Leeds & West Yorkshire

Eddie Lawler laments Harry Ramsden's Guiseley closure

A Bradford folk singer has written a lament for the closure of the first Harry Ramsden's fish and chip shop.

Eddie Lawler recorded a song, Arry RIP, about the Guiseley restaurant as a permanent tribute to what he called "a Yorkshire institution".

Mr Lawler said the song was a "genuine lament" and would be released later in the year.

Harry Ramsden opened his first fish and chip shop in December 1928 in a wooden hut a mile from the centre of Guiseley.

"When I got over the initial shock and sadness, I thought there's the opportunity for a bit of humour there... but it's a mourning song because something important in our lives has come to an end," said Mr Lawler.

The song's lyrics include the lines: "Here's a piece of history that cannot go unsung/A lad of local legend whose achievement's been destroyed."

Harry Ramsden's wooden hut - about 60 miles from the nearest beach - served fish and chips to day trippers and staff from the Silver Cross pram factory nearby.

After three years, he opened a sit-down fish and chip "palace" on the same site, which was said to have been based on the Ritz Hotel in London, complete with oak-panels and chandeliers.

Worldwide restaurants

The Guiseley branch went on to become the biggest fish and chip shop in the world, seating 250 people and serving nearly one million customers a year.

Image caption Closure of Harry Ramsden's in Guiseley was announced in November 2011

In the late 1980s Harry Ramsden's opened 35 more restaurants and takeaways across the rest of the UK.

Now Harry Ramsden's has outlets as far afield as Hong Kong, Singapore and Saudi Arabia - but the original Guiseley branch will not be part of the chain's future.

In 2010 Birmingham businessman Ranjit Boparan bought Harry Ramsden's and in November 2011 after almost 84 years in business, it was announced that the Guiseley restaurant would close.

The company said the branch was making a loss and would need considerable investment before it could potentially become profitable again.

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