STAR reader Ian Griffiths wrote to me regarding this photo of the former Vincents ice cream maker,

The business is now closed and the building in Crowther Street (near Morrisons on Boundary Road) is likely to be developed as housing.

Vincent’s is a very old ice cream business in this area and I bet the locals have some great tales to tell about when it was open in its heyday. What do you think?

Ah, the memories of hot summer days and buying ice creams as I wandered around the town shows in Sherdley Park.

What are your memories of local ice cream makers, or your favourite sites, or your favourite flavours, or your favourite chimes as the vans touted for your attention? 

My favourite is a 99, or a “bunny’s ears” (ice cream cone with two flakes).

The origin of the name is disputed. One story is that it was named by Italian ice-cream sellers (many from mountainous areas in the Alpine regions) in honour of the final wave of conscripts from the First World War, born in 1899 and referred to as “I Ragazzi del 99” – the Boys of ‘99.

They were held in such high esteem that some streets in Italy were named in honour of them. The chocolate flake may have reminded them of the Alpine Regiment’s hat, with a long dark feather cocked at an angle. 

Ice cream’s origins are known to reach back as far as the second century B.C., although no specific date of origin nor inventor has been credited with its discovery. We know that Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavoured with honey and nectar.

Biblical references also show that King Solomon was fond of iced drinks during harvesting. During the Roman Empire, the Emperor Nero frequently sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavoured with fruits and juices.