Middleton's Quality Fish and Chips


A fried fish shop from Middleton St George, near Darlington, has been replicated at Beamish to serve up this popular 1950s food.

The shop forms part of The 1950s Town’s Front Street Terrace and tells the important post-war story of a trade hugely popular amongst the working class.

Generally considered the nation’s favourite takeaway, fish and chips has proved unendingly popular over the years, and was even one of the few foods not rationed during the Second World War. The dish was at its height in popularity between the First World War and the 1960s.

Doreen Middleton, who owned the property that we have replicated from 1952, lived on the premises and used part of the ground floor for the preparation of the fish and potatoes which were initially all manually prepared, this was very labour intensive. The original chip range was donated to Beamish and was used to inspire the design of the replica the museum is using.

Doreen passed away in 2008, aged 86, and Beamish worked with her daughter Rozanne Hall on recreating Middleton’s at the museum. We also worked with the community of Middleton St George to create a 1950s-style newspaper on specially-printed paper that is being used to wrap the fish and chips.

As well as the fish and chip shop, Front Street includes a hairdresser’s in a replica of an end-terrace shop from Bow Street in Middlesbrough and John’s Café, a popular ice cream parlour.

No. 2 Front Street is a recreation of the former home of celebrated North East artist Norman Cornish, who lived there from 1953 to 1967. The exhibit also tells the story of the Spennymoor Settlement, which was part of a wider national movement and nurtured the talents of artists, writers and poets including Norman, Tom McGuinness, Bob Heslop and Bert Dees, and playwright Sid Chaplin among others.

This is the second fried fish shop to open at the museum, with Davy’s Fried Fish Shop in The 1900s Pit Village proving hugely popular with visitors. Opened in July 2011, Davy’s gives visitors a real taste of traditional fish and chips, cooked in coal-fired ranges using beef dripping.