Saturday, 15 June 2013

Tubby Issac's Last Stand

A London institution finished yesterday. Part of the traditional landscape of our great city, and an iconic enduring symbol in an otherwise fast changing and dynamic metropolis; the humble sea food kiosk.  Tubby Issac's which closed after 94 years of business at the same pitch just outside Aldgate tube station and served what many would deem one of London's official foods, the jellied eel.  Not to everybody's taste, and served alongside other London 'street food' dishes like cockles, mussels, and whelks etc (I have always favoured the cockles with pepper and vinegar) it is still a shame that a long standing purveyor of the few specifically 'London' dishes has to call it a day.  I've always thought a city of London's standing deserves it's own culinary idenity even if it is boiled bits of river fish congealed in the gelatine of their own bones!   All of the shellfish are of the highest quality and people from all walks of life would partake in a bowl of healthy snacks while passing by.  The financial district City of London is yards away and in the other direction lies Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived Boroughs so Tubby Issac's would literally straddle the class divide.

And so having taken the day off for my birthday I wandered down to meet Paul for the last time and take a few snaps. As much as I enjoy documenting these things is was a depressing experience. Many old folk, since exiled to Essex, had taken a special trip into town to relive their East End youths.  I didn't want to be too much of a voyeur so avoided taken too many of the people themselves though did catch a snap of the last bowl of jellied eels.

The East London Advertiser were there to take up the story and you can see a more detailed history and old photos at this link: