French’s Fish Shop has been over 90 years in business. Marcus French, the third generation of the family, says it is fantastic that today with lots of national shops finding it hard in this time of economic hardship, that small family businesses are still going strong.
My Grand father came to Wells during the First World War and said that if he ever got through the war he would come back to live here. Even though he was gassed he survived the Great War and came back to Wells. The present shop, his 2nd shop, was purchased a few years later in 1925.
Fish and chips is the great British invention and is over 150 years old but still going strong, with over 8,000 shops nationally. Even in the Second World War fish and chips was not rationed and Winston Churchill described them as ‘ The good companions’. Fish is now delivered by road rather than the railway, which was stopped in 1965.
Coal fired ranges are a thing of the past now with High efficiency ranges which offer better control and consistent cooking. French’s was a holder of the Seafish Quality Award and also the first in Norfolk to be the new National Federation Of Fish Friers Quality Award holder, also ‘Best Fish and Chip Shop' voted by the North Norfolk Guide 2012 and 2013. Alanna French and Arianne French, both forth generation family member, works at the fish and chip shop, so the family tradition may carry on.
Fish and chips is a big part of the town and in the summer people can be seen sitting on the quay wall eating fish and chips, like generations have done before. ‘Keep things simple’ Marcus says, ‘Good quality fish, fresh local potatoes, home made batter, good quality frying medium, and years of experience.’ ‘You are only as good as your last lot of fish and chips so you must keep moving with the times, but fish and chips will carry on being Britain’s favourite meal.’