London’s most famous pie shop is being bulldozed to make way for luxury flats
The famous Mod haunt A. Cooke’s Pie and Mash shop in Shepherd’s Bush is being bulldozed after over a century of being London’s most beloved pie shop.
The move comes as part of a development scheme which sees ten historical Victorian buildings in the capital knocked down to make room for seven floors of luxury flats.
But it’s not just the live eel display and the pie which is famous: you’ll recognise the shop from cult 70s film Quadrophenia, which was partially shot in there. Having named one of their albums Quadrophenia after the film – but really the pie – members of The Who are also big fans, alongside David Beckham and other huge names campaigning against the store being shut down.
The Who’s Pete Townshend called the iconic pie and mash shop “part of the history of Goldhawk Road”. He said: “For me part, this was where The Who took flight in 1963, where we performed one of our first shows as The Detours”.
Townshend recently complained how it was “inconceivable” that Cooke’s in Shepherd’s Bush could be built over by a £150 million “yuppie flat” development, becoming an emblematic voice for the masses of protest which was in force against the shop’s closing.
It’s not just celebrities who want to save the iconic shop. Audrey Boughton, a local who runs a family business in Shepherd’s Bush, said: “The area needs to be revitalised, not destroyed”.
Audrey said a massive 114 letters of objection had been sent to the council over the decision to close the shop.
Even around the site there’s a mournful atmosphere, with passers by stopping to talk about the loss of their landmark. Pensioner Graham Jones said he’d been visiting the shop since he was six years old – 63 years ago. He said: “A. Cooke was not just a food outlet, it was an institution and there was a well-established community which developed around it.
“It was a huge part of the area’s history and it’s devastating to see it go.”
The shop went out in style, celebrating its closure this Saturday with a huge goodbye, and visited by scores of old school mods.
Local Denise Hayes said the scene was emotional. “I wasn’t surprised or shocked to see so many people coming on Saturday. It was great to see all the old Mods turn up with their scooters and all the old staff came back to say goodbye.
“It was one of a kid, and it will definitely be missed.”
In defence of the bulldozing, Richard Olsen from Orion Shepherds Bush Limited claimed the closure was a necessary and beneficial move for the community.
He said: “We’re very pleased with the outcome. It’s good news for the market and the area. The development will see the market regenerated and enhanced by introducing much needed investment and positioning it at the heart of a new high-quality mixed-use scheme.”
But the closure notice, written by local hero and A. Cooke owner Mike Boughton, tells a different story. The emotional notice reads: “It feels surreal that after going through two World Wars and many other conflicts, as well as other points of great joy including the Coronation of the Queen and her Jubilees, we have to announce our doors are closing.
“We leave these premises with an enormous number of memories accumulated over the years, from the many wonderful people who have been in this shop, from all walks of life and many parts of the world. It is amazing to hear people talking about their links with the shop through the generations.”
He concluded: “It has been a pleasure to be at 48 Goldhawk Road, let us hope another door will be opening.”
And maybe it will. As one of David and Brooklyn Beckham’s favourite haunts, QPR fans have subsequently started a petition to move the pie and mash shop to Loftus Road. In the meantime, the store now operate an online service which delivers everywhere in mainland UK, providing comfort food to sob over about what once was.