Fields Fish shop Online
About Us and Our History
My Great Grandfather William Edward Alexander Field, was a mineworker in Cornsay Colliery Pit in 1915.
He and my Great Grandmother Annie “went into fish and chips” - as she rented the fish hut at St Georges Hall in Cornsay Colliery, behind Commercial Street, and my Great Grandfather was “hawking” fish around the local villages in his spare time—with a pony (called Dinah) and cart.
In 1916 my Great Grandfather went into the army to fight for his Country, and he was a stretcher bearer. My Great Grandmother was still working in the fish hut.
In 1918 my Great Grandfather came out of the army, but had “mustard gas poisoning”, so he always suffered with chest complaints afterwards..
In 1926 the great depression struck all the mines and business’., The pits were locked down and thousands of miners were unemployed.
My Great Grandfather was walking over (with my Great Grandmother), to Witton Park, he was looking for work in the pit here, when he met the “bookies runner”.
He had Ł2 in his pocket—this was all of the money he owned– and he gambled this money and made a bet, on a horse called Light Dragoon.
The horse won at odds of 100-1 and he won his fortune, and managed to buy the hut at St Georges Hall and the fish shop at 2 Commercial Street.
They worked in both these shops with my Grandfather Tom, his wife Doris, and various Family members.
In 1930 My Great Grandfather decided that he wanted to live in Esh Winning, there was a fish and chip shop, and land, in Durham Road, he wanted to purchase.
This was owned by the Clark Family.
He swapped both his shops in Cornsay for the fish shop and land in Durham Road, which is the fish shop I now own.
In 1931 the family ( Old Bill, Annie, Tom, Uncle Harry, Doris, William and Harry), finally moved into 4 Durham Road, Esh Winning.
As fish and chips were a very cheap substantial meal in the 1930’s the business prospered, and my Great Grandfather rented a warehouse and property at 3 Elvet Waterside in Durham City.
Here he increased his wholesale supply business. He bought more fish wagons and ordered the fish direct from Grimsby and Hull Fishing ports.
All the fish was transported up to Durham via the Railway..
The Range was built by Frank Ford of Halifax in 1931. It has 3 pans, and all have individual fires in which to put the coal and heat each pan.
The heater boxes are above the pans and were added in the mid 1930’s.
The range boasts a picture of Windsor Castle which is made up from a process called Vividek.
This is made up of hundreds of tiny glass beads, and crushed glass. Unfortunately the process was never used again after the war as Britain had an embargo with Germany so the company in London stopped importing the pictures.
Other pictures from the Vividek collection include the Sunburst, Beachy Head, and Rays of Color.
The shop walls are covered with glass tiles. The shop hasn't really changed much in 80 years except there is now no seating area or booths in the front of the shop.
From the 1930’s to the 1940’s the wholesale business and the fish shop flourished, business was very good. This lasted through the early 1950’s.
In 1956 my father Harry and my mother Hilda took over the running of the fish shop.
In the 1970’s I would go out fishing, from Newcastle, with my father in his trawler. We would bring back fish, shellfish, crabs etc to sell in the shop.
In 1979 I started to “learn the ropes” and work in the shop .
My parents “held the reins” until 1990 when they retired.
2013,I have now worked in the fish shop for 34 years, along with my wife Angela, who came to work in 1995. My 2 sons Danny and Aidan now run the shop on a daily basis, they are both 5th generation Fish Fryers!
2015, We are celebrating serving the community Fish and Chips for 100 years and a big thank you to all our loyal customers