Leo’s Ice Cream

Leo’s Ice Cream bar was at number 317 London Road, next to the King’s Head pub. It was part of a block, numbered 317 to 321. Eric Montague said in his Mitcham Histories: 4 Lower Mitcham, page 130, that the block was demolished in 1977-80 and replaced by a building called Boundary House. Currently, in 2022, this houses the Mitcham Job Centre.

Leo’s Cafe was run by Lionel (Leo) Dimashio. He also had a fleet of ice cream vans, see the 1959 news item below.

Image courtesy of Collage - The London Picture Library - http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

1973 Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Library – http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

1960 Leos Cafe

1960 Clip from Merton Memories photo 51737 Copyright London Borough of Merton

1953 OS map

A lion was used in the branding of their ice creams and lollies. These photos of wrappers were kindly provided by a descendent of the family. The lion on the lolly wrappers was designed and drawn by his mother, Gloria. This was always a source of great pride for her as he believed that she was only a teenager at the time.

Leo’s delicious multi-flavour Lollie
Minimum contents 1.9 fluid ounces
Sugar, fruit juice, citric acid, stabiliser, edible colouring & flavouring

Leo’s delicious ice cream
contains non-milk fat
317 London Rd.

Leo’s Choc-Ice
Guaranteed Heat Treated
Leo Dimashio, 317 London Road,
Mitcham, Surrey.
Min. contents 2 fluid ozs.

Leo’s was a member of the Ice Cream Alliance, as shown on his business card.

Leo’s Cream Ices
(Proprietor : L. Dimashio)
317 London Road,
Mitcham, Surrey.
MITcham 4841
87 London Road,
Morden, Surrey.
MITcham 4841
CROydon 4303
Member of Ice Cream Alliance
Winner of Diploma of Merit
Open Competition 1952
Wholesale & Retail

The Croydon phone number on this business card is listed in the 1954 telephone directory as

L.Dimashio, 38 Surrey Street, CROydon 4303

Leo Dimashio being presented his chain of office. Possibly 1955

L. Dimashio as president of the Ice Cream Alliance, with his chain of office. Possibly 1955

These photos of L. Dimashio were kindly provided by a family member, who estimates that they were taken in the mid 1950s, possibly 1955, as Mr Dimashio was president of the Ice Cream Alliance more than once.

The following family background is from a family tree on Ancestry.com by kind permission of Leo’s father-in-law’s granddaughter, who resides in Australia.

When Tommaso Perrotta arrived in the UK from Italy, he changed his name to Thomas Perrott. It was he who started the ice cream business. When his daughter Adelina married Lionello DiMascio in 1931, Thomas and Lionello went into business together and were life-long friends. Lionello changed his surname to Dimashio, and used Leo as his first name. Leo was born in Lanarkshire in 1905, and died in Italy in 1982, aged 76.

Leo Dimashio and his wife Adelina in March 1931

News Articles

From the Norwood News, 9th March 1962

Miss Adelia Lucia Dimashio, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. Dimashio, London Road, Mitcham, was married to Terence John O’Leary, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. H. O’Leary, Tavistock Crescent, Mitcham, at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Mitcham, on Thursday last week. Carrying a bouquet of white roses and lilies of the valley, the bride wore a full-length gown of silk and Nottingham lace. She wore a pearl coronet with a silk tulle veil. Matron of honour was Mrs. Sylvia Ferrari, the bride’s sister. She wore a chiffon dress and coat. Bridesmaids, Miss Sandra Dimashio and Christina Ferritto wore pink knee-length dresses with matching shoes and hats. They carried bouquets of spring flowers. Youngest members at the wedding were Miss Carla Dimashio (aged four) and Angela Carolla. They wore lavender organza dresses and carried posies of spring flowers. Mr. Michael O’Leary was the best man.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 30th January, 1959, page 1.

Chime gentlemen please – but do it quietly

THE battle of the ice cream chimes, which has been noisily raging for months in local estates, is likely to be a much quieter one — thanks partly to a Mitcham man.

The Ice Cream Alliance, to which about 95 per cent of Britain’s ice cream vendors belong, have issued a code of conduct which should lessen the complaints about musical vans — if it is obeyed.

Mr. L. Dimashio, London Road, Mitcham, owner of a milk bar and a fleet of ice cream vans, helped to formulate the code. He is a former president of the Ice Cream Alliance. Now a member of the executive council, he said: “Some time ago we foresaw the annoyance that would be caused if the chimes caught on. But we did not reckon on it happening so fast.”

Most complaints about the chimes have been from local housing estates — particularly
Glebe Estate and Pollards Hill.

Mr. M. Hedden, Glebe Court Tenants’ Association official said:
“ Although it is winter there has been no real improvement as far as the noise of the chimes is concerned.

“ But it is in the summer when we really notice it. Then about five different vendors practically race round the estate.


“I did not know the Alliance existed. In the event of further complaints I shall certainly consider writing to them.”

The company who have come in for most complaints at the Glebe Estate are Eldorado Ltd — NOT members of the Alliance. But a spokesman said: “ We are members of another organisation which is preparing its own code of conduct.”

The Alliance code of conduct says:

Chimes or similar mechanism should be kept at a minimum after 7 p.m. They must be sounded while the vehicle is on the move and at not more than five-minute intervals.

The volume should not be excessive. Tunes should be limited to a few bars.

Horns or bells should be sounded only at a few moments each time.

Particular stress is made on not annoying hospitals, night workers and nursing homes.

Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

2 thoughts on “Leo’s Ice Cream

  1. Chris Hebbron

    I went to Merton C of E Secondary School in Church Lane, Merton Park, between 1948 and 1952. The school facade is still there, fronting flats now. It was regular for a Leo’s ice cream van to park in Church Path, by the church’s entrance. It was well patronised by pupils leaving school in the afternoon. Leo’s made a round lolly with a fruit-flavoured water-ice bottom, ice cream in the middle and another fruit flavoured ice section at the top. They were delicious and I salivate now whenever I think of them!!

    Liked by 1 person


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