Tomei & Sons Ltd

Tomei and Sons have been based in Penge since 1875. An Italian family, refugees from Italy during troublesome the unification period, set up business in Penge. Theirs is a remarkable success story.

Raffaele Tomei emigrated from Valdotavvo, twelve miles from Lucca, Italy, in about 1871. At first he and his uncle made religious statues then ornamental plaster work such as ceiling roses. The plaster work became extraodinarily popular and their work was very much in demand. The workshop near Penge East station was established in 1875. Raffaele (1861-1952) and Settima Tomei (1855-1932) lived at 2 Phoenix Road, just a few yards away from the family business.

The family’s ancestors used to attend St Anthony’s Church in Genoa Road. There is a brass plate in the church with their names inscribed on it. Two sons of the original migrants were in the British Army and casualties of the First World War. Direct descendants of the Tomei family still run the business 142 years later.

The company is world-famous for its ornamental plaster-work. It specializes in fibrous plasterwork and reinforced gypsum mouldings: corbels, ceiling roses and cornices. There are extensive workshops at the back of the building.

Their many famous clients have included film and stage companies, Aspreys, the Tower of London, University College, London, Lion Plaza in Oxford Street, Cavendish Hotel, Kensington Palace, the UK Supreme Court and Harrods. The Egyptian staircase in Harrods was designed and made by Tomei and Sons.

The TV drama The Buddha of Suburbia has a scene near Penge East Railway Station with the Tomei & Sons building clearly in the background.

For further information see: Tomei and Sons