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It’s hard to imagine what British food would be like without the influence of Italians. Pasta, pizza, ice cream, cappuccino: these have become staples of our national cuisine, part of our culture. Indeed, TV chef Jamie Oliver, though born in Essex, has a whole chain of restaurants themed around Italian food: Jamie’s Italian, which has 36 branches around the UK, while other Italian-themed chains such as Zizzi are thriving. 

When did the Italian migration start?

Where did it all start? Well, it could be argued that the first Italian migrants to our shores were the Romans, who rocked up when Julius Caesar made an exploratory visit in 55BC. Over the centuries, Italians left their stamp on many parts of the UK: Lombard Street in the City of London, for instance, is named after notable Italian migrants from Lombardy who became well established in banking and finance in the Middle Ages. 

But it wasn’t until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that Italians began to arrive in substantial numbers. Prior to the First World War, Britain operated what was in effect an “open door” to immigrants, and Italians, escaping poverty in their home country, sought a better life elsewhere. Many ended up working as waiters and kitchen staff in hotels and restaurants in London.

Thousands also settled in Bedford, working in the local brickworks. But some also headed for Scotland and south Wales, where, as well as working in traditional industries such as coal mining and shipbuilding, they also brought with them their culinary skills and set up ice cream parlours, cafés, fish and chip shops and other eateries. 

Antoniazzi shop, Caerphilly, 1920s-30s

Italian cafes and ice cream parlours 

In the mining communities of South Wales, where the temperance movement was hugely influential, Italian-owned cafés and ice cream parlours became popular from around the turn of the 20th century. They became known locally as “Bracchis”, named after the founding family of one popular chain. These establishments offered proper coffee, home-made ice cream, cakes and other treats. (The founding brothers of the Berni Inn restaurant chain also set up their first business in south Wales.) These were a treat not just for the palate, but also offered refined surroundings: elegant, comfortable tables and chairs, smartly dressed staff, fancy decor – a retreat from the industrial grime of the outside world. 

Italians and the catering trade

Meanwhile in Scotland, thousands of Italians made their way to cities such as Glasgow, where, again, many of them set up business in the catering trade. Many of Scotland’s fish and chip shops are still owned by families of Italian descent; indeed, some historians argue that it was Italians who popularised the “fish supper” – fish and chips - in Scotland.

Scotland has also given rise to the deep-fried pizza, which is often seen in Scottish chippies. Many Italian food-lovers and pizza purists would see this as an abomination. But, until fairly recently, authentic Italian pizza was little known beyond Italy, although in 1861 the San Francisco Bulletin published a brief descriptive article about the pizzas of Naples, which the reporter described as a kind of “cake”, cooked for five minutes in a hot oven and served “between sunset and two or three in the morning”.

The ingredients for these pizzas were simple;  mozzarella, tomato and herbs – the addition of meats, olives and exotic toppings such as pineapple came much later, when the pizza spread across America as a fast food.

The first pizzas appearing in Britain

The pizza appeared in Britain when restaurateur Peter Boizot launched his first Pizza Express restaurant in London’s Soho in 1965 after an inspirational trip to Italy. To begin with, Boizot served the pizza in the authentic Italian style, cutting squares from a long strip of pizza – but he was soon persuaded that it would be better to serve individually cooked circular pizzas on round plates.

Peter Boizot Coptic Street

These were served by cheerful staff in relaxed, informal surroundings, with the cooks spinning the pizza dough in full sight of the customers; a bit of theatre for the diners. The Pizza Express chain spread across Soho and London (with jazz being added to the menu in the Dean Street branch), eventually becoming today’s nationwide high-street chain. Over the years, the chain has consistently argued that its pizzas have not got any smaller since the 1960s – claiming instead that its customers’ appetites have grown. (Pizza Express actually added an inch or so to the dimensions of its pizzas in 2002.)

Italian restaurants

Italian restaurants serving classic meat and pasta-based dishes and desserts such as tiramisu also became popular from the 1960s onwards, leading to the growth of pasta as a staple part of our diet. There was a time when virtually every meal served on a British table would have featured potatoes. Now, pasta is perhaps even more widely seen, while once-exotic sauces such as pesto – a speciality of the Liguria region in northern Italy – have become widespread.

