ORIGIN

The Fish & Chip Trade and Palm

A brief history of the Fish and Chip Trade in the UK

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The story of the chip goes back to the 17th Century to either Belgium or France, depending who you believe. It is thought that the chip may have been invented as a substitute for fish, rather than an accompaniment. When the rivers froze over and nothing could be caught, resourceful households began cutting potatoes into fishy shapes and frying them as an alternative.

Around this time Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain were introducing the idea of fried fish to Britain. This fish was mainly sold by street sellers who had large trays hung round their necks containing the fish. In fact, Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist (printed in 1837) refers to an early fish shop or “fried fish warehouse” where the fish mainly was served with bread or baked potatoes.

The precise details of the first person to serve fish with chips is now lost in the mists of time so we will probably never truly know. However, it is widely agreed that this dish was first created in England but there is some disagreement as to where the exact location was – was it up north or down south?

There are those who believe it was a northern entrepreneur called John Lees. It is thought as early as 1863, that he was in fact selling portions of fish and chips from a wooden hut in Mossley market Lancashire. However, others believe the first fish ‘n’ chip shop was actually opened by a Jewish immigrant, Joseph Malin, within the sound of Bow Bells in East London around 1860.

During its humble beginnings, Fish and Chips quickly caught on at a time when working-class diets were simplistic, bland, and unvaried so fish and chips provided a tasty change. Portions were often wrapped in old newspaper to keep prices down. This was a practice that survived as late as the 1980s when it was in fact realised that it was unsafe for food to come into contact with newspaper ink without any grease-proof paper in between.

In the 21st Century Fish and Chip still remains the favourite British Traditional Takeaway.

A Fish restaurant, as opposed to take-away, was introduced by Samuel Isaacs (born 1856, London; died 1939 Brighton) who ran a thriving wholesale and retail fish business throughout London and the South of England in the last decade or so of the 19th century. Isaacs opened his first restaurant in 1896 serving fish and chips, bread and butter, and tea for nine pence, and its popularity ensured a rapid expansion of the concept across the UK to this day.

Fish and Chips are celebrated every year on NEODA National Fish and Chip Day which is always the first Friday in June.

There has never been a better time to be in the Fish and Chip trade and using Frymax.