Barber & Son bakers

The 1933 Sidcup and District Free Press has an advert for Barber & Son bakers in Blackfen Road. William Barber opened this bakery with his son Andrew in 1932, and customers were enticed by the warm yeasty smell and the sight of iced buns. Bread was delivered to local residents on a bicycle-powered cart. The business was bought in 1949 by Frederic John Ayre and he installed his son Jack to run it. Eventually Jack bought the shop and named it J. Ayre.

I wonder how many loaves of bread and iced buns have been sold since then!


Mr Nejati Ali

I’m very sorry to have to report that Mr Nejati Ali has passed away. You may remember him as the owner of Golden Fish Bar, Blackfen Express Cleaners and Antalya Kebab House in Blackfen. Mr Ali was born in Turkish Cyprus and came to England as a refugee in 1959. He worked hard, always wearing a suit and tie, and he enjoyed talking to his customers.He will be driven through Blackfen between 9.30 and 10am on Tuesday 8th September. There will be a service at Peckham Mosque and then he will be taken to Cyprus to be buried there. 


Pie and Mash

With the opening of a new pie and mash shop in Blackfen Road, I just had to try it. I was nervous as I’d never eaten it before and wasn’t convinced I’d like it. What was that green sauce made of exactly?

The shop had previously been ‘Smile Please’ photography studio (one of two branches in Blackfen Road).

Pie & Mash shop in Blackfen Road, Jan. 2013

Pie & Mash shop in Blackfen Road, Jan. 2013

There were huge queues and steamed up windows, which added to the atmosphere somehow.

Pie and mash shops became popular in the East End of London in the late 1800s, providing hot, filling and inexpensive food for manual workers. These first pies were filled with eels which were cheap and plentiful and caught right from the Thames. These days the meal consists of a baked minced beef pie with mashed potato and a green parsley gravy, with or without jellied or stewed eels. I felt better about eating it when I discovered that the liquor is from parsley, not from Thames eel-fishing water!

Actually, it was much nicer than I expected, especially with a splash of chilli vinegar! But I did wimp out at sampling jellied eels…!

Pie, mash and liquor

Pie, mash and liquor