Following on from our recent history of chips blog post that highlighted Bruges’s Frietmuseum (or ‘chip museum’ to you and me), we thought we’d look a little closer to home for more food-based historical institutions.
It turns out that the UK is not short of culinary museums, and has actually gone one step further than the Belgians and added fish into the mix. In addition to the National Fish and Chip Museum, there are several historical chippies in open-air museums across the UK as well fish and chip restaurants with their own mini-museums.
Let’s take a closer look at these shrines to the hearty meal of fish and chips and explore the various ways in which they celebrate the UK’s favourite dish.
National Fish and Chip Museum, York
Let’s begin with the only museum in the UK dedicated solely to fish and chips – the aptly named National Fish and Chip Museum. Located next to the River Ouse in the heart of York, this museum offers visitors the chance to learn the long history and cultural significance of fish and chips in the UK. From little known facts about fish and chips to the world records that put the dish on the map, the National Fish and Chip Museum has it all.
What’s more, all of this gastronomic history comes at the very reasonable price of… nothing. That’s right, entry into the museum is completely free.
Learn and lunch
It’s not just your brains that will be fit to burst when visiting; your bellies will be full too. This museum boasts Yorkshire’s only coal powered fish and chips, which are fried on the world’s oldest Frank Ford frying range.
Fried in traditional beef dripping, the NFCM’s fish and chips offers up a taste of the past that is hard to come by in the rest of the country, especially down south. While this frying method and medium might not be the healthiest choice, it will certainly give visitors the rare chance to taste fish and chips as it was prepared all those years ago.
A tasty blast from the past
While entrance to the museum may be free, you’re going to have to pay up to taste their culinary delights. A generous portion of fish and chips will only set you back £5.99, which – we’re sure you’ll agree – is very reasonable, especially considering the free access to the museum.
If you had been there for the museum’s launch in June, you could’ve snapped up their traditional fish and chips for 4p. That’s right, it’s not a typo – four pence for a portion of fish and chips in 2019! Visitors on launch day were charged this paltry price to reflect the historical cost of fish and chip’s Victorian origins.
Open-air museums with notable fish and chips
Black Country Living Museum – covering 26 acres of Dudley, this interactive museum has perfectly encapsulated the industrial northern town of yesteryear. With regular festivals and workshops celebrating the Black Country of the 1930s and 1940s, the star of the show is Hobbs and Sons Fish and Chip Shop. Like the traditional fryer of the NFCM, this award-winning chippy uses beef dripping for a traditional taste. In fact, the building itself was a genuine chippy that was rebuilt, brick by brick, at the museum, which now forms the centrepiece of their new 1930’s high street.
Beamish Museum – from Dudley to Durham, Beamish is another one of the UK’s premier open-air museums. However, Beamish differs from the Black Country Living Museum in that its grounds cover time periods ranging back from the 1820s to the 1940s, including an Edwardian train station, a 1900s colliery and a Second World War time farm. Beamish Museum also features Davy’s Fried Fish Shop in its 1900s pit village. Another chippy that is complete with a traditional coal-fired range, Davy’s beef dripping fried goods often having visitors queuing out the door to taste their wares.
From chippies within museums to museums within chippies...
Papa’s Fish and Chips, Willbery
The north is really excelling itself when it comes to celebrating fish and chips (pull your socks up southerners!). Papa’s is a fish and chip restaurant in Hull that claims to be one of the largest chippies in the world. With an extensive menu that caters to all ages and tastes, their spacious establishment includes outside dining, a bar, a gift shop and a fantastic museum, which allows diners to learn more about the nation’s favourite dish.
An interesting side note – the Papas family are also the masterminds behind the National Fish and Chip Museum mentioned at the start of this post. In addition to the colossal chippy in Willerby and the museum in York, they have other fish and chip restaurants in Bridlington, Scarborough, and Cleethorpes. You’ll be hard pressed to find another family in the UK who loves fish and chips more than the Papa clan!
At Frymax, we love to see the great British dish of fish and chips celebrated in every way possible. We’re proud of our on-going contribution to this tasty tradition, having supplied fish and chips shops with the best frying oil in the industry for over 60 years. To find out more about what we do, get in touch with our team of become a Frymax member today for free!