There is nothing more British than fish and chips– eaten with salt and vinegar in an old newspaper.
No one knows where fish and chips originated. However we do know that the French invented chips and we know Sir Walter Raleigh brought the humble potato to England in the 17th Century. In 1839 Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist referred to a fried fish warehouse. It took until the 1850s for the fish and chip trade to grow in London and the Lancashire mill towns. So it is argued that chips were the staple diet of the industrial north and fried fish the diet of London’s East End. Over the course of the next 100 years fish and chips “ a marriage of taste”, became a vital source of nutrition for the work force during the industrial revolution.
The first recorded fish and chip shop was near Oldham, Lancashire around 1863. A Mr Lees sold his fish and chips from a wooden hut in the local market, whilst in London Joseph Malin opened a fish and chip shop within the sound of Bow Bells in 1860.
A Few Statistics:
- There are now an estimated 11,500 fish and chip shops across the UK. (That’s 10 for every 1 McDonalds!)
- £650 million market turnover.
- In 2001 the British consumed nearly 300 million servings of fish and chips. That’s 6 servings for every man, woman and child in the country.
- In 1930 the Territorial Army prepared for battle on fish and chips.
- The Daily Telegraph during the 1914-18 war reported that Britain’s sixpenny suppers helped us win.
- Cod most popular fish accounting for 62% of fish sold, Haddock is second at 25% of all fish sold.