can align it any direction, so here the width of 15 plates is the same as the length of six studs – so five plates to every two studs. Awesome!
You can buy the Queens Cafe Lego model at my Folksy shop here.