You’ve probably heard about the woes of Patisserie Valerie, which went into administration yesterday. Seventy-one of the chain’s cafés and concessions across the UK were shut down today – and while any closure is bad news for staff and cake fans, one of them is a sadder loss than most. That’s the Old Compton Street original, which closed today after more than seven decades.
The first Patisserie Valerie was established on Frith Street in 1926 by a Belgian woman known to posterity only as ‘Madame Valerie’. After being bombed in WWII, the café moved around the corner to Old Compton Street in the 1940s, where it has been ever since. Its old-school European charm survived despite the rapid expansion of the PV chain from 2006.
Auditors KPMG say that it’s ‘all but business as usual’ at the 122 branches of Patisserie Valerie unaffected by the closures. But there can be no substitute for the original: another little bit of old Soho lost to the modern world.