It’s a Fishy Story!!! Leeanne Westwood Senior Museum Assistant – Valence House
It has been nearly 10 years now since the local favourite, Pesci Bros fish & chip shop, Ripple Road, Barking finally stopped serving its ravenous public. The Pesci family, originally from Bardi in Italy, came to Barking from Wales in 1934 and opened a fish & chip shop at no.15 Broadway. Only a few years later the shop was compulsorily purchased by Barking Council so that the site could be used for the building of the new Town Hall (which, in the end, was delayed by World War Two). After a long search the family finally opened, in 1939, their new fish & chip shop at no. 26 Ripple Road, the former site of Harris’ sweet shop. The business flourished for nearly 60 years, becoming one of the most popular fish restaurants in the East End at its peak.
Since its closure in the late 1990s, the shop and its neighbouring properties have been earmarked for demolition as part of the Barking Town Centre regeneration project, and on the 28th March 2008 the building was finally pulled down.
Past customers will recall the many pieces of beautiful etched glass, showing underwater scenes, which formed the main window and decorated the interior of the shop. With the help of the Regeneration department, these panels of decorated glass, as well as the shop sign, have recently been acquired by Valence House Museum to form part of their permanent collection. Heritage staff are currently in discussions to find a way for these glass panels to be displayed within the new Museum development, due to reopen in 2010.
Although the Pesci family have now left Barking and their shop now longer graces Barking Town Centre, people who enjoyed a fish & chip supper there over the years can rest assured that a piece of this much loved establishment remains in the borough for the public to enjoy into the future.