You always loved their chips because they were cooked in proper dripping.
I was lucky enough to live just outside Smiths Docks in Appleby Street and just round the corner was the best fish shop ever.
The shop itself was on the corner of Thrift Street back lane and Lawson Street and called Cotties (Cottingham was the owner’s name). You always loved their chips because they were cooked in proper dripping. Now I might be wrong but proper dripping cooked chips always tasted great out of newspapers with batter, salt and vinegar on them.
Another reason you know their food was great was by the fact that about 11 o’clock in the morning 2 or 3 apprentices out of Smiths Dock yard would drop off a list to be made up for 12. When the lads returned, it was common for them to leave with a hessian sack, full of made-up orders.
They never got mixed up, for as the lasses were putting each one up they would be marked something like so:
MPC = Mince Pie & Chips
SPC = Steak Pie & Chips
FCC = Fish Cake & Chips
BCO = Batter & Chips only
Now you would pay just
4 pennies for a small bag – about 11½p
6 pennies for a large bag – about 21½p
1 shilling for a family bag – about 5p
Sometimes me and the lads would be collared by Mr C to go down on the Fish Quay to Joe Appleby’s and bring back up a fresh box of fish to the shop. Our payment, a family portion of chips between us, champion. You would not call the king your uncle at those times.
Sadly the shop itself has long ago gone and I believe Mr Cottingham who we thought was about 100 then has just died aged 97 or 98.