Nostalgia by Michael Eagleton

I AM sure that some readers will not remember that the former Vodaphone store in the High Street, now empty, was for many decades a branch of the national chain of fishmongers, MacFisheries.

The Company was founded in 1919 by William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme of Lever Brothers fame, later to become Unilever.

They were proud of their house magazine “Mac Matters” and the edition of September 1976 devoted a page to the Marlow branch.

The copy I have is badly creased and not in good condition, but I thought you might like to see the pictures, the accompanying captions, and a portion of the text. In addition to fish, the earliest 1931 picture shows that poultry was also a speciality along with fruit which was displayed in the right hand window.

A bit of magnification reveals that large Dover Soles were one shilling and eight pence a pound!

In my time I don’t recall much poultry, but there was certainly a fruit section, and I have memories of the long serving and always cheerful Joe LeFevre and his son Alan. The 1976 picture has a Dawes Kingpin bicycle parked outside. I still have one of those!

The Company emblem (inset) was a roundel in blue and white showing the Scottish saltire (St. Andrew’s Cross) with four fish between the arms, and a motto “For all fish.” In the late 1970s, with supermarkets opening everywhere, MacFisheries, with headquarters at Bracknell, began to run into financial difficulties and all branches closed.

The Marlow shop continued to sell fish, firstly as Shrimptons, and then later as Phil Bowditch who now trade from Wilton Farm, Little Marlow. The article in “Mac Matters” concludes by commenting that the long hot record breaking summer of 1976 had not been good for trade!

I was informed on good authority that Poundland looked at the vacant premises last year, but decided it was not big enough for their purposes and that, anyway, the floor levels would create a major problem.

Next Friday – the yellow bricks of Marlow.

Contact Michael on or 01628 486571