A Fish and Chips Shop in Your Front Room
you think of such an enterprise nowadays? In, and well before, the
1920’s / 1930’s quite a few Barton people had done just that! They
had seen a place in the quick, easy to handle food market and they
did put a fish and chip frying range in their front room, the room
that was accessed through the front door from the street outside. It
made a change from leaving it as cold as cold until it was next required
for a wedding or funeral did it not?
I had been looking up some Barton facts in Kelly’s 1930 Directory. Kelly told me that the population of Barton in 1930 was about 6,500 and among the other statistics was the listing of 9 Fish Fryers. I thought that to my own knowledge there was more than that and so this article was born.
whilst I was still wondering whether to bother to write a few words
or not I read, in the magazine ‘Yours’ ( Jan.2005), that the title
of Fish and Chip shop of the Year was up for grabs. The article said
that nowadays Cod and Chips generally cost about £5.00 but at
the prestigious Rick Stein establishment in Cornwall Cod and Chips
was a modest £17.50. Asked what made it special he said only
fresh cod and thick cut chips were used and added, ‘ the secret is
in our Grade A Dripping’.
no accounting for taste is there? Sorry about that. Back to Barton.
Some of your readers will remember some of the fish and chip shops
that were indeed , front room shops in a terrace type house .
Let us get to the actual shops. Who remembers Walter Guy in his small establishment at the end of Barracloughs Lane on Waterside road? I suppose he drew trade from the houses at the Point, the brickyards, Ings Road. The Sloop Inn and Waterside Tavern would provide some trade as would the casual callers taking their evening stroll down to the Point. The next nearest was Bob Johnson’s shop in the front room of his small house, opposite the Railway Station and just to the right of the end of Castledyke West. As I recall one had to negotiate a step down into this quite small shop. Next, in Fleetgate, but on the other side of that same junction the somewhat larger shop of H.Grassby, there is a space and a telephone kiosk there now. He also kept some milking cows in a byre just about where the road bends. Tom Grassby was still there in business in the early 1950’s. A little further along Fleetgate , about opposite the Steam Packet , now ‘Charlies’, was Martin’s. This was another ‘front room’ shop, it had been Chas. Harness’s. From Fleetgate, turning into Newport there was another front room establishment, Hedley’s, This was in the long row of terrace houses on the south Side. The service there was not rapid and it provoked many unkind remarks. When the house was finally sold I am told that the old range was still in situ. Leaving Newport and going into High Street the next shop, not a front room one, was Mr. and Mrs. Alan MacIntyres, the ‘Surma’ Restaurant stands there now.
Next, in Burgate and just beyond Marsh Lane end was the shop I knew as ‘the Cadora Cafe’, this was next to the former GPO, now a Computer Training Centre
In the 1930 Kelly’s a Mr. Ernest Wright is listed here. No. 54 Burgate I believe. The Cadora Cafe. When it first opened it was said, shock! horror! that the frying medium was cooking oil. This was a radical departure from established practice in Barton. It was still fish and chips though and it was bought.
Going towards the Market Place, the next shop was Turners, this was where the present George Street Shop is situated. In the Market Place a Mr. Matthew’s had his shop in the block now occupied by Mr. Ready. There were others. As mentioned above Mrs. West had her shop in Queens Avenue, Mrs.Brown presided over her shop accessed from Butts Road. This shop was part of the outbuildings of Mr. & Mrs. Brown’s house which stands on the corner of Marsh Lane and Butts Road. An example of the minor requests made generally for pennorth’s of chips is that quite a few of us children used to play around the long seat which stood in front of the heavy fence which stood across the Drain and I was elected to take our pennies and ask for eleven one pennyworth’s of chips. No problem, eleven pence was elevenpence in those days. There was another establishment in Pasture Road or Sheepdyke as it was known to many. This was not a bricks and mortar building, it was almost opposite the Anchor Brewery. I seem to remember a corrugated iron roof at least. The ladies who presided were also called Brown but were not related to the others.
of these establishments had any seating arrangements, not even a form
along the back wall, a form such as one sat on in one of the Hull Market
Place fish and chip stalls.( Does anyone else remember the hungry eyed,
barefooted children who waited in that market for any generously minded
customer to give them something to eat? The late 1920’s and early 30’s
were ‘lean’ times, even in Barton.) I was told that the Cadora started
to serve meals in the back room but I don’t know this myself. A fish
and some chips, ‘one of each’ was threepence. Some scraps could had
on request. At times a small whole haddock, a ‘chat’ or chad haddock,
was available for a penny or twopence more. Wow1 One or two of the
shops, mindful of the times, would serve a twopenny ‘one of each’,
a small piece of fish with some chips. Of course there was no shortage
of potatoes in this mainly agricultural county and the fishing ports
of Grimsby and Hull could provide all that the Humberside outlets desired.
Fish came into Barton by way of the LNER, in the Guard’s Vans of passenger
trains, packed in ice in strongly made wooden boxes. As one may imagine
the Vans all had a distinctive fishy odour. Not at all pleasant if
a pram or something similar had to be accommodated and accompanied.
There was one retail fishmonger, Mr. Bennet in George Street, this
was near the side entrance to the Bank, about where Weaver and Wroot
have an office.
Article kindly supplied by Charles Watkinson