Soho was a focal point for many Italian migrants to the UK. Italian refugees displaced by the Napoleonic Wars began to arrive in London in the 1800s, chiefly in Clerkenwell but also in nearby Soho. From the 1930s onwards, Italian migrants set up cafés, restaurants and delicatessens in the bohemian melting pot of Soho. 

And from the 1950s Soho’s Italian cafés launched the coffee bar scene – youngsters would congregate in these cafés, with their gleaming, steaming Gaggia coffee machines, listening to rock and roll and skiffle. Among the first of these was the Moka Bar on Frith Street, which served espresso and “frothy coffee” in cool, stylish surroundings: a Formica-covered bar, metal stools, bright lights. Many of these coffee bars hosted live music, launching the careers of singers such as Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard.

Moka Bar in Frith Street, Soho

The Italian contribution to British cuisine 

Italians, then, have contributed much to the British way of eating and drinking. And, as well as the actual foods they have introduced, Italians have helped to democratise eating out in the UK. Italian restaurants have long been associated with informality, offering an alternative to the starchy, snobby, buttoned-up atmosphere that once prevailed in many British restaurants. In the early days of Italian restaurants, romantic music, candles set in straw Chianti bottles and friendly waiters created a relaxed, intimate ambience, helping to pave the way for the restaurant revolution that’s taken place in the UK in recent decades. 

Italian themed restaurants 

And these days, the UK’s Italian-themed restaurants such as Prezzo, Zizzi and Jamie’s Italian, and even the more upmarket Carluccio’s, have cast off the fussy interiors of their forebears in favour of a more informal, “natural” look: no tablecloths, simple, elegant restaurant furniture (in the case of Carluccio’s, solid wood tabletops are widely used), bare floors, sometimes open kitchens (though this trend began with Pizza Express back in the 1960s).

Jamie's Italian in St Martin's Courtyard, Covent Garden, London

Purists might complain that the food in some of these restaurants in not properly “authentic” Italian, but anyone with memories of British food in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s (spaghetti from a tin, anyone?) will simply be grateful for the Italian influence on our national cuisine. Buon appetito!

It may have been one year, five years or even 50 years since your special day. Flashbacks of the white dress, emotional speeches and dancing guests flood your memories. You would give anything to be back in that moment and renewing your wedding vows seems like the perfect idea. Building upon old promises or establishing new ones is the epitome of romance. And then it hits you. How on earth could you ever afford to replicate your wedding?

Celebrity Wedding Vow Renewals

Celebrities seem to be leading the latest trend in vow renewal with many holding lavish gatherings in grand locations such as Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon’s ceremony in Disneyland, California. Others have followed suit, splashing out thousands to reaffirm their marriage vows. However, not all celebrity couples want to show-off their million-pound fortunes. 

Choosing the Perfect Venue

As recently as January 2017, David and Victoria Beckham have secretly had a vow renewal ceremony of their own with just six guests present at their private home. If you want the renewal of your marriage vows to be a small and humble event then there is absolutely no reason you can’t hold a private gathering in your back garden or the local park. Decorate your venue with outdoor furniture for that summer garden party feel. Make sure you choose chairs and tables that designed for the British weather by checking out our durable collection of outdoor stacking chairs.

Wedding vow renewal ceremonies are not legally binding and therefore they can be conducted just about anywhere. Choosing somewhere with sentimental value can really make this special day just about the two of you, your love and your memories. Limiting guest numbers to those who mean the most to you such as parents, children and long-standing friends will ensure your ceremony celebrates your relationship together as a family. Acquaintances are not going to be offended if they are not invited so don’t panic about trying to include everyone.

Dressing for a Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony

Choosing the dress code for a budget vow renewal ceremony can be very simple. Some may choose to go big like their celebrity idols and wear their original wedding attire or something similar; others might prefer a smart/casual approach. Whatever your decision it is important to explain this to your guests so they don’t arrive feeling under or over-dressed.

Budget ceremonies don’t have to look cheap. You can find a wealth of fabulous clothes on the high street, and as you are not organising an actual wedding there are no traditional conventions to follow. Pick a cocktail dress, a casual shirt and trousers or if you’re on the beach, dig out those Bermuda shorts. Whatever your decision, ensure you are comfortable as you’re not there to please anyone but yourselves.

Entertainment Options for a Small Budget

Planning to entertain guests on a reasonable budget can be difficult. Once you start adding up DJ costs, lights, food and a venue it can get out of hand. As we have mentioned before, wedding vow renewal ceremonies are not there to out-do the big day itself. Step back and plan ways to enjoy a relaxed evening with those closest to you.

