Street & Conversation with… Pat “Pop” Newland
With a lifetime of experience dishing up fish and chips to the masses, Pops is not new to the trade. At the young age of 11, the East End born owner started in the fish and chips business completely by chance. 70 years later, he has 3 of London’s favourite fish and chip shops to his name: Spitalfields, Camden and Soho. Today, he still cycles down to his Spitalfields shop each morning, and helps with the day to day work – sweeping the street, preparing the fryers and chatting to his regulars.
What’s your favourite secret place in London?
All Hallows by the Tower at Tower Hill. It is a church that has a crypt underneath, probably where people like Anne Boleyn and that prayed. I go there quite often and do some praying in there myself. It really takes you back to what it was. It is a great place and I feel spiritual there.
What’s your favourite place to eat out?
Poppies. Other than that…. there are a couple of curry houses on Brick Lane that I have been going to for ages. I know the people down there so well.
What’s your favourite tube line and why?
I haven’t been on the tube in 50 years and I have no intention of going on it. I cycle to get where I need to go.
What’s your favourite London building?
Tower of London. It is a beautiful building, the stones, it is so right. That is my place of peace. That is where I want my wife to throw my ashes… without anyone seeing.
What’s the best place for a date in London?
Trafalgar Square. You get all the lovers walking in Trafalgar Square. When I used to work in ice cream I used to pull up on Embankment at 1 in the morning, and when all the lovers walked past I used to serve them. I used to say to my boss then, “I am going to be back late”. He would say, “Where are you going?”. I would tell him, “Look I am going to come back and pay you a lot of money, don’t ask”. Otherwise everyone would have taken my spot!
Who’s your favourite Londoner?
Barbara Windsor. Although there is a lot of others. I am quite well known. Well… before the internet, I was well known. I had lots of shops and was a local man. But Barbara, she mixed with the East End, although she was a great star she sat with the gangsters, she said herself that she slept with Ronny Kray. I have the paintings by Ronny Kray in there, he isn’t a very good artist, but I wouldn’t tell him that myself.
East, West, North or South? And why?
Definitely the East. I come from here and I am going to go from here in a box.