De Roma is a family business based in the heart of the North West, in Wigan. We’ve been producing hand made gelato style ice cream for almost 100 years now, so we know what tastes good! We pride ourselves on the quality of our product and unparalleled customer service.
If you’d like to know more about our products, please contact Antonio – we’d love you hear from you.
History of De Roma Ice Cream
The Journey Begins
When Antonio De Roma, born 1894, left Italy in search of work after the First World War he had never heard of Wigan. All he knew was that politics in Italy were poisonous and he had no hope of prosperity in his native Sardinia.
So he spent his last Lira on a boat crossing to Genoa and after several months of travelling he got the opportunity to travel by train to France and somehow found his way to the UK. Probably working on the canals, he found his way to first Manchester, then Wigan.
Antonio found a full time job making ice cream for an Italian family, the Cassinelli’s, and met a young woman by the name of Rebecca who would soon become his wife.
By the time his first child was on the way, Antonio had decided he’d learnt enough from Cassinelli and decided to go on his own, buying a small factory premises on Swan Meadow Road in Wigan.
De Roma Ice Cream, founded 1922
Priding himself on “Quality and Cleanliness” (cleanliness being a marketable trait in 1930!) Antonio began making ice cream in his own hand made ice cream machines.
He would load up a pony and cart with his hand crafted ice cream and go around the streets shouting “Gelati! Gelati!” throughout the Summer.
De Roma Ice Cream soon became popular, famous for its distinctive vanilla flavour, smoothness and brilliantly clean whiteness. Nowadays we prefer lots of bits and pieces in our ice cream, but back then the British public didn’t trust anything that didn’t look pristine!
It wasn’t long before Antonio had a small army of men and women working trikes and carts for him all over the Wigan borough and beyond.
With the Second World War looming, Antonio Snr made the decision to become a British Citizen. And what a decision that turned out to be: the outbreak of war saw all the Italians in the Northwest rounded up and shipped to Canada. The boat never made it – it was bombed and hundreds lost their lives.
During the war the ice cream factory was closed due to rationing, and Antonio Snr took ill and he died in 1948.
After the Second World War, Antonio Jnr, now in his mid twenties, re-opened De Roma Ice Cream and applying the same vigour and devotion he had seen in his Father. Supported by his immediate family led the business into a new era of success.
First with ice cream vans, then during the late 70’s and into the 80’s, De Roma Ice Cream led the way in producing choc-ices for the mass market.
During the 1990’s, De Roma Ice Cream became the 2nd largest producer of Ice Cream Products in the UK, employing 200 people in Wigan.
Unfortunately, as we saw all too often in British manufacturing in the early 2000s, a bad summer saw the banks call in their loans and De Roma ice cream was closed down in October 2003.
The Phoenix Rises
However, the hard grafting Sardinian spirit of Antonio Snr survived in his grandson Anthony De Roma, and 6 months later he reopened as a small Artisan Ice Cream Manufacturer – just a stone’s throw from where his Grandad founded the business 82 years earlier.
These days, along with his sister Ann and son Antonio (yes, ANOTHER Antonio!), Anthony De Roma Ice Cream Ltd, is the North’s premier artisan producer and wholesale supplier of Italian style gelato ice cream, delivering the best quality ice cream with unparalleled customer service.