BUSINESS’S – Fish & Chips in Redcar – A Merchants’ views
Accreditation Cleveland Standard June 1935
“Redcar Folk Can’t Eat Golden Nuggets”
FISH AND CHIP MERCHANTS’ VIEWS
As most towns, fish and chips are a popular dish in Redcar and the local enthusiasts will be alarmed to hear that fish fryers have threatened to stop frying potatoes and sell fish alone.
This threat has arisen out of the high price of potatoes, and local fryers are finding it barely worth their trouble to sell “chips,” the price being so high. This threatened separation of fried fish from fried chips has been blamed on to wholesalers and farmers. The Middlesbrough fryers say these people are responsible for the “unreasonably” high prices.
The Redcar fryers, however have a different view. They do not think the farmers are to be blamed and they believe the Potato Marketing Board to be the source of “trouble.”
Mr. T. W. Yates, a fryer, of Lord Street, Redcar, declares that the farmers cannot be blamed.
“Potatoes should never be more than £7 a ton,” he declares. “Farmers have told me that they are quite satisfied to receive £4 a ton; they think this quite reasonable. But the Board of Control has absolutely killed the competition. One time a market man could go out into the country and bargain with a farmer, and if the farmer’s price was not a reasonable one he could “banter.” Now the farmers know that they are covered by the Board and competition is dead. The Board is definitely at fault and they are responsible for the high price. If we refused to buy potatoes and sold fish only we should win, and I think this is a splendid suggestion.
“I am quite willing to do this if the other fryers in Redcar will stand by me. In the season, Redcar fryers use about 60 tons of potatoes a week. We are a 1d wise and £1 foolish here in Redcar; each of us is too busy trying to beat his neighbour that we have not time to stand up for our rights.
“The Board have taken the wrong view of our trade; they are not considering us. They claim that the working people of this country must be fed, but I would like them to understand that the people cannot be fed on golden nuggets. We must give them potatoes and give them the same amount for their money that we have always given them. We want them to buy potatoes not golden nuggets.”
The price of potatoes has gone up from £2.15s to £8 a ton in the space of a few short weeks. Some shops in Middlesbrough are already selling fish without the “chips.”
MATTER FOR UNITED ACTION
Mr. H. P. Sherwood, who has run a fish and chip business in Redcar for ten years, was also of the opinion that the Board was the source of all the trouble.
“We must stand together and retaliate,” he said. “I am willing to take drastic steps if all the others fall into line. We have no Association here of our own and this does place us at a great disadvantage. We should either form one here or join one of the Associations in neighbouring towns. Our only hope is to work hand in glove with one another. If we defy the merchants they must reduce.”
April 3, 2010 Shops & Street Index