There are around 10,000 fish and chip shops all over the UK, selling 276 million portions of fish and chips each year.
As far back as 1838 Charles Dickens wrote about fried fish warehouses in his classic novel ‘Oliver Twist’. These warehouses acted as the forerunner to fish and chip shops – but the partner to fish wasn’t the traditional chip as we see today, but either bread or baked potatoes. The fish was sold by street vendors who carried the goods in trays hung around their necks. The fish was purchased cold for about a penny a portion.
Fish and chips was the only take-away food not to be rationed during the Second World War. Frederick Lord Woolton, Minister of Food at the time, even allowed mobile frying vans to carry fish and chips to evacuees around the country.
The first fish and chip shop is thought to have been opened in Mossley, near Oldham, in 1863, although there are claims for one in London that opened in 1860.
The world’s biggest ever portion of fish and chips was cooked in Hull during Seafood Week, October 2002. The fillet, which measured 34 in long and 14 in wide, weighed 28 pounds and 1 ounce, beating the previous world record by two pounds.
On a Friday in the UK, 20% of meals purchased outside the home are from a fish and chip shop.