Making a playlist of your favourite songs from across the decades, and have this playing while everyone picks their way through a buffet will make for a relaxed atmosphere. Alternatively, ask a local musician or band if they would be interested in playing and that way you will be helping out the local community too. BBQ’s are also a great way to fill everyone’s appetites, and you could even suggest that those attending bring a small contribution such as potato salad or dessert. You shouldn’t be expecting any wedding renewal gifts so this would be a nice way for your family and friends to play a part in this special day.

If you are holding your vow renewal ceremony indoors, stacking chairs would be ideal for saving space. They could be set out for the ceremony itself, and then stacked away to provide extra space for those who want to dance the night away. Why not consider hosting a dance competition to get your guests moving on the dance floor. Our recent post on the approaching wedding season takes you through different seating ideas which could be useful for your renewal ceremony.

Remember, It’s Not the Real Thing

When planning your vow renewal ceremony it’s important to remember that your guests won’t be expecting a full-scale wedding style celebration and you definitely do not have to spend the rest of your life savings on the event. Planning a wedding vow renewal ceremony should be a fun and pleasurable experience for everyone involved, especially you. Our guide to renewing wedding vows on a budget will be sure to help you make your day memorable without the costs.

Trent Furniture offers a range of products suitable for both budget and premium occasions. We have a wide range of seating available and will be more than happy to talk you through your ideas. Get in touch with a member of the team today and start planning the renewal of your marriage vows.

Celebrity References

Mariah Carey Vow Renewal

David Beckham Vow Renewal

As the weather warms up and long summer days with warmer evenings approach, it is likely that you are looking to spruce up your outdoor area as a well-planned outdoor space can significantly increase your business capacity and customer numbers. Innkeepers can increase average spend per head, entice new customers in and keep customers returning simply by creating an inviting and well maintained outdoor space. To many, the exterior of a pub reflects what they might find inside and also what kind of service they can expect so it’s an excellent an opportunity to promote your pub and the kind of business you run to passing trade and regular customers alike!

outdoor seating at a restaurant

A key consideration in designing an outdoor area is what type of furniture you will fill the space with. It needs to be visually appealing as well as functional and durable. Choosing furniture purely on price isn’t always a good move and there are other factors to take account of if you want a purchase of furniture to be an investment rather than an expense season after season, year upon year!

If you are considering how you can maximise the potential of our outdoor area then the handy Outdoor Furniture Buying Guide will help you to avoid making expensive and time consuming mistakes in the transformation of your pub garden!


Choose wisely when it comes to what your furniture is made of. There are a number of options when it comes to outdoor tables and chairs but which is right for you?


Who doesn’t love the look of wood with its unique grains and markings but it often isn’t practical due to requiring lots of maintenance to keep it looking beautiful. There’s nothing worse than having to treat and oil wood or year after year, sand and re-stain or even worse, purchase expensive furniture covers that take valuable time and energy to fit and remove between uses. If you like the look of wood but want furniture that won’t weather, rot and crack like real hardwood furniture will over time then choose synthetic timber furniture that offer the look of wood but require little to no maintenance. Trent Furniture offer a wood effect outdoor chair that features synthetic timber slats and is weather and water resistant for maximum longevity as well as been stackable for convenient storage during the harsher winter months.

monaco wood effect stacking chair and outdoor capra table

[Wood Effect Monaco Range]


If you want to create a modern look then metal is a good choice and being available in such a wide choice of shapes, sizes and finishes makes it all the more popular with owners, landlords and customers throughout the industry-Just make sure any metal furniture you purchase is weather resistant and treated to resist rust and weathering. Bright silver such as aluminium can be combined with bold colours or natural textures such as wood, slate or brick so it’s a very versatile material for outdoor furniture and can be used in any setting from grassed areas to patios, terraces and decking. Not to mention that as well as strong and sturdy, aluminium is still one of the most light-weight materials for outdoor furniture making it easy to move around and store.

