Where Was London's First Fish And Chip Shop?

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 21 months ago
Where Was London's First Fish And Chip Shop?
Photo: Julielondongirl

Fish and chips. Quite the combination aren't they? But did you know that the heavenly pairing was first invented in London... probably.

Dickens boasts the first known mention of chips in the UK ("frites" were already common on the continent); in 1859's A Tale Of Two Cities he refers to "Husky chips of potatoes, fried with some reluctant drops of oil". Fish was already a staple of East End diets with a plethora of fish warehouses lining London's docks, so it was only a matter of time before the two were combined.

Step up Joseph Malin, a Jewish immigrant who opened London's fish and chip shop in Bow — 78 Cleveland Way to be precise. It is said that Malin's shop opened in 1860, although other sources say 1865, and nobody knows for sure. Either way, the joint concept had made its way to London's streets, and Londoners' stomachs, by the mid 1860s.

However, Lee's of Mossley, a fish and chip shop near Manchester, also claims to be the first to pair the two ingredients, with nobody able to find a definitive answer as to which shop served the dish first. Lee's opened in 1863. What we can say for certainty though, is that Joseph Malin was the first to serve fried fish and chips to Londoners.

Mushy peas though? That's all the doing of the north of England.

Last Updated 10 February 2016

Cat

Actually, mushy peas evolved from the traditional London peas pottage - i.e. a thick pea soup, which is where the famous London fogs got their "pea souper" nickname. Very much a London thing, and one which far predates fish & chips!

Barbara Miller

It would be easy to argue that Dickens was a bit of a fast food fan. I believe "Oliver Twist" includes the first mention of eating sausages.