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KFC to close Fishergate restaurant which was first to open in the UK

Posted on - 28th November, 2014 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Food & Drink, News, Nostalgia, Preston City Centre, Restaurants, Takeaways
KFC on Fishergate will leave early in 2015

KFC on Fishergate will leave early in 2015

The first KFC in Britain is preparing to spread its wings and leave Preston.

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Fishergate’s fried chicken outlet opened in 1965 and was the first of the chain restaurants across the country.

KFC has chosen not to renew its lease on 92 Fishergate, an A-board above the chicken shop declares the restaurant space will become available to let.

Col Sanders’ Recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken has stood above the door since then with the finger lickin’ good slogan eventually removed.

Originally KFC occupied half of the unit it does now, but it bought out the former Popinere cafe next door and expanded.

Popinere & Kentucky Fried Chicken, Preston 1976

Popinere (former Wimpy Bar) & Kentucky Fried Chicken, Preston 1976 Pic: Beth Heyes of the Preston Historical Society

Prior to the establishment of the Popinere cafe, this premises had been home to a Wimpy Bar for many years of which most senior Prestononians will remember their special brand of frothy coffee.

Prestonians take a look at the KFC on Fishergate in 1965

Prestonians take a look at the KFC on Fishergate in 1965 Pic: Preston Digital Archive

It is quite an interesting fact that the original Kentucky Fried Chicken premises seen in the two pictures above was, for almost 100 years, a branch of Liverpool based Johnson Bros Dyers which later became Johnson’s Dry Cleaners.

The picture below shows an extract from an A.E. Shaw photograph from around 1906 of that part of Fishergate with Fox Street to the right with the Preston Drug Company on the corner of Fishergate and Fox Street now being a Santander Branch.

If you count three shop canopies from right to left you may be able to just make out the word ‘Dyers’ on the canopy, which was at that time a Johnson Bros. branch and eventually the original incarnation of the Kentucky Fried Chicken store. Note also that what is today’s Bruccianis cafe, and has been since 1933, was at that time, the renowned Frames Tours booking office until they moved to new premises.

Fishergate, Preston by A.E. Shaw Pic: Preston Digital Archive

Fishergate, Preston by A.E. Shaw Pic: Preston Digital Archive

Prestonians have been reacting with sadness that a little bit of modern Preston history is to go.

We discovered that our co-editor, Paul Swarbrick, has a little anecdote to share about the opening day of Kentucky Fried Chicken on Fishergate.

He said: “At the time of the opening, myself and a few pals, who only had a few weeks left before leaving school, had heard that the new Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet were going to be giving away free samples.

“We decided in our ‘wisdom’ that we would bunk-off school and explore the possibility of trying out their wares. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to find anyone with the free samples and ended up spending most of our pocket money on gorging ourselves on the delicious offerings of Colonel Saunders.

“It was money well spent though as I have been eating the stuff ever since that time; hence, I’m not a small lad any more but at least I can say that I was one of the first customers to eat at the first KFC outlet in the UK”.

There are three other KFCs in Preston at the Docks, Deepdale Shopping Park and at Lostock Hall.

Blog Preston approached KFC to comment but at the time of publication had received no response.

Ever popped in for a chicken nugget? Or a bucket of chicken? Do you remember when it opened even? Let us know in the comments below

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