Yarmouth ‘plaice’ is full of memories

THREE generations of a Great Yarmouth family have been proudly serving up local fish for shoppers to enjoy for more than half a century.

The 65-year long tradition of Nichols Seafood is an example of how people in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and the surrounding villages can put top quality food on their plates without travelling far from their doorstep.

The Mercury has been speaking to local food shops as part of our Love Local campaign, which aims to celebrate what’s great about the community where we live. And we found a wealth of family businesses.

Christine Nichols-George is the granddaughter of Nichols Seafood founder William Nichols.

He had started the stall in 1946, selling jellied eels from a barrow after leaving the armed forces, and she is happy to keep the tradition alive.

“My dad Trevor took over when my grandad died and then I took over when my dad retired,” said Christine. “My husband goes and picks all the fish up from Lowestoft and I know our customers very well.

“If people want anything we don’t have on the stall we can get it for you - if it comes out of the sea and is available then we can get it.”

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The vast majority of their fish is from the North Sea, apart from farmed salmon, and Mrs Nichols has no plans on changing the stall.

And 11 year old daughter Shakira has already discovered the magic of the business.

“She does like to come and help,” said mum Christine. “To her teacher’s amazement she said she would like to run the stall when she grows up. Her teacher was horrified!

“The public are my people and that’s why I enjoy my job. People will have a chat and some customers remember me from when I was my daughter’s age and helped out on the stall.

“It’s good to have a local face for the business.”

She says her grandfather bought the recipe for jellied eels in the 1940s and she remembers how people used to queue to have them served up.

“My grandfather would dish them up,” said Christine. “He said no-one else was qualified and that was his job! We’ve started putting them on the counter now and my grandfather would turn in his grave.

“People like to see what you’re selling now or it’s like going into a shoe shop with only one shoe on display.”

Neighbouring stallholder at Great Yarmouth Market is Gary Salmon who owns the Pie and Peas stall, which his father John founded in 1946.

He works with his son, also called John, and said: “I’m selling what my father was selling when he started.

“It’s fairly unique, we’ve been here years and you could say we’re the original fast food takeaway.”