BRITAIN'S iconic and chip shop chain Harry Ramsden's, celebrates its 90th anniversary this week.

One of the country’s most recognised food names, Harry Ramsden’s is named after its founder, who began serving fish and chips in Guiseley, West Yorkshire in 1928.

But who was Harry Ramsden?

Young Harry Ramsden, who had worked as mill worker, barber’s shop assistant, telegram delivery boy wanted to be a publican and opened a pub after returning from the Great War but was persuaded to continue the family tradition and work in the fish and chip trade.

Harry opened his first outlet in 1928, a hut in Guiseley, Yorkshire which he bought for £150 and quickly established his fish, cooked in his own secret recipe batter (which is still used today) and rumbled and cut his chips on site, using the best British potatoes (we still do today) as the very best in town.

With his success growing, Harry opened his restaurant in Guiseley in 1931 and it was surely the grandest ever seen - a fish and chip restaurant complete with oak panelling and chandeliers– after all, the finest fish and chips should be eaten in the finest surroundings.

Harry’s popularity grew during World War 2, because fish and chips were amongst only a handful of items which weren’t rationed.

Harry knew a thing about getting his name out there and was arguably Britain’s original “guerrilla marketeer”! His must have been one of the first businesses to “sponsor” a runner in a roadrace when Harry persuaded a participant to wear a vest emblazoned with the message “A Sure Winner Ramsdens Fish and Chips! Another attention-grabbing moment at Harry Ramsden’s took place on 7 July 1952 in what became known as “Penny Ha’Penny Day”. At Harry’s instruction, for one day only the cost of fish and chips was reverted to pre-war prices and set a world record, selling 10,000 portions in a single day! That same year, and proving just how well-known Harry was, his nephew posted a letter, addressed simply to;

Harry Ramsden, the Uncrowned Fish and Chip Shop King, England….Harry DID receive that letter!

Such was its success that for many years, Harry Ramden’s was in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest fish and chip restaurant, seating 275 diners! (Harry Ramsden’s outlet in Bournemouth is now believed to be the world’s largest fish and chip restaurant, extending to over 15,000 sq ft with seating for 417 diners)

Harry was so dedicated to his business that from 1928 until 1938, he didn’t take a holiday!!

Today, there are 38 Harry Ramsden’s outlets across the UK and Harry’s fish and chips have millions of fans. His world famous dish has been enjoyed by some famous faces over the years including David “The Hoff” Hasselhoff, Matt le Blanc aka Joey from Friends (who has his first ever UK fish and chips at Harry’), DJ Chris Evans who’s been a fan since childhood, Jack Charlton and the Republic of Ireland Football team, and the Manchester United Class of ’92 team which included David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and co!

Each year, the number of freshly cut Chips served in Harry Ramsden outlets is greater than the populations of Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Iceland all put together. If they put in a row all the Fish they serve annually, the line would stretch up and down BIG BEN more than 650 times!

A nationwide survey carried out by Harry Ramsden’s in 2017 revealed that being joined by HRH Queen Elizabeth II and king of comedy Peter Kay, on a day out at the seaside and washing down the meal with a cuppa, was the perfect way to enjoy fish and chips.

Harry Ramsden remained active in his business until 1954 – and would surely be proud that his remains the name most widely associated with fish and chips globally – a man and his product truly worthy of their world-famous status