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"There wasn't a soul in Princes Gardens who didn't know 'Fishy'".


This account is from an essay written in the 1930s by a teenager living in Princes Gardens.

He was, however, a man of few words, and consequently, the art of expression not being one of his attributes, the choicest salmon and the undignified common or garden bloater, to him came under one category - "Lovely grub" - indeed, this was almost a password with him, and he was never known to carve a cutlet or bone a fillet without shaking his head ponderously and uttering these two words with a sort of reverence.

He was an enormously fat man with a full, red face like a moon. In winter he sported a sou' wester; in the summer he was resplendent in a boater. But his enormous girth was always swathed in a clean white coat, so that if one caught sight of him, perched on his motor, a little way down the road, one got the impression of an enormous snowball, rolling down a hill, so large and round was he."

Next: The war years 1939 to 1945

Old Billingsgate 1937.jpg

"... He was a local institution, as it were, and every morning, wet or fine, summer or winter, one would hear the familiar "chug-chug" of his little motor contraption as he sailed majestically round the roads, distributing his wares with the air of a benefactor, bringing manna to a starving world.

As his name implied, he sold fish - but what fish! Fat oily herrings, sleek brown kippers, dappled plaice and cod, as flaky and white as one could dream of. He was truly an artist of his trade. There was poetry in every cutlet, there was grace in every fillet, and even his shrimps were a joy to behold! It was all as fresh and clean and glistening as if it had just been hauled from the heaving ocean itself, and he could have boasted with justification that so far as his fish were concerned there was none better.

1937: Sadly, we couldn't find a photo of Fishy, the Estate's fishmonger, but he almost certainly got his stock from Old Billingsgate fish market in the City of London. This image shows the last minute rush to supply Londoners with fish for Good Friday (AP photo) 

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