Fishy Facts

The fish and chips story


  • Charles Dickens refers to fried fish warehouses in his 1838 novel Oliver Twist. The cold fish was sold by street vendors, precursors of the modern fish and chip takeaway.
  • It is thought the first ‘proper’ fish and chip shop appeared in Mossley near Oldham in 1863, though many credit a London vendor three years earlier.
  • In the early 20th century, fish, chips and mushy peas provided an affordable way of adding protein and vitamins to their basic diet.
  • Fish and chips was the only take-away food not rationed in the Second World War. Lord Woolton, Minister of Food, even allowed mobile frying vans to carry fish and chips to evacuees around the UK.

Fish and chips today

  • There are now around 8,500 fish and chip shops across the UK – that’s twelve for every McDonalds’s outlet. (Source: National Institute of Fish Fryers).
  • On a Friday in the UK, 20% of meals purchased outside the home are from a fish and chip shop. (Source:
  • Last year over 250 million fish and chip shop meals (featuring fish) were sold throughout the UK, making them the nation’s favourite hot take-away outlet. (Source: