Davy’s Fried Fish Shop

 In the summer of 2011, Beamish ‘The Living Museum of the North’ completed a superb recreation of a coal fired Fish and Chip Shop in their Pit Village. They called this fish and chip shop “Davy’s Fried Fish & chip potato Restaurant” “Davy’s Fried Fish Shop” for short.

I had the pleasure and honour of restoring many hundreds of James Duncan tiles. They are colourful and vibrant and make up various panels and a frieze depicting scenes of nature, hunting and the seas with a very fishy theme. Beamish staffs rescued the tiles from a wet fish shop in Berwick upon Tweed in 1979 and were in storage just waiting for the opportunity for them to see the light of day again.

The installation of the tiles featured in an aBBc television programme called   “Brick by Brick : Rebuilding the past” and was broadcast in April 2012.


4 thoughts on “Davy’s Fried Fish Shop

  1. To Whom This May Interest,
    Hello, my name is Janice & I have a very real link to the tiles in Davy’s fish shop in the Beamish Museum. The fish shop in Berwick upon Tweed belonged to my Great Grandfather James Cowe. My Mum was born in Berwick in 1920, she being the Granddaughter of James. All my life I had known of these beautiful tiles, 2 years ago I visited Berwick for the 3rd time while visiting my daughter in London. My Mum had passed away in Australia while I was en- route to UK. Even though she left Berwick for Australia in 1939 with her Mum & sister she was still very much a Berwick girl. I did get to see those lovely tiles at Beamish & tell you unashamedly I cried knowing that it was too late for her to see them once more, through my photos. Memories ” of home” as Mum referred to Berwick kept her smiling ( she had lost her short term memory) as well as stories I would read to her from books I had purchased on my visits. My own children & grandchildren too know of these tiles. I have no idea where this story will end up but maybe somebody will enjoy the read. I cannot view the documentary of Davys fish shop but will keep trying.

    • Hello Janice, thank you so much for contacting me and telling me about your connection with the tiles from Berwick. I was very honoured to be involved with the restoration of the wonderful tiles. The job was a fantastic challenge and was carried out in one of our worst winters for many years. The workshop at beamish was unbelievably cold. The BBC documentary was repeated a few months ago. I wonder if Beamish have a recording of the program that they could send you . All the best wishes to you.
      Charlie Allen

  2. Good morning Charlie,
    Thank you very much for your reply, I will most certainly contact the Museum. I do have a question for you, do you know if all the tiles were recovered/ saved? I seem to recall being told that it wasn’t until demolition began that the significance of the tiles was realised. Maybe the Museum can fill in the gaps for me. My visits to Berwick as with Beamish have all been during winter, oh so cold. Charlie, those tiles were purchased by my G-Grandfather before his daughter, my Grandmother was born. Anyone of those displays would look grand in my kitchen. How I wish.

  3. Hi Janice, All the tiles that could be salvaged were used in the chip shop at beamish. A large quantity that were used were broken and repaired by myself. I don’t think that any of the tiles still at Beamish could be used any where. They were the tiles which I could not possible have put back together. Some of the tiles I did repaired were made up from more than one tile.

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