Chris the Fish says goodbye to Steyning High Street
A family-run fish and chip shop in Steyning high street has closed its doors after 48 years.
Chris Morgan, warmly known as Chris the Fish by residents, has been working at the shop since he was just 16 years old.
Now 52, he said he felt ‘mixed emotions’ on leaving the business behind.
He said: “It’s sad because it’s the only thing I’ve known, but it’s good because I’m now going to have a chance to have a new adventure.”
While he said he had ‘absolutely no idea’ what he was going to do, he said: “It’s exciting, I feel I’m ready to move on to the next stage of my life.”
The business was started in February 1971 by Chris’ father, Charles Morgan.
Unusually, it sold fresh fish as well as doing fried fish and chips twice a week.
Known as C Morgan, Charles ran the shop alongside his wife Maureen, until she sadly passed away in 1988.
Chris took over in 1996 and, around ten years ago, officially changed the shop’s name to Chris the Fish.
He said: “That’s what everybody called me...that’s just what it became.”
He said the change ‘worked well’, adding: “It would make people laugh and smile.”
Chris ran the business alongside his wife of 26 years, Debbie, and his children Amy and Max.
He said: “Their first ever job was at the shop. It’s really a family affair.”
Among the most popular items for sale were the local scallops, turbot and particularly the hand-dressed crabs, all sourced from local fishermen.
While Chris acknowledged the struggles facing the high street, he said increased awareness around eating fresh food had had a positive effect on the shop.
Overall, he said the best part of the job had been getting to know people in the town.
“There’s a lot of regular customers who come in, you become friends with them,” said Chris – who even had customers come to his wedding and to his children’s Christenings.
“There’s a nice atmosphere in Steyning and a nice atmosphere in the shop. It was always friendly and relaxed,” he said.
“People come in and have a chat, on Saturday mornings it was like a social event.
“It’s one of those jobs where it was a pleasure to be there.”
The shop is set to reopen as Big Fish Steyning under new owners in May 2019 – find out more here.