|Evening Telegraph, 23rd November 1988, by Carolyn Underwood, transcribed by Kay Collins
THE shutters have been brought down on a Rushden family business with a 109 year history.
Jim Bugby, the third generation of his family to run the High Street fresh fish business, has decided to call it a day and enjoy retirement unlike his father and grandfather before him who both died while they were still working.
Jim and his wife Margaret are now planning to spend more time on their hobbies and interests at home at Manton Spinney, Rushden. He said: "It is a sad time to see the end of an era but we are both happy looking forward to more time to take things easy in our retirement."
And their shop, believed to be the only one of its kind left in the country, is now on the market. They believe a buyer may turn it into a conventional retail unit.
Jim said: "It is the only shop we know of which has remained for so long in almost the same way as it opened. The only real difference is that it now has electricity instead of gas. All the original slabs remain." Jim and Margaret's son, Michael, is a successful London tailor and fashion designer, and there is no-one else to take over the business in the family.
The business began in 1879 when Jim's grandfather, also a Jim, opened a fishmongers shop in Church Street. He later moved to another shop in High Street before moving again to the present site. He died in 1939 and Jim's father, Philip took over.
Jim and Margaret in 1988 as the shop closes
In the meantime Jim himself learned the family trade and opened another shop in Wellingborough in 1973, and a further two, in Bedford and Kettering, two years later. But when his father died in 1981 he returned to his home town. During his working life he has won a host of trophies and awards for skills at fishmongery and preparing poultry and was All England champion.
When the Queen visited Bedford he supplied the salmon, and Jim also catered at an event organised by the Archbishop of Canterbury. He has also provided seafood for other members of the Royal family and novelist Barbara Cartland.
But his claim to national fame came during the business' centenary year when he decided to sell fish at Victorian prices to celebrate the occasion. Queues were so deep outside his Bedford shop that he was eventually arrested by the police for causing an obstruction.
Margaret now plans to spend more time working tapestries, and Jim plans to enjoy swimming and motorcycling. He still rides a 57 trials AJS machine and a trials Honda. He was once in the Royal Signals Motor cycle display team.
Jim has held the offices of chairman, president and secretary of Rushden Swimming Club over the years and has taught many to swim in his own pool at home. He is an ex-Northamptonshire freestyle champion.
The couple have paid tribute to the skills and dedication of their employee at Rushden Debbie Mitchell, who has worked for the family for the past nine years. Debbie is now hoping to set up her own mobile wet fish business in the district.