Ice cold in Norwich: 100 years of Christmas’s ice cream

An ice cream company is celebrating 100 years of producing the sweet treat in the city where it was founded.

Christmas Aldous began making ice cream in Norwich in 1921, selling his products under the name Aldous’ Ices.

His recipe is still being used by Lakenham Creamery, which acquired the company in the 1990s.

Mr Aldous’s granddaughter said it was “delightful” to see his much-loved flavours still being enjoyed and sold from a stall at the city’s market.

Joan Thorndyke’s grandfather Christmas Aldous was named after the day he was born – 25 December 1901.

Now 76, she recalls being doted on as she was his first grandchild.

Christmas Aldous pictured in 1921 – the year he started his ice cream business

“I always had ice cream – I had a lot of tonsillitis and ice cream is in my blood – even now I will rush out when I hear the chimes of an ice cream van – it doesn’t matter what the weather is like,” Mrs Thorndyke said.

Her grandfather swapped selling coal for ice cream in 1921.

She could not recall where the recipe came from, but said: “I think he saw some money in it.”

His motorcycle “trike” had a sidecar and he rang a hand bell, which she still has to this day.

In the early days they made just vanilla and strawberry, with chocolate being added later.

But there were always milk lollies in lots of flavours, like lime, she recalled.

The popular creamy pops were brought back to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the company this year.

Recalling her grandparents, Mrs Thorndyke said: “I know they struggled in the early years, and my nan, Mary, worked her socks off to get the vans ready for the rounds.

“But my grandfather built the company up very well.”

Aldous’ Ices were well-known in the city and became a regular fixture at Norwich Market – there is still a stall there to this day.

Mary and Christmas had three children, but Joan said Mr Aldous left the family in the 1950s and the company was passed on to his two sons, Ronnie and Chris.