Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Iconic Jimi Hendrix nite spot to close!

Horrors! One of the treasured - indeed fabled - eateries of my youth is to close.

The first (and, really, where it counts, the only) Harry Ramsden's fish and chip shop, in Guisely, Leeds, is set to close down. It's been open since 1928.  I only recall getting to visit it once or twice, and my memory of it is of a giant, neon-lit barn filled with red-faced Yorkshiremen, situated on top of a desolate moor where winds howled across cringing heather. It's possible my memory is faulty. The fish and chips were nice, though.

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Fish and chips are soul food to Yorkshire people (and many others, though regional variations like Deep Fried Mars Bars and chips, and Eel Pie and Mash with Green Liquor abound in those foreign lands). We had one in our town, of course, but Harry Ramsden's was a sort of Holy Grail of fish shops, unattainable (because kids don't have cars and Wuthering-Heights-Ville was off the beaten bus route), mirage-like and unique.

Anyway, Jimi Hendrix once ate there, after being shooed off stage by the Leeds constabulary during an allegedly over-the-fire-limit gig in Leeds, 12th March1967.  The BBC has an article on the Leeds Spring of Love:

The Troutbeck Hotel was the venue for Hendrix's historic gig, and it was dangerously over-full before the band even took to the stage. Reports suggest up to 900 fans squeezed in, a mere 700 people more than the place could accommodate! ...As the gig heated-up, Ilkley policeman Tom Chapman decided enough was enough and stopped the gig. One boy in blue versus nearly a thousand Blues fans was never going to end well - and Hendrix just kept on playing. What happens next is unclear - some say there was a 'riot', others say people just went on their way. For his part, Tom Chapman denies there was big trouble.

 The Jimi Hendrix Forum takes up the story:

"Later on that evening, a woman called Sheila Lilley was waiting to be served at Harry Ramsden’s famous fish shop. behind her in the line appeared none other than Jimi Hendrix dressed in psychadelic gear. He said to Sheila that he was sorry that the gig had to be cancelled after just one number. He signed her a photo. She still has it. Framed on the living room wall."

This is the most famous appearance of a legendary guitarist in a fish and chip shop, and that's probably it for Harry Ramsden's in general. But I feel I ought to include this picture of even more angelic legendary guitarist Paul Kossoff eating fish and chips with his dad, David Kossoff. It's from the Free Forever DVD. It's not Harry Ramsden's but it'll do.

Note that Dad David holds his knife properly while young Paul is a punk. Tch! Young people of today...well, young people of forty years ago... no manners.

1 comment:

Bruv said...

Hi Sis

The Harry Ramsden's you see in the photo isn't the original. That is the posh version. The original brick one, not the wooden one, only sold cod and haddock. It started to go downhill when they started to sell all sorts of exotic fish and other aquatic delicacies. It must be your memory that is fading as it has never been "up ont' moors". Guiseley has always been a built up area stuck on the side of Leeds and Bradford. Leeds Bradford airport is a couple of miles round the corner. Mary my first wife's parent used to go there regularly and to them it was like going out to eat at the Ivy or some other posh restaurant.

Although it doesn't seem to be listed on their website I am sure there is one in T5 at Heathrow.



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