There are numerous iconic photos of The Jam, and all Jam fans have their favourites, but, for me, it was the Frank’s Café ones that always grabbed me. I think it might be something to do with the fact that they are doing something that we all do: eat. Until I saw that photo, it had never occurred to me that The Jam would, like, eat. I noticed, years later, that only Bruce and Rick appear to be eating in the photo, but maybe Paul had just finished.
Push forward 38 years, and I’ve started to enjoy doing this RockSpot thing; placing old photos on top of new ones to see how much has changed. Trouble is, I could find NO trace of Frank’s Café anywhere in Soho, let alone on Beak Street. Several trips to Beak Street itself gave me no clues, so I asked Twitter.
Twitter couldn’t help, either, although lots of people sent me messages saying that they had always wondered where it was; many of them having gone looking for it in the past.
Then I asked Kevin Mottram @mott_73 on Twitter, because he has access to an Ancestry account that traces old addresses by name; surname, shop name or otherwise. He couldn’t find anything on Ancestry, but suggested that I contact the photographer – Martyn Goddard – to see if he could shed some light.
Nothing to lose, I guess, so I emailed Martyn.
Martyn replied, saying that the Café wasn’t on Beak Street after all, but that it was round the corner on Lexington Street and is now a Mildreds Restaurant.
At the time of the shoot, Martyn knew Harry Handshaw, who ran LMV Electrical at 77 Beak Street, and Martyn used to visit Harry from time to time when he was in town. Martyn’s regular visits to see Harry had resulted in him finding Frank’s Café, round the corner on Lexington Street.
So when it came to needing a café after the ‘News Of The World’ shoot, nearby to Carnaby Street, Martyn suggested Frank’s, as it was only about 100 yards down Beak Street and turn left into Lexington.
I emailed Mildreds to see if they could remember what the premises were before they opened their restaurant. Oli and Jane at Mildreds were extremely helpful, and although the premises has changed hands a few times since it was Frank’s Cafe, they were able to confirm Martyn’s information.
When Mildreds acquired 45 Lexington Street they carried out a full refurbishment, and the windows were lost in the process, but Mildreds gave me permission to use my photo, taken back left of the restaurant where Bruce, Rick and Paul would have been sitting.
Next time you’re in town and fancy a vegetarian meal, I recommend you head for Mildreds at 45 Lexington Street, Soho W1F 9AN and ask for the “Jam” seats. Maybe take a camera.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, of course I asked Martyn if he had any photo out-takes that he'd like to share.
He said that there were other photos, but that Polydor had lost them when they moved offices. He also said that he might go back through his archives again one day, though, so never say never..