No one knows precisely where or when fish and chips came together. Chips (pommes frites) had arrived in Britain from France in the eighteenth century. The first mention in 1854 was when a leading chef included ‘thin cut potatoes cooked in oil’ in his recipe book, Shilling Cookery. Around this time fish warehouses sold fried fish and bread, with mention of them in Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist published in 1830. 

There are claims to the first ‘chippie’ (fish and chip shop) from Lancashire in the North and London in the South of England. Whoever it may have been, the trade grew to feed a rapidly expanding population, reaching a staggering 35,000 shops in the 1930’s, levelling to around 11,000 now. The Federation of Fish Friers in the UK claim that in 1995 the British consumed 300 million servings of fish and chips equating to six servings for every man woman and child in the country. The record for the largest number of portions sold in one day by an independent fish and chip shop is over 4,000.

Fish and chips helped feed the masses during the First World War and were one of only a few foods not rationed in the Second.

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