Woolworths' salmon finally hooked

WHEN Woolworths called in the administrators last week, the thoughts of many Ipswich shoppers went back to the store's “New Look” of the late 1960s.Many remembered the stunning wet fish counter - which was topped by a huge leaping salmon which caught the eye of thousands of shoppers.

WHEN Woolworths called in the administrators last week, the thoughts of many Ipswich shoppers went back to the store's “New Look” of the late 1960s.

Many remembered the stunning wet fish counter - which was topped by a huge leaping salmon which caught the eye of thousands of shoppers.

In those days water cascaded down the display - but when the wet fish counter went in the late 1970s, the giant salmon disappeared.

Customers who remember the glittering display of water cascading over the salmon were intrigued by the mystery of its resting place, and only this year Radio Suffolk listeners searched for it without success.


You may also want to watch:


It seemed the salmon had migrated to distant waters. But now the Evening Star's photos reveal the giant fish, which has not been seen for more than 20 years, never strayed far from home.

Andrew Cook, manager of Viking Aquatics, St Margaret's Street, was given the seven foot fibreglass display model by his mother, who used to work at Woolworth's when the wet fish counter closed.

Most Read

Some customers assumed that the end of the counter meant the fish's untimely demise, but in fact the gigantic salmon has outlived its former home.

Woolworth's has endured a steady slide in its fortunes and recently went into administration but the fish is still in good nick.

Mr Cook said: “When the wet fish counter became a thing of the past, my mother spoke to the manager and asked if she could have it if it wasn't needed.

“We hung it up in the window for a couple of years, then it got painted to make it a bit more exotic. For an aquarium and aquarium supplier, it was useful as a decorative advert.”

But the gigantic fish took up too much space in the shop window, and was packed into the stock room for more than 20 years, only surfacing on occasions when it was lent to the Wolsey Theatre as a prop - no one can remember which productions used it, but it has certainly trodden the boards!

Now, after interest from the Evening Star, Mr Cook has said he is considering bringing the salmon out of retirement and using it in the shop display next year.

He said: “He never did die, he's sitting in the shop. He might become part of our display after Christmas, but people are welcome to come in and have a look at him if they want to.”

Salmon facts:

Wild salmon return to the place they were born to spawn . . . and then die.

Salmon from British waters live most of their lives in the north Atlantic before returning to rivers to spawn.

Most of the salmon on sale is farmed, much of it in Scottish waters.

The first law to protect the Atlantic Salmon in Scotland was passed in 1318!

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter