History of South Shields ice-cream family to feature in radio show

editorial image

A well-known South Tyneside ice-cream maker is set to feature in a radio documentary on migrants who have successfully launched and run their own businesses.

Michael Minchella is the third generation of his family to run the award-winning ice-cream parlour in South Shields.

At Minchella’s we are incredibly proud of our family history so to be able to explore that as part of Migrants Mean Business has been very exciting.

Michael Minchella

The business was first launched by Giuseppe Minchella who first began selling ice-cream to miners in Boldon Colliery after moving to England from Italy.

He worked in towns across the North East but finally settled in South Shields taking over the ice-cream parlour at No 8 King Street which had formerly been owned by the Notarianni family.

The business was destroyed during the war, but with the help of his sons Luigi, Toney and Freddy, his business was back up and running.

Each of the brothers went on to run their own companies using the family name.

Now, the story behind one of the borough’s most successful family businesses is set to feature in a BBC World Service radio documentary - Migrants Mean Business.

The show will look at what it means to be a migrant in the UK running a successful business and will air on Wednesday.

It will be presented by Newcastle-based actress, presenter, writer and producer, Kim Tserkezie, best known for her role as Penny Pocket in children’s TV show Balamory.

Her company Scattered Pictures has produced the documentary after being commissioned by the BBC.

Minchella’s is one of three businesses visited as part of the programme.

Kim said: “Being brought up in a family of Greek migrants, I’ve always been fascinated by how people find their place in their adopted home. In this programme, I’m going to find out whether the experiences of families like the Minchellas, who built successful businesses after coming to the UK with nothing, still resonate with migrants arriving today.”

Producer Andy Jones is looking forward to the programme airing.

He said:: “I work a lot on international projects, so I’ve loved working with Kim to find and share fascinating stories from close to home.

“Exploring the connections that different food businesses have made across generations, from Italian ice-cream, to Syrian cheese, really demonstrate how people travelling across borders have contributed to life in Britain in the past, and continue to do today. I think it’s a really timely story which will strike a chord with listeners all over the world.”

Michael Minchella said: “It’s been a fantastic experience to be a part of the World Service programme. At Minchella’s we are incredibly proud of our family history so to be able to explore that as part of Migrants Mean Business has been very exciting.”

Kim also visits a cheese business in Yorkshire and a dessert company in Edinburgh during the programme.

The show airs at 11.30am on Wednesday, November 28, on the BBC World Service.