|The Rushden Echo, 16th December 1966, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Fish and Chip Lovers' Plight in Rushden
Fish and chips are part of our national heritage. They may be sedately eaten with knife and fork, or picked sizzling from the newspaper which mystically gives them that extra special flavour. But do not let your mouth water, for if you are in Rushden, it might not be so easy to get your "fish and six," as you would think.
The "Echo" decided to investigate the local fish and chip shop service after hearing two newcomers to the town describe the opening hours as ridiculous.
One, a young man of twenty lives in a self-contained flat and has to prepare all his meals, said he never seemed to be able to find a chip shop open when he wanted a meal - lunchtime or late evening.
"In practically every other town I know you can always get a fish and chip lunch or supper somewhere," he said. "But not in Rushden."
"It seems to me if you do not work within the boot and shoe industry you are just not catered for in Rushden."
Asked to explain that, he said the boot and shoe workers had their lunch between 12 and 1 o’clock and assumed that was why all chip shops closed at one pm.
His companion who has been in the town about three months, said he had given up trying to find a chip shop open late in the evening.
“I have tried to get fish and chips after leaving the cinema in the middle of the week and it is a hopeless job. They seem to close in Rushden when fish and chip shops in other towns are beginning to open," he said.
"You can get a better fish and chip service in Hong Kong. I have bought them there in the early hours of the morning."
A Rushden housewife who goes out to work said she hardly ever bothers with fish and chips because her lunch hour is between 1 and 2.
"If I could get them it would be a very quick and convenient meal occasionally," she said.
On the fish fryer’s side, he is obviously in business to make money and he obviously feels that extending the lunch hour trade for even an hour on Friday and Saturday - the two busiest days - is not justified.
A check of opening times showed that only two shops open in Monday evenings, the latest keeping open until 9 pm. On Tuesday only one shop opens in the lunch hour, closing at one, but it is possible to buy chips in the evening.
On Wednesday lunchtime two shops open "again both closing at one" and in a couple of cases shops do remain open fairly late in the evening.
Thursday is a bad day. There are no shops open for lunch and only one remains open until 10 pm.
On Friday they all open for lunch and in the evening one shop opens until 11.30. Saturday is similar except that the latest shop closes at 11 pm.
It seems if you have transport one can whiz from one shop to another and invariably get chips if you do not leave it too late. If you have no transport the chances are you can end up with sore feet and still no chips.