Arrighis was opened in 1908, in Whitehaven’s historic market place, by Giuseppe and Catherine Arrighi.
Giuseppe had arrived in Whitehaven from Northern Italy, in his early teens. It was quite common then, for children of his age to leave home and seek work in another country. Northern Italy wasn’t as prosperous as it is now, and there was plenty of work in the mines of Whitehaven. Catherine, came from County Down in Northern Ireland. The shop was opened while Giuseppe was still working at Wellington pit. Catherine looked after the day-to-day running of the shop.
In May 1910, Giuseppe was asked to be the best man at a friends wedding, and obliged willingly. His decision to honour his friends request, and not attend work for that shift was to be one that saved his life. It was on the very wedding night that the town, and indeed the country, suffered one of the worst mining disasters ever. 133 men, and boys lost their lives.
Giuseppe and his wife Catherine, went on to have six children, and all of them have worked in the shop at one time, or another. They also opened others stores around the town, and once had six on the go!
In 1935 Joe Arrighi (aged 10), son of Giuseppe and Catherine, began working in the family run business. He did so, until his retirement, aged 70. The only break during his employment, was when he fought for the country during the second world war, under the command of the Border Regiment. Joe sadly passed away in 2011, aged 86.
In 1980, Carla Arrighi, daughter of Joe & Catherine began working in the family run business, after leaving school. Carla did leave the business for a short while, finding employment during her younger years as a stewardess for British Airways, and opening her own fashion outlet in Whitehaven. Carla never forgot her roots, and returned to continue the family tradition of working in the restaurant, alongside her much loved parents.
In 2013 Carla Arrighi, carried out a refurbishment of the family run business, and created an award winning Seafood Restaurant, and Wine Bar, which can be found upstairs at number 67. The restaurant can cater for up to 12 people.