St Michael’s Fisheries: the family-run Headingley chippy that’s just turned 100

As one of the oldest chip shops in Leeds, St Michael’s Fisheries has a whole lot of history hidden in the walls.

If you’ve headed into Headingley on any kind of match day – you’re bound to have come across this place.

The building first appeared on the books back in 1888 as Miss Annie Dewhirst’s Private School before being listed as the Headingley Conservative Association until 1922.

In 1923 St Michael’s Fisheries was officially listed as a ‘fried fish dealer’ and has continued to operate with this trade from this point onwards.

St Michael’s Fisheries is considered to be one of, if not the oldest chippy in Leeds and has operated almost completely uninterrupted over the last century. The takeaway even operated during the Second World War as fish and chips was one of the few items that weren’t rationed during this time.

The chippy then became Oak Fisheries in the 1960s and Midgley’s in the early 2000s, and has actually only recently changed its name to St Michael’s Fisheries.

It is believed that the owner during this time, Denis Dalby, developed a darkroom in the cellar of the building. Known locally as a ‘jazz legend’, Dalby spent time photographing famous jazz musicians and was the founder of the original Leeds Jazz.

Whilst the dark room doesn’t exist today (nor do many of the original features given the sheer age of the chip shop), there’s still a few nods to the past century, including traditional Spitfire fryers and photos on the wall of Headingley Stadium over the years.

The current owners Kosta and Panos keep the chippy alive with friendly staff and a well-stocked list of fish, chips and mushy peas.

Images: The Hoot Leeds

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And if you want our two pence on the secret to success here – it’s got something to do with the vinegar spray bottle, genius!

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