Memories of a chip shop

My first job by Christine Scott

When I was about 13 I belonged to St John Ambulance cadets we met on Friday nights. After the session we would spend our bus fare on a bag of chips from College St. chip shop. The owners Mr and Mrs Marlow knew us well. One Friday night she asked me if I would help her out the next day, I will pay you she said so when I got home I asked if I could go and Mum said that I could. I arrived at 11am and a queue was beginning to form down the street towards Gold St.

My duties were to keep the tables clear of dishes and plates etc. Because I was new to it all they gave me a white enamel bucket to collect the crockery and cutlery. I later progressed to a tray. I never did any washing up but did help with the drying. I wore a long white cotton apron which almost came down to the floor. People were very friendly some had come in from the country others were stall holders from the market along with the many Saturday shoppers. When the school holidays came I sometimes worked Wednesdays also a market day.

The shop itself was once a two up two down house it also had a large cellar, it was dark and damp, the mushy peas would be left overnight to soak in a large black cauldron type pot. Prepared fish lay on huge trays and the fat for frying was in a large block .1 did not do any cooking I sometimes stirred the mushy peas. The whole place was full of steam and the delicious smell of fish and chips One of the perks of the job was I could choose whatever I wanted for lunch so when it was less busy I took my fish chips mushy peas and bottle of pop up stairs to eat alongside the customers. Once eaten no time to loose back to collecting the dirties. In the beginning I finished at 3pm but after a few months I started at 10am and finished at 4pm. Extra duties then involved filling the salt and vinegar bottles and wiping down ready for the next day. I had a very happy time there lots of laughs and leg pulling I stayed for about two years until I left school and had a full time job but that's another story.