Mushy pea stall on Norwich Market closes after 73 years

Anita Adcock at the Mushy Pea stall that has been on the market since 1949. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Anita Adcock has closed The Mushy Pea Stall on Norwich Market with a heavy heart. - Credit: Archant

It is the end of an era as The Mushy Pea Stall closes on Norwich Market after 73 years, with many memories and TV appearances along the way. 

The city's 'queen of peas' Anita Adcock has hung up her apron with a heavy heart.

Anita Adcock is the third generation of her family to run The Mushy Peas Stall. Byline: Sonya Duncan

Anita and Carl Adcock were the third generation to run The Mushy Pea Stall.  - Credit: Sonya Duncan

She was the third generation to take on the family-run stall, which offered homemade mushy peas with mint sauce, pies, burgers and hot dogs.

It was first opened by Joyce and Reggie Yallop in 1949, when a pot of peas cost sixpence.

It was then passed down to their daughter Joy and husband John Adcock and then on to son Carl and his wife Anita in 2006. 

The Mushy Pea Stall pictured in 1996. 

The Mushy Pea Stall pictured in 1996. - Credit: Archant

Mrs Adcock, 62, closed the stall on Saturday (February 26) though did not tell customers until after on social media, where she was flooded with well wishes. 

Explaining the reason for the closure, she said: "Covid brought home that you never know what is around the corner.

The Mushy Peas that have been sold on the market since 1949. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

The mushy peas have been sold on Norwich Market since 1949. - Credit: Archant

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"I want to have time to spend with my grandchildren and I had to retire at some point.

"There was also no family members that wanted to take it on.

Ainsley Harriott filming at The Mushy Pea Stall at Norwich Market with Anita Adcock in 2011 for the

Ainsley Harriott filming at The Mushy Pea Stall at Norwich Market with Anita Adcock in 2011 for the BBCs Great British Food Revival Picture: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2011

"With Covid, there was such a drop in trade and we were still running maybe 30pc down."

The stall has featured on many TV programmes such as Channel 4's Food Unwrapped, Sky's Lord of the Fries with Freddie Flintoff and the BBCs Great British Food Revival with Ainsley Harriott.

To celebrate the stall's 70th birthday in 2019, Mrs Adcock offered pots of peas for 5p - as close to the 1949 price as she could get. 

Mrs Adcock is planning to take some time to relax, including gardening at her Hellesdon home and she also brought some mushy peas home to pop in the freezer.

She added: "A huge thank you to everyone that has supported us over the years.

Anita Adcock owner of the Mushy Peas stall on Norwich Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Anita Adcock owner of the Mushy Peas stall on Norwich Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

"From children weaned on our peas to weddings, wakes and birthdays - it has been such a big staple in people's lives." 

The stall in row E will now be taken on by neighbouring unit Lucy's Chips with the owners planning to expand to offer mushy peas and pies too. 

A history of the Norwich Market

Norwich market has a long and varied history and has been at the heart of the city for over 900 years.

Its roots can be traced back to the 11th century, after it was established by Normans following the 1066 conquest.

The market continued to grow and by the Middle Ages it stretched from the Guildhall all the way to St Stephens, and was one of the most important market areas in the country.

In the 1930s, Norwich market was made up of traders selling their wares under temporary structures. They were tightly packed under canvas in the area between St Peter Mancroft and the Guildhall. 


In 2005, the market had a further overhaul to become the site the city knows and loves today.

Temporary structures used up until this point were replaced with permanent stalls and metal roofs, although the colourful striped designs already in place remained.

While controversial at the time,the overhaul has ultimately been a success, as the market frequently wins national awards.