Belfast Telegraph

Shankill bomb: Frizzell's fish shop was at very heart of the community

How Frizzell's fish shop looked before the bomb exploded. Photo Bobby Foster
How Frizzell's fish shop looked before the bomb exploded. Photo Bobby Foster

By Rebecca Black

Frizzell's fish shop is believed to have stood on the Shankill Road from the mid-1960s.

It was owned by John Desmond Frizzell since 1966 who ran it with his wife Elsie. He was as well-known for his Christianity as for his shop.

His son-in-law Alan McBride said many customers came to see John as well as to buy his fish.

It has been described as one of those essential shops which dominated how people bought their groceries before supermarkets really took hold.

Even in 1993, the Shankill Road, like many other streets across Northern Ireland, was still dotted with independent fishmongers, fruit shