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Supply & Demand

The Rushden Echo, 29th June 1962, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Want Some Chips? - They’re on sale again, but the prices are ‘shocking’

The Rushden fish and chip shops badly hit by the potato shortage and forced to close for seven days opened again this week. But most have had to increase their prices to offset the high cost of potatoes.

Owners of shops in High Street South, Irchester Road and High Street, Higham Ferrers, have been able to get sufficient supplies of new potatoes during the past few days to enable them to start frying again.

Mr. A. E. Lawrence, who owns the Irchester Road shop, described prices as “shocking.” He had never known anything like it before in the trade.

Mr. Arthur Rutland, who has shops in Cromwell Road, Rushden, and High Street, Higham Ferrers, told the “Echo” that the situation was so bad that he had to close his Higham shop last week. It re-opened on Tuesday.

“I hope that in another fortnight we can look back on this spell as just a bad dream. Fortunately, we had some potatoes in stock when they became as valuable as a bag of gold.”

More Soon

He thought that potatoes should become more plentiful shortly – if more imports were allowed. Sales had not really dropped for him as customers were still buying fish when they knew there were no chips available.

He was having to buy his potatoes in smaller quantities than usual – in case prices suddenly dropped.

Café owners in Rushden, similarly affected by the shortage, reported that they were doing the same. They said the shortage was having an effect on their meals, but customers were sympathetic, as they appreciated the difficulties.

Mr. J. Hart (Cedar) said: “I’ve had to increase the prices for lunches. The working man likes his potatoes, so we can’t use any substitutes. Prices are shocking at the moment, and we have to buy our supplies in small quantities. If things continue as they are, I don’t think we’ll have any next year.

£5 a Bag

Mr. J. Rickard (Airflo): “I’ve been in business for 17 years, and never known anything like this before. It is a bit of a problem, but there doesn’t seem much we can do about it. We have been paying up to £5 per bag, but perhaps prices will drop soon.”

Mr. J. Cox (Central): “We have had to put our prices up. Potatoes – in any form – are an important part of a meal, so we can’t do without them. Most people realise our problem and don’t mind paying a little extra. Everybody is in the same boat.”

Wholesaler Mr. A. E. Hill commented: “Prices have gone down a bit now.” Quality was good, but the potatoes remained rather small.

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