Fish, chips and Britain's answer to McDonalds.

Harry Ramsden's, arguably Britain's biggest and best fish and chips restaurant, began in Bradford, West Yorkshire with a small site that not only offered the highest quality fried potatoes, but also the only place in the area to serve chips and offer diners a place to sit down and eat them, going against the traditional method of wrapping them up in yesterday's newspapers and sending people out into the world, forced to eat their meal on the move.

However, when his wife fell ill with TB, Harry was advised by her doctor to move out to the country, spelling the end for his highly successful business. Although concerned for his wife's health, Harry was also aware that the chances of being successful in selling fish and chips were considerably lower in the country than a big city like Bradford. When he confessed his business worries to the doctor he replied, "If anyone can, you can!".

And so, on 20th December, 1928, Harry borrowed £150 to restart his business and built a modest 10' x 6' wooden hut in Guiseley, Leeds. Being the terminus for Leeds and Bradford trams and serving as the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District, the business began trading at a steady pace, attracting passing ramblers, hikers and cyclists. Word got around about Harry's fish and chips and soon day trippers were making special journeys to sample his wares.

Spurred on by the public's positive response to his frying skills, Harry began to make ambitious plans to build the largest fish and chip emporium in the country. He borrowed £2000 each from his potato, fish and fat suppliers and began making his dreams a reality. By 1931, he opened his dream restaurant to the public, boasting floor to ceiling tiles in the take-away and linen-topped tables, peacock-fanned serviettes and a life-sized mural depicting people watching an ocean liner disappearing over the horizon in the restaurant.

His popularity continued to increase, even to the point where his nephew, Harry Corbett, played the piano to entertain the waiting customers on sunny days. Harry Corbett himself went on to find fame, collaborating with a certain glove-puppet by the name of Sooty.

Despite retiring in 1954, the single restaurant in Guiseley has continued to expand, spawning several other branches around the UK and even reaching as far as the Epcot center at DisneyWorld. Harry's was bought by Granada in 1999, bringing together two of the biggest names in catering as well as numerous kiosks in motorway service stations up and down the country, the introduction of drive-thru sites and even a range of home-cookable oven chips bearing his name.


Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.