Synthetic Rattan

Synthetic rattan, wicker or resin weave have the unique selling point of being virtually maintenance free and had truly revolutionised the outdoor furniture market. It may be the newest material to make an appearance but it’s hugely popular partly down to the contemporary designs, vast choice of colours and resilience to weather which means they can be used all year round. Use synthetic rattan or wicker furniture to introduce colour to an area or opt for dark greys and blacks for a contemporary twist that looks stylish and sophisticated in any outdoor setting.

red monaco chair

Maintenance and Storage

Another key consideration when purchasing outdoor furniture that is linked closely to the material you choose, is maintenance. Minimal maintenance is key, look for simple shapes that are easy to clean and allow excess water to drain off easily in the wetter weather to maximise longevity of your outdoor furniture. Although all materials will be weather resistant, furniture will stay looking its best if it can be stored away during particularly cold and wet months when it would otherwise be exposed to long periods of harsh weather.

Smaller pieces and individual chairs are much easier to move and store than larger bulkier items such as benches and multiple seat suites. Choosing stacking furniture means storage requires less room and is much more convenient when it comes to finding space to stash your outdoor tables and chairs. Placing in a shed or garage is a great way of prolonging furniture life expectancy-just be sure to fully dry down and clean your furniture pre-storage to avoid mould forming, decay of metal and rotten wood.

The Monaco range of chairs from Trent Furniture are all stackable, lightweight and available in wood effect, aluminium or wicker with prices starting from just £22.90! The Monaco Outdoor Chairs are specifically designed for contract use and have a construction superior to those you might find for domestic use so will remain sturdy and stylish for years to come.

outside restaurant furniture

[Plaza Stacking Furniture Range]


Colour is important when it comes to outdoor furniture. Brightly coloured furniture adds interest to an area whilst bright silvers such as stainless steel and aluminium are really on trend right now, adding a contemporary style to pub gardens and patios of all shapes and sizes.

monaco stacking chairs

Dark colours including grey and black are a classic choice and an investment that won’t date so consider this option when investing in new outdoor furniture-just make sure that it is UV resistant to ensure they don’t become faded in sunlight.

Be warned when it comes to white outdoor furniture, especially tops which can create glare in direct sunlight and make for an uncomfortable experience for your customers. White furniture can be troublesome and high maintenance attracting dust, dirt and grime from the natural environment such as weather, the sea or traffic. The last thing you need is to be constantly cleaning down your outdoor furniture to keep it looking presentable when your time and effort could be focussed elsewhere on making sure business is thriving!


There are a few vital things to look for in the design of your outdoor furniture to ensure not only will it look great but that it will perform well. Trent Furniture advise to look for items following design features;

Adjustable feet- Let’s face it, you find plenty of uneven floor surfaces inside never mind outside! This is especially true of older buildings and renovations that feature beautiful stone floors or traditional tiling so it’s no surprise that adjustable feet on outdoor furniture are high on a list of priorities. Adjustable feet on tables can provide the perfect solution to floors that are not level, put an end to those irritating wobbly legs and avoid those pesky folded beer mats under legs!  

Drainage Holes- As your furniture will spend a lot of time being subjected to the unpredictable Great British weather, it is important that it is deigned to let excess water drain to allow them to dry off quickly and keep them looking fresh and new. After all no one wants to sit on a mouldy chair that’s seen better days, nor are they inclined to step any further to see what you have on offer inside! As plastic is non-porous, if you are opting for a solid seat as opposed to wicker, rattan or slated design then make sure it has adequate drainage holes; without these, water can sit on the surface and leave unattractive watermarks from the muddy puddles of water that linger.

Rust Resistant-Even if you pack up your beer garden furniture and store your outdoor furniture indoors during the harshest winter months, it is inevitable that eventually your  furniture will get wet and weathered over time no matter what you do- particularly if you opt for aluminium, stainless steel or other metal finishes, choose a high grade to help resist corrosion and keep it looking it’s best. Look for stainless steel tops that have ‘post-forming’ where the metal continues over the edges of the tops to prevent water reaching the core as these will last much longer and prevent warping and inner rust developing.

arley outdoor furniture

                                                                                                                                                                        So there you have it a comprehensive guide to buying outdoor furniture. Shop online at Trent Furniture for a huge range of outdoor furniture designed for contract use and specifically created for pubs, inns and bars in mind. Don’t wait any longer to maximise the potential of your outdoor space and the warmer summer months!

Summer is approaching and already people are choosing to sit outside to enjoy drinks with friends or a meal with family at their local pub.

Updating existing pub gardens or outside pub dining areas

If you already offer an outside area for your customers to use for drinking and eating when the weather is nice, could now be the ideal time to update your current offering?

Over time, materials like wood can rot and break when left out in cold and wet weather.  Similarly, metal furniture can rust and sharpen in places, whilst wicker furniture can start looking tatty and become unstable after a heavy summer if it’s not made of a high-quality material and looked after well.

Updating your outside furniture can be the difference between customers coming back time and time again in the summer, or choosing to go elsewhere.

Creating an outside pub seating or dining area

If you don’t already have an outside seating area, there are lots of reasons to include one at your pub, including:

  • More space for additional drinkers and diners when the inside is busy
  • It can be a more child friendly area, especially if there is an area for them to play too
  • It can be more dog friendly, so more tempting to countryside walkers or people who would prefer not to leave the dog at home on a nice day
  • If it’s a sunny day and your pub doesn’t have nice seating, it’s more likely that potential customers will choose to go to a pub that does, instead

Which pub garden furniture should you buy?

Depending on the type of pub you have, there are different types of pub garden furniture that would best complement the look and feel of the pub inside. 

Wooden pub garden furniture

A wooden range of pub garden furniture would work well to extend the pub’s interior through to the outside of the pub, if your pub is traditional or classic.  This works particularly well for countryside pubs, as wood complements a pub surrounded by trees and nice views to create an outdoorsy feel.

Our Capra Square Table and Monaco Wood Effect Stacking Chairs look great together and are water resistant, which means you won’t have to rush to put them away every time it rains.

monaco wood effect stacking chair

Wicker pub garden furniture

If your pub garden extends to an area that is either not secured throughout the evening, or is used for any other purpose such as an extended car park for other events, you may need furniture that can be easily stacked away.  Wicker is an ideal material for being able to move items quickly and easily, as it’s relatively light compared to other furniture materials.

Wicker is also versatile in terms of colour ranges, as it can be coloured and still look great.  Our Monaco Wicker Stacking Chair is available in black, yellow, red and green.  The Plaza Table looks great in black and is rust resistant, so whilst you might want to put it away if it’s outside the front of the pub in the daytime, you won’t need to rush to get it in if it rains.

Black Wicker pub garden furniture stacking chair

Aluminium pub garden furniture

Another great option for both temporary and permanent pub garden furniture is aluminium.  This works well for any type of pub, but particularly city pubs or those that are less traditional.

The beauty of aluminium is that it is waterproof, so if you have a pub garden, a street seating area or even just a balcony or terrace, you can leave your furniture out of storage for the entire summer.  As well as being resistant to rust and weather damage, aluminium pub furniture is really easy to clean, easy to handle and easy to store.

We like this Rossa Aluminium Stacking Table with the Monaco Aluminium Stacking Chair for alfresco drinking and dining, especially if you’re trying out a pub garden for the first time.

Monaco Aluminium pub garden furniture stacking chair

Buying pub garden furniture online

At Trent Furniture, we have been working with many pubs for many years.  We know what lasts well and in what circumstances, as well as what fits best with a pub’s interior and existing atmosphere.  For advice about which pub garden furniture would work best for your pub, give us a call on 0116 2986 866 or email us at .


To view our full range of pub tables, visit the Trent Furniture website.

Unless you own a dog, you won’t be fully aware of how frustrating it can be to find a pub that opens its doors to dogs. And there’s good reason for this. For the owner of the establishment, whether it’s a pub, café or hotel, the prospect of letting customers bring in their pet can fill their heart with dread.

What they might not be aware of is the size of the market that they are excluding. Figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association in 2015 show that there are 8.5 million pet dogs in the UK, making up close to a quarter of all households (24 per cent).

Being dog-friendly is essential to this market. 70 per cent of UK dog owners research pubs before visiting and one in three struggle to find a suitable dog-friendly pub.

If you want to appeal to this market, what areas are important to pet owners?

Water bowls spread around the pub, inside and outside.
Staff that are welcoming to dogs
Food available for dogs
Easily visible dog etiquette rules
Outdoor space

Once you’ve put in the changes, you need to make sure locals and visitors are aware of your new found status. There are several websites that list dog friendly pubs in the UK including Doggie Pubs and DogBuddy.

Dog friendly pub furniture

If you are considering making your pub dog-friendly, you may first need to consider your furniture. To cater for pets, furniture needs to be robust. Shabby chic décor also ties in well with a pub that provides facilities for dogs.

For more information and recommendations on tables and chairs that are ideal for a dog-friendly pub, call us today on 0116 2989 897.

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