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Mother Kelly’s

The Power of Design in Brand and Identity.

Apr 5, 2015 · 3 min read

Hidden amongst the railway arches under the Bethnal Green tracks is Mother Kelly’s, a bottle shop and tap room. This concept takes its inspiration from similar bars of NYC. Owners Nigel Owen (and Julie!) saw the opportunity for London to embrace this unique experience.

Time Out says: ‘The beers here aren’t just for sitting down and sipping in situ: you can also take them away to savour on your sofa too. And the selection of bottles is staggering — and it’s all judiciously chosen.’

When Cinter met Nigel back in 2013, he had just returned from one of his trips to the USA. We were pitched the idea of an American-style bottle shop and tap room underneath a Network Rail arch in Paradise Row, Bethnal Green.

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Growler bottles ready for filling at Mother Kelly’s in Homerton, London.

Good design requires extensive research. The challenge for us was to provide heritage and belonging to a brand—without becoming too nostalgic for the nearby residents of Victoria Park and the new ‘edgy’ inhabitants moving into Bethnal Green.

Looking into the history of the area, we found a song composed in 1925 called Mother Kelly’s Doorstep by George Alex Stephens (close friend of Charlie Chaplin). Stephens was best known for music featured in the Cockney music halls of East London. The song is about a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania called Nellie Moss, who lived on Paradise Row at the turn of last century. Nellie Moss established a money lending business to help other immigrants, helping to create the rich and varied links of today.

On Mother Kelly’s doorstep,
Down Paradise Row.
I sit alonga Nellie,
She sits alonga Joe.
She’s got a little hole in her frock,
Hole in her shoe,
Hole in her sock
Where her toe peeps through,
But Nellie was the smartest down our alley.
On Mother Kelly’s doorstep,
I’m wondering now
If little girl Nellie
Remembers Joe,
Her beau,
And does she love him like she used to
On Mother Kelly’s doorstep,
Down Paradise Row?

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We gave the bottle shop and tap room a true identity that is embraced by old and new.

Some things just can’t be predicted. The power of design lives on and evolves long after the designer has stepped away. Each night, before closing, regulars sing the old tune ‘On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep’. When the design delivers more than intended you know you have got something right!

With the name decided, the branding remained subtle; showing small indications of its New-York-inspired roots.

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Final logo variations

We highly recommend you drop in and sample the unique experience yourself at 251 Paradise Row, E2 9LE | @mother_kellys

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Mother Kelly’s, Paradise Row, Bethnal Green, London.

Captured by this story? Stay tuned. There is more to come.

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