A long history of food retailing

The Purkis Family have been involved in supplying food to families in and around London for nearly two centuries. Members of the family have been Greengrocers, Butchers and Fishmongers over the years. Walter Purkis came into the Fish trade on leaving school over forty-five years ago, when he found employment as a trainee fish salesman in the Old Billingsgate Market.

The present business was founded in 1973 by Walter when he bought his first shop at the Baker’s Arms, Leyton in East London. Within a few years he added a second shop in Hoe Street, Walthamstow and then a third shop in Wood Street, Walthamstow. The business continued to expand and in 1983 Walter purchased from the Green Family, his fourth shop at Crouch End, North London. This was followed by the purchase of the fifth shop on Muswell Hill Broadway in 1987. As the patterns of trade altered in different areas it became necessary to dispose of the Leyton and Walthamstow Shops, leaving the Crouch End and Muswell Hill shops as the core business.

As well as running a successful business Walter Purkis has also been involved with the National Federation of Fishmongers and was a National Council member for some years as well as Vice-Chairman of The London Fish and Poultry Retailers Association. He is at present a committee member of the Billingsgate Seafood Training School Training Advisory Committee.

The two shops are now run by Walter in Muswell Hill and eldest son John at the Crouch End Shop. Together with Walter’s wife Pamela who moves between shops helping where ever needed. Although Walter and Pamela’s other three children have different careers you will often see them helping Dad and Mum when holiday times come around.

Walter has always made a specialty of sourcing the freshest fish he could find and to that end both shops have day supplies coming in from Billingsgate Market, Cornwall, Devon, Grimsby, Aberdeen, Fraserburgh and many other fishing ports around Great Britain. There is also a Twice weekly delivery from Europe with some of the more exotic fish and shellfish.

Much of the smoked fish sold through the shops is smoked in the century old smoke house at the rear of the Crouch End Shop, with recipes that have been handed down through the family for at least six generations.

As well as the freshest of fish and the most succulent shellfish you can also find a large range of sauces, marinades, relishes and salsas to compliment you meals.