The owners of an Ilkley fish and chip shop have unearthed evidence which reveals their business is 110-years-old this year – making it even older than the famous Harry Ramsden’s, which was established in 1928.
Hayley and Jonathan Hunt have been tracing the history of their shop – North Parade Fisheries at 1 North Parade, Ilkley – ever since they took it over 16 years ago.
After turning to the West Yorkshire Archive Service initially, they believed the business was established in 1933, however, a regular customer has produced evidence to the contrary.
Hayley said: “One of our regular customers, Vic Walker, brought in a copy of Robinsons Directory dated 1909, and the listing for 1 North Parade is J W Pollard, fried fish dealer. Which dated the fish and chip shop to 1909, much earlier than 1933 as first thought.”
Hayley and Jonathan then enlisted the help of local historian Alex Cockshott, to help them uncover more information.
“Alex made contact with a friend who has a directory from 1908, Kelly’s Directory, and the same details were written there: 1 North Parade, J W Pollard, fried fish dealer,” said Hayley.
“Another customer, Peter Cockerill, brought in a copy of 1904 Robinsons Directory, but the street had only been built as far as No 11.
“Our original thought was that J W Pollard bought the shop in 1904 and ran it as a grocers, until 1908 when he changed it into a fish and chip shop, but it is also detailed in the 1909 Robinsons Directory that J W Pollard had a grocers at the junction of Wellington Road and Little Lane. As North Parade runs off Little Lane it would not seem likely for the same person to have two grocer’s shops in such close proximity.
“We have therefore come to the conclusion that J W Pollard bought the shop in 1904, his occupation being a grocer, but opened the shop as a fish and chip shop. Thus making North Parade Fisheries 110-years-old this year.
“We had not thought that this was going to be the situation when we first started the investigation. This places the shop even older than Harry Ramsden’s, which was established in 1928.
“We would like to express our thanks to our customers for all the information that they have provided, and to Alex Cockshott for her invaluable information about the local area.”