The number of pie and mash shops in London has halved in the past 20 years. As a result of this steep decline, campaigners have said that London’s pie and mash shops should be given special heritage status to help ensure they can afford to stick around.
The suggestion is that the tradition working-class cafes that specialize in pie, mash and the occasional jellied eel, should be allowed tax relief due to their cultural value within the capital city.
A group which promotes the classic dish, The Pie and Mash Club, warned fans that pie and mash shops could be in danger if action is not taken. This came as the oldest pie and mash shop in London, M Manze in Chapel Market, Islington, was forced to relocate to Braintree in Essex as it could no longer compete with rising costs.
Head of the Pie and Mash Club and graphic designer, Nick Evans says: “Pie and mash are not dead yet, but the days of London’s traditional shops are numbered in the face of commercial forces.”
He continues: “Perhaps I am being simplistic in my incredulity at councils for not employing a wiser strategy when applying business rates.”
Tim Nicholls, owner of the now closed branch of M Manze for over 20 years also backs the idea that pie and mash shops should be allowed heritage status, he says when speaking of the café’s closure: “It's rents and rates that made this happen”.
We’d love to hear what you think of the idea of pie and mash shops being allowed a special heritage status which would provide tax relief – what are your thoughts?