Thursday, 8 June 2017

At the chippy on the green with Mrs Jones and "Chippy Madge"

Now I am always fascinated by those pictures which call up a rich seam of memories that cross the generations.

And this one pretty much does just that.  We are inside Chorlton Green Supper Bar sometime in the late 1960s courtesy of Bob Jones.

Just a few years later it would be one of my regular haunts and later still the chosen chippy of my lads.

And I will not be alone in remembering that tiny room with the tiled counter and steamed up windows with the bright lights and promise of something good to eat.

Even now nothing is quite like going into a chip shop on a cold winter’s evening.

It starts with that wall of heat and then the distinctive smell, along with the noise of the chips in the deep fryer and the rustle of paper.

And there is also the conversations which are a mix of the humorous, the mundane and usually a little of the village gossip.

Of course most of what is said might well be repeated over the counter of the newsagents and in the pub but waiting in line for your supper offers up plenty of time to listen to what is being said and an opportunity to add your own contribution.

Now I am old enough to remember getting your chips in newspaper and then walking home on dark nights with that double pleasure which came not only from eating the chips but from holding the bag which kept your hands warm.

So Bob’s picture is just that bit special, more so because on the right is his mum and on the left “Chippy Madge.”

All too often photographs like this one get lost over time and with it go a tiny but important record of how things were.

And it is the little often trivial things, like the name “Chippy Madge” and “Blind Bob the Barber”, which say something about the time and the place.

The nicknames were rarely meant to be cruel and were just one of those things that you said.

Madge worked in the chip shop and her name was Madge so “Chippy Madge” it was, and more often than not there would be a raft of such names for everyone from the milkman to the chap who came round to sharpen your knives.

I may not get out as often these days or visit as many places but I rather think such names are no longer as common and that is a shame.

Picture; Mrs Jones and “Chippy Madge” circa 1960s courtesy of Bob Jones, and the Chorlton Green Supper Bar 1978 from the collection of Tony Walker.

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