Luigi Maria MARCHESI Erminio Guglielmo Luigi (Louis) MARCHESI Edward MARCHESI Terence Alphonse MARCHESI Erminio (Fred) MARCHESI Oswald MARCHESI Veronica MARCHESI Marguerite (Molly) Claire MARCHESI Mary Jane DANAHER Giuseppe Osvaldo MARCHESI Prospero Silvio Pietro MARCHESI Luigi Federico MARCHESI Vittore Alfonso MARCHESI Leopoldo Beniamino MARCHESI Maria Caterina DORIZZI Mini tree diagram

Erminio Giuseppe MARCHESI

15th Mar 1871 - 12th Feb 1936

Life History

15th Mar 1871

Born in Poschiavo

19th Mar 1871

Baptised in Chiesa San Vittore, Poschiavo.

4th Jul 1880

Confirmed in Chiesa San Vittore, Poschiavo.

28th Mar 1883

First communion in Chiesa San Vittore, Poschiavo.

14th Nov 1896

Married Mary Jane DANAHER in Fulham, London

19th Jan 1898

Birth of son Erminio Guglielmo Luigi (Louis) MARCHESI in Norwich, England

17th May 1900

Birth of son Terence Alphonse MARCHESI in 77 Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, England

29th Sep 1902

Birth of son Erminio (Fred) MARCHESI in Cromer, Norfolk, England.

4th Oct 1906

Birth of son Oswald MARCHESI in Norwich, England


Birth of daughter Veronica MARCHESI

13th Jan 1915

Birth of daughter Marguerite (Molly) Claire MARCHESI

12th Feb 1936

Died in Ospedale San Sisto, Poschiavo.

1899, Q2

Birth of son Edward MARCHESI in Norwich, England.


  • Erminio was baptized on 19 March 1871 by Don Carlo Mengotti. His godparents were his Uncle Antonio Marchesi and his Aunt Domenica Dorizzi. He was confirmed on 4 July 1880 and made his first communion in Chiesa San Vittore, Poschiavo, on 28 March 1883. The dates of these events are recorded on a framed certificate found in the attic of Devon House (see below), where it had lain for over 80 years. This was given to us by the present owner who was delighted to learn of its origin and to return it to our family. It is surprising to note that Erminio was confirmed before he made his first communion.

    Erminio came to England in 1886 accompanied by his friend Luigi Rocca from San Carlo, to work for Luigi Longhi, who came from Privilasco and who had established a cafè/restaurant at Margate, Kent. We are not sure where he went first, probably to Emilia Semadeni in Kensington, who, he later said, was like a second mother to him. He also worked for his uncle Federico Marchesi who had left Australia and come to England to establish a bakery and then a restaurant at Broadstairs, Kent.  Erminio often visited his uncle at Broadstairs and there he met Jane Danaher with whom he fell in love and married. Together, they opened their own restaurant in 1896, at 77 Prince of Wales Road, Norwich and also a bakery/ confectionery shop at 5, Davey Place, near the market. Later, he took over Langfords restaurant in London Street, established in 1872 by a Miss Langford, living with his family in a flat above the restaurant. Erminio specialised in the French tradition, but from a menu for Prince of Wales Road, we know that he learned English cooking also, in order to provide what his customers wanted.

    By 1901 he had established a Swiss Cafè/tea room at 19 Church Street, Cromer on the north Norfolk coast, which his wife Mary ran. In the 1901 England Census, she is recorded as living there with Louis aged 3, Terry aged 10 months and her sister Ada Kate (Aunty Kitty). A further one at High Street, Sheringham was also opened and these Swiss Cafes were recognised for their high class pastries and service at this time. His enterprises became very successful, eventually supplying catering services to Sandringham where the Royal family have a summer residence and at the Royal Norfolk Shows, as well as to many other customers. Erminio became a well known businessman in the City, joining the Rotary Club and the Norwich Master Bakers' Association. In due course he resided with his family at 6 Park Lane, Norwich.

    Like many other emigrants from Poschiavo, he retained a great love of his home town and always thought of Poschiavo as his first home. He frequently returned to Poschiavo for a holiday, where he stayed at Devon House, one of the Spanish houses or "Palazzi" as they are known.  These properties were built in the mid 19th century for families who had made successful careers abroad but returned to Poschiavo in later life. Devon House was owned by Domenico Semadeni in the early 20th century, after returning from Ilfracombe, Devon, where he had established a Swiss Cafè. The original owner was Giacomo Pozzi who had managed the Caffè Suizo in Bilbao, Portugal. Erminio always thougth of Poschiavo as his first homelater stayed at Casa Consetti, where his brother Dr Giuseppe Marchesi had moved to in 1932.

    He took great care  that his children should love the country and language of their father. Together with his brother Giuseppe, he did much to improve and develop the local hospital in Poschiavo, in 1925, making a donation of 10,000 Swiss Francs towards the new hospital at San Sisto. Today's equivalent would be a very substantial donation. He often gave small gifts like salt, very expensive in Valposchiavo, which he brought from England for the contadini. Erminio was affectionately remembered by his niece Elena Vassella as a hospitable man who loved company including serious talk too!

    Erminio retired from business in 1930 and spent more and more time in Poschiavo. Mary did not want to leave Norwich and so he went alone to Poschiavo in 1935. Many emigrants faced this problem, since couples became torn between two countires and two languages.  Sadly, our grandparents did not have time to resolve this difficulty for Erminio developed a chest infection in January 1936, which gave rise to pneumonia, and he died in Poschiavo in the following month. Mary rushed to Poschiavo but there was snow on the Bernina Pass and she arrived as he died. He was buried in Poschiavo in the same grave as his father but, sadly, like many other old ones, this has now been removed, due to lack of space. His death was noted in the Eastern Evening News and it was acknowledged that he introduced Swiss confectionery into the city. Erminio's obituary in Il Grigione, Poschiavo's local weekly newspaper, noted his generosity and the esteem in which he was held by the many people in Poschiavo who knew him. His love of and nostalgia for his native land was acknowledged and he would have been so pleased that his desire for all his children and grandchildren to share this affection and attachment, became a reality.

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