Children’s House: famous for its perfumes and polar cake
/PHOTO GALLERY/ The corner building at the intersection of Na Příkopě and Havířská streets boasts the name Children’s House. It was created as the headquarters of an insurance company, and over the years it has housed a cafe, a theater, a recording studio and even a perfumery.
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Children’s home in Prague.
| Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Three baroque and classicist houses used to stand on the site of today’s house. In one of them there was a store of ties and luxury men’s goods, in the other the Central cafe, a favorite place of Prague’s Jewish community. In 1927, the owner of the land, the insurance company Praha and the Pension Institute of the Czech Republic finance, he decided to demolish the houses and build his new headquarters there. He approached the architect Ludvík Kysela, under whose baton a modern palace was created in the constructivist style. Its dominant feature was the large American sliding windows.
The delivery of the Prague world
In addition to an insurance company branch and an office, several shops and a luxurious café, called Velkokavárna Praha, were established here. As the name suggests, it was really big, at one time two hundred guests could fit in it.
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Josef Kemmel’s perfumery became famous among the shops. The owner spared no expense and had custom-made furniture made by the architect František A. Libra. He is the author of a number of houses in Holešovice and Arnošt Grossmann’s villa in Barrandov. “Jos perfumery furnished in the most modern spirit. Kammela in the insurance palace has become a fixture of the most elegant Prague world,” the periodical Český svět praised the store in 1929. At the time, the company had been operating for well over half a century and supplied ladies from better society with expensive perfumes and cosmetics from France, England and Germany.
Memories of cookies, cocktails and polar ice cream
After the Second World War, the palace was rebuilt and in 1950 was inaugurated as a Children’s Home. Many members of the older generation still remember the cocktails, warm cookies and especially the polar cake that were available here. In addition, a children’s theater operated here, which became a branch of the Central Puppet Theater in the early 1960s. From then on it was known as Sunshine. Concerts are also held in the oversized space. We must not forget the recording studio, where everyone could record their own record.
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The name Children’s House remained with the building, even though it was empty at the turn of the millennium. Currently, the ground floor is home to a ready-to-wear shop, and the upper floors are offices.