Suggestion for a primary school assembly

I expect you like ice cream? (you may care to ask for a show of hands of those who do not) And perhaps sometimes you buy ice cream from a shop or from a van or cart.

Have you ever wondered when people first bought ice cream? Were your great-great-great grandparents able to?

The first time when people could buy ice cream in London was about 1850, over 150 years ago. It took a little longer for commercial ice-cream to reach other towns and cities.

In the past there was a really big difficulty about making ice-cream. You needed ice. That was all right in a really cold winter but it is in summer that people really want ice-cream. Nowadays anyone who has a refrigerator with a freezer compartment can make ice quite easily. But you could not do that in 1850.

But then a man named Carlo Gatti decided to import great quantities of ice from Norway. It came by ship across the sea and up the Thames to London. Some of it melted on the way but there was so much of it in the ship's hold that most of the ice survived the journey. And Gatti used it to make ice cream which he sold in his cafe.

Carlo Gatti had come to London from Switzerland. He was an immigrant. But like very many other immigrants, he gave something to his new country.

We should value all that immigrants have to offer us. And perhaps, when we buy an ice-cream, we should remember the immigrant Carlo Gatti.

Find out more about Carlo Gatti

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