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Iconic Barry chippy reaches 70th birthday

A BARRY Island chippy is appealing to people to help come up with ideas to celebrate its 70th anniversary.

O'Shea's Fish and Chip Cafe, Barry Island

O’Shea’s Fish and Chip Cafe, Barry Island

Family-run O’Shea’s Fish and Chip cafe was established in 1946 when Frank Thompson used his World War Two pay-off to start a business on Barry Island seafront.

Mr Thompson found immediate success attracting crowds of holiday makers from the seaside resort. Fish and potatoes were not rationed in 1946 and therefore proved a great business venture for the war veteran.

Public queue for fish and chips at the cafe in 1946

People queue for fish and chips at the cafe in 1946

Barry Island

Holiday crowds hit Barry beach







The original cafe was opened for the traditional holiday season of April 1 – September 30. Alongside his family, Mr Thompson worked 12 hours a day, serving crowds of customers, before spending the evenings hand peeling potatoes for the next shift.

His daughter, Barbara Thompson inherited the business and then married Dennis O’Shea. When she had children, Dennis ran the business and the cafe got it’s familiar name, O’Shea’s.

Dennis’s son, Craig O’Shea now runs the business, but everyone in the family is involved – even Craig’s eight-year-old son enjoys working behind the tills on busy afternoons.

Craig said: “O’Shea’s is such a focal point of the community. We have loyal customers who have been served by three generations of the family.

People stop and chat to me in the street because they recognise me from the cafe. It’s quite amazing.”

Craig O'Shea (left) posing with O'Shea's workers and the Channel 4 News reporter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Craig O’Shea (left) posing with O’Shea’s workers and the Channel 4 News reporter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy

But like all local businesses, O’Shea’s hasn’t always tasted success. The closure of Butlins in 1994 hit Island traders hard. “For a good few years it was tough,” admits Craig.

However, the arrival of Gavin and Stacey meant a tidy transformation for Barry Island trade.

O’Shea’s felt the boom of the Gavin and Stacey phenomenon. “It’s been tremendous for everyone on the Island,” said Craig.

After 70 years, O’Shea’s cafe has never been busier. Open all year round, it provides wintery refuge to local dog walkers and holiday treats for the summer crowds.

The O’Shea’s are planning to run anniversary events throughout the summer season, with a special 70th birthday party on April 1.

They have appealed to the local community for suggestions of how to celebrate. Many locals have chipped in with ideas and messages of support:

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If you have any ideas for how O’Shea’s might celebrate, contact the cafe on Twitter or Facebook at @Osheascafe.

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