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Former Hellesdon chip shop owner's son proves he's a chip off the old block by opening a shop in Ber Street, Norwich

PUBLISHED: 13:58 27 February 2012

Keeping it in the family Nigel Barrett with his son Jordan who is learning the ropes as a fryer at their chip shop on Ber Street. Nigel is the son of well known retired  Hellesdon chip shop man Noel Barrett. Photo: Steve Adams

Keeping it in the family Nigel Barrett with his son Jordan who is learning the ropes as a fryer at their chip shop on Ber Street. Nigel is the son of well known retired Hellesdon chip shop man Noel Barrett. Photo: Steve Adams

A name that was synonymous with fish and chips in a suburb of Norwich for more than 30 years has made a return to the city with a new shop.

Noel Barrett’s shop in Hellesdon became something of an institution in the four decades he spent frying chips until his retirement a couple of years ago.

And while the father of two and grandfather of four has not come out of retirement, the Barrett name is again above a chip shop.

That is because Mr Barrett’s 45-year-old son Nigel, who worked with his father at the Reepham Road shop for more than 30 years, has opened up a place of his own in Ber Street.

Nigel, who took up plumbing when they quit the shop in Hellesdon, has returned to his roots in a bid to help create a future for his son Jordan, 18, whom he hopes will follow in his father’s and grandfather’s fish-frying footsteps.

The father of one, from Taverham, said he bought the shop in Ber Street last year after becoming frustrated with the way his new-found trade was going.

He said: “I took a course in plumbing and did that for a couple of years but got fed up doing a job and it taking forever for people to pay.

“You got the odd person who would pay on time, but you would be sitting around waiting for them for ages. I got a bit fed up and so thought I would go back into fish and chips.”

Nigel said his dad was a “bit surprised” after he told him he had got the shop but pops in from time to time to see how he is doing. His father was renowned for his planning spats with Broadland District Council, including the long-running saga of solid metal shutters, installed without permission to protect his business from yobs,

For Nigel, a former Hellesdon High School pupil who still does the odd bit of plumbing at weekends, it is a return to what he knows and loves best.

He said: “To be honest I did miss it. I did miss it and I enjoy it – apart from when I’m slow in trade – but I do enjoy it.

“I was born into it. We had a shop at Sheringham which my dad managed. I was there until I was five and then moved to the one in Reepham Road and was there until I was 42. I was a fryer there for quite a few years but when I started I just carried the odd bowl of chips through and it went on to cleaning. Then after I left school I worked in the back cleaning and preparing, and when mum retired I went on to frying.”

Nigel, who is supported by some of his old customers from Hellesdon, said he would like to build the shop and hand it on to his son – thereby creating a third generation of Barrett fish fryers – before finding another shop of his own.

He said: “My son was actually the one who wanted me to take the fish and chip shop on again and go back to it.

“I would like my son to take over this one and I take over another shop and build that up. I would like to think I will be in the trade for another 20 years maybe – not quite as long as my dad was, but I would like to do quite a few more years in the trade. I think this is where I started and this is where I would like to finish – in fish and chips.”

Have you spent years working in the same shop or trade? Call Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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