22 September 2016

Shopicide – memories of W. Burrows & Sons, a charming old fish shop in Acton

What is the word for destroying and 'modernising' something and replacing all that was historical, handmade and interesting with nothing of any style or class? I've decided on 'shopicide'.
In January 2009 I took these pics of the old fish & chip restaurant and fishmongers at the northern end of East Acton Lane near Savoy Circus (named after a cinema and a roundabout, both long gone).

As you can see, the shop frontage was lovely with a hand-painted sign by Brilliant Signs Ltd of W12 (Permenart) and the little panels in the windows had decorative glass panels and ventilation inserts. Along the bottom there were lovely hand-fired green tiles with five fish motifs at regular intervals. For some reason I only took photos of three of them:

The shop was clearly closed for business. Peering in through the window I could see the lovely old wooden seating was still intact. However, some kind of renovation was underway – there were paint pots on the counter which was covered in a cloth. I assumed they were merely doing a bit of decorating. 

I haven't visited the area since ten and so, last weekend when I was in the vicinity, I took a short detour to go and check out what has become of the place.
But, oh dear, what a disaster – everything shown above has gone. And I mean everything. I didn't get out of the car to take photos because it was just too much to take in. Instead, I googled it when I got home and these streetview screengrabs show that absolutely nothing is left of the old shop:

How is this allowed to happen? I have tried searching for other images of the old shop but the only pics I can find are my own – there must be some in an archive somewhere...?

Sad face.


  1. I live in East Acton for many years, growing up there. This fish and chip shop did great business on a Friday. It was family run by 2 generations the decor was amazing.

  2. Thanks for posting this. I spent much time growing up at my grandparents in Trinity Way during the 80s and 90s, visiting this place was a weekly affair. I think the owner kept pigeons out the back, the food was always great and the atmosphere inviting. I miss those days! I can still smell the fish frying now!

  3. It was the most amazing place and i can remember when it was fired by coal and they had a pigeon loft on the roof.

  4. I used to go for my supper once every week after work. Pearl and Bob owned it I think. It was wonderful. There was a neon sign saying, "Eat fish, save money".

  5. Thanks to Rob, Simon, Martin and Anonymous for sharing their memories. The loss must feel greater for you as I only ever became aware of it by the time it was closed and then, due to finding all those lovely original features, especially the fish tiles on the outside, I often made an effort to check up on the building if I was in the vicinity.
    Another fish and chip shop has recently suffered a loss of its tiles. I discovered last year that although the premises is still trading in fish and chips, some lovely colourful Art Nouveau have been obliterated or removed. Sigh. See here: http://www.janeslondon.com/2022/02/on-tiles-at-georges-fish-chips-shop-45.html

  6. Not sure why my last post wasn’t added but will reiterate. While growing up in East Acton I have fond memories of this establishment. Which I was privileged to visit once in a while with my parents. The surroundings were absolutely unique. Nothing I could relate to apart from pie and mash shops . Hope everyone who sampled the delicious delights as I did brings back memories.
    Mr k mccluskey


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