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Mumford chippy celebrates 100 years
3:00pm Saturday 28th July 2012 in News
A GRAYS chippy is celebrating a century of serving Britain’s staple dish to the borough.
It is 100 years this month since William Mumford set up Mumford and Sons in Grays, after he had moved to the town in 1901.
People venture in from Romford, Brentwood and even Kent to get their traditional fish and chip supper.
Current owner, Ron Mumford, William’s grandson, says the business has witnessed great change in Grays and in the catering industry.
The famous shop, which is now located on Cromwell Road, originally opened as wet and fried fish shops on New Road in 1912.
When William died in 1937, his eldest son Bill, took over the running of the shops, with second youngest son Ron joining the business in 1942. They were assisted by William’s youngest son Peter and daughter Peggy.
In the 1950s, Ron married Jean and they had two children, Ron Jnr, the shops current owner, and Vicki.
But it was in 1960 that Mumford and Sons moved away from New Road. Thurrock Council used its power to buy all the properties on New Road, which led to Ron moving to Cromwell Road.
Brother Peter opened his own shop in Tilbury and Bill died shortly after the shop in New Road, which had been there for nearly 50 years, was demolished.
In 1975, Ron Jnr joined the business. Eight years later Ron’s wife Jean died, but the father and son continued to run the business through the 1990s and 2000s, before Ron passed away in 2007, doing what he loved.
Ron Jnr, now 55, said: “It’s certainly an achievement, there aren’t many old businesses left in Grays.
“When we first started, Grays was made up entirely of small business but they’ve slowly all gone, there’s only a couple left now.
“The biggest move has been into frozen products, but we go to Billingsgate Market every day and our produce is all fresh. Going back to when Grays was more industrial, fish and chips was the main food.
“Now there’s so much variety with fast food shops. We don’t try and compete with them, we’ve tried to keep things traditional.
“We’re not as busy as we used to be, but then Grays isn’t the town it used to be.”
Ron added: “We’ve had a little bit of luck in the pop group Mumford and Sons have brought us some interest.
“We get people outside taking pictures. But there’s no link between us and them, other than the name. “Plus, they’ve been around three years, we’ve been around 100!”