Leeds fish and chip shop in running to be named oldest in country

A Leeds fish and chip shop which has been owned by one family for 49 years and is at least 109-years-old is in the running to be named oldest chippy in the country.
Mark Savage (right) pictured with sons Oliver, 14, and Joseph, 21, at The Village Fish Shop in Shadwell.
Photo: Gary LongbottomMark Savage (right) pictured with sons Oliver, 14, and Joseph, 21, at The Village Fish Shop in Shadwell.
Photo: Gary Longbottom
Mark Savage (right) pictured with sons Oliver, 14, and Joseph, 21, at The Village Fish Shop in Shadwell. Photo: Gary Longbottom

Mark Savage, who owns The Village Fish Shop in Shadwell, said it has been serving up fried fish since at least 1911 when it was listed in that year's census as the home of 'fried fish dealer Henry Stead.'

Mark, 54, said he is still on the lookout for evidence to find out if fish and chips were served from the historic building before then

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Mark, who spoke about his fish shop's history as part of National Fish and Chip Day today (Sept 4), has entered the shop in a National Federation of Fish Fryers search to find the oldest fish and chip shop in the UK.

Geoffrey and Hazel Savage pictured on their wedding day in 1963.Geoffrey and Hazel Savage pictured on their wedding day in 1963.
Geoffrey and Hazel Savage pictured on their wedding day in 1963.

The federation's search was launched after a fish shop called 'The Oldest Fish and Chip Shop in the World' in Yeadon - which originally opened in 1865 - stopped trading.

Mark said: "At the moment I have traced it back to 1911. I put a call out to the locals in the village on Facebook and they have all been rallying round and dated it on a census in 1911.

"If I could prove it has been a working fish and chip shop for more than 100 years that would be great."

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"The shop has always been a hub of the village. A good fish and chip shop is part of the community.

Mark Savage (centre) with sons Joseph, 21 and Oliver, 14, outside The Village Fish Shop in Shadwell.
Photo: Gary LongbottomMark Savage (centre) with sons Joseph, 21 and Oliver, 14, outside The Village Fish Shop in Shadwell.
Photo: Gary Longbottom
Mark Savage (centre) with sons Joseph, 21 and Oliver, 14, outside The Village Fish Shop in Shadwell. Photo: Gary Longbottom

"Fish and chips have always been a great British tradition and, done correctly, I don't think there's a takeaway to beat them."

Father-of-two Mark said his sons Joseph, 21, and Oliver, 14, both help out at the shop.

Mark was brought up at the fish and chip shop and still owns it and lives on the property, which was built in 1637 and is the oldest building in Shadwell.

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The shop is run by manager Danny Jacklyn as Mark is busy with his full-time job.

Mark Savage (centre) with sons Joseph, 21, and Oliver, 14, outside The Village Fish Shop in Shadwell.
Photo: Gary LongbottomMark Savage (centre) with sons Joseph, 21, and Oliver, 14, outside The Village Fish Shop in Shadwell.
Photo: Gary Longbottom
Mark Savage (centre) with sons Joseph, 21, and Oliver, 14, outside The Village Fish Shop in Shadwell. Photo: Gary Longbottom

Mark, who said he has "batter running through his veins", is a senior manager at the Wetherby Whaler fish and chip restaurant chain, where he has worked since he was a 17-year-old fish fryer.

Mark's mother Hazel, 82, was working as a waitress at Youngmans fish and chip shop and restaurant on New Briggate in Leeds city centre in the early 1960s when she met his late father Geoffrey.

Geoffrey, who had served his apprenticeship as a cabinet maker, helped out part time fish frying at Youngmans and ended up working there full time for two years.

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In the mid 1960s the couple bought a fish and chip shop on Sutherland Mount in Harehills before selling that and buying the Shadwell shop from Gertrude Roberts in 1971.

Geoffrey Savage died aged 60 in 2001 after suffering from leukaemia.

Geoffrey and Hazel used to stage annual November firework parties for fish fryers in Leeds.

Mark decided to launch an annual village firework display in Shadwell 20 years ago and it is still going strong.

The firework parties, which he runs in conjunction and to raise money for Shadwell Primary School and Shadwell Cricket Club, are a popular attraction in the village.

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