The Penna family have been serving ice cream in Pearson Park for 50 years.

Family celebrate 50 years selling ice cream in Hull park

An Italian family are celebrating 50 years serving ice cream in Pearson Park this weekend.

The Penna family started selling ice cream in the park in 1969.

Frank Penna, 86, can still be found scooping up ice cream in the kiosk today.

Frank’s grandfather, Francesco, learnt the secret of making ice cream in Brooklyn, New York, at the end of the 19th Century. He returned to Italy before, like many Italians at the turn of the 20th Century, emigrating to the UK.

He settled with his family in Hull and set up his own ice cream business, selling the cold treat to vendors and hiring out Penna’s ice cream barrows on a daily basis.

The Italian family have ran an ice cream business in Hull for 130 years.

Frank said: “When my grandfather fist started selling ice cream business was booming, we had barrows, tricycles and horse-drawn carts selling ice cream all over the city. During the Second World War the ingredients for ice cream were rationed so we had to resort to other ways of making money – my grandfather bought a sawmill and sold kindling.

“Once the war finished we were able to sell ice cream again and our factory was busy day and night in order to keep up with demand.

“We moved into Pearson Park in 1969 and have been here ever since. It’s a beautiful park and a perfect place to enjoy one of our ice creams.”

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the family are hosting an event at Pearson Park this Saturday from 1.30pm until 4.30pm.

The original Penna ice cream factory.

An exhibition will tell the family’s story of 130 years making and selling ice cream, as well as their association with the park. There will also be a magician and craft activities.

The event is being supported by the Pearson Park Restoration Project. The project, that received £3m of Heritage Lottery Funding, is transforming lost Victorian features of the park. This includes the restoration of the iconic archway, the reinstatement of the bandstand and bridge over the lake, as well as improvements to the bowling green and ice cream kiosk.

Comrade and Scott Street Bridge by Syd Young.
Children outside the big top at the Big Malarkey Festival. Picture: Jerome Whittingham @PhotoMoments