Wok of ages! Mossley chippy stands test of time

A CONTENDER for the UK’s oldest fish and chip shop is open again with a fresh new look.

But there were times during refurbishment work when locals wondered if Man’s Wok had served its final meals.

Even Matthew Man admitted: “Originally, we were looking at six to eight weeks but it took nearly four months.

“Everything that could go wrong went wrong but we got there in the end.

“We have learned our lesson and will keep on top of everything in future,” says Matthew, co owner of the popular top Mossley takeaway with brother, Wesley.

The family has served traditional English and Chinese dishes on Stamford Street for more than four decades, firstly through the brothers’ granddad and then mum, Jenny.

But while such longevity could easily win many a long service award, they have still only played a brief part in the shop’s history and a potential place in the UK’s ‘fast food’ history books.

While Matthew plays down Man’s Wok fascinating back story, it is regularly brought up when the origins of fish and chips are mentioned.

It is believed John Lees sold some of the nation’s first chips from a wooden hut on the site opposite Mossley Market Ground in 1863. Some champion John’s pla(i)ce as the original chippy.

In 2005, the Saturday Express magazine declared it Britain’s oldest. A blue plaque in Oldham’s Tommyfield market disputes the claim.

And the Federation of Fish Friers suggest Jewish immigrant Joseph Malin opened a chippy on Old Ford Road, East London in 1860.

And they acclaim the longest running fish and chip shop still in operation is based in Yeadon near Leeds and believed to have been serving from the premises continually since 1865.

Not that Mossley raised Matthew is overly fussed. “I have not really done any research,” he told the Correspondent.

“I am not a glory seeker. There was talk a few years ago of the Council putting up a blue plaque but nothing ever came of it.

“I just keep my head down and make sure our customers have the food they want.”


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