IF there is one name which will always conjure up nostalgic memories of Southampton in past decades it is “Cadena”.

Just mentioning the name of the cafe will spark countless recollections in those who remember the city when Above Bar was still busy with passing traffic.

Cadena Cafes stood between 33 and 35 Above Bar, on the same side of the road as the old Daily Echo offices which have now been replaced by the entrance to WestQuay shopping centre.

It was the home of the poached egg, where either sardines or grilled tomatoes on toast were always on offer between 3pm and 6pm or where, with your pay-packet in your back pocket, there was the slap-up excess of the “Cheltenham Tea”.

Built partly on the site of premises originally opened by the company in 1922, the building was lost as a result of enemy bombing during the Second World War.

For three years after 1951 the cafe set up business selling cakes from a makeshift mobile shop using a caravan.

In 1954 the new premises was opened, complete with wood features made from timber from London’s old Waterloo Bridge and murals depicting the Cunard liner, Queen Elizabeth sailing from Southampton’s former Ocean Terminal to New York, as well as a Hawaiian scene.

“On the ground floor there is a self-service cafeteria and a cake shop which also sells midday snacks for office and shop workers to take out,” said the Daily Echo on the day the Cadena opened.

Daily Echo:

Making the Christmas pudding at Cadena Cafe in Above Bar

“The restaurant is on the first floor, and runs the full width of the frontage. Most of the 160 diners can look down on the traffic in Above Bar.”

Mr J. G. White, a director of Cadena Cafes, at the time said: “We shall meet the needs of the average customer and luncheons will cost from about four shillings (20p) upwards.

“In the cafeteria people can spend from sixpence (2p) for a sandwich up to five shillings (25p) for a cooked meal.”

The “Cheltenham Tea” which cost one shilling and nine pence (8p) consisted of a pot of tea, a “petit Cadena Grill”, a roll and butter, together with a slice of plain cake.

Those looking to spend a little less could order fish and chips, bread and butter, and tea for one shilling (5p), but then the take home pay for someone working a 47-hour week was then just £3 12s 6d (£3.62).

The Cadena, which by the time of its closure had become part of the Tesco empire, brewed its last pot of tea and finally closed in the autumn of 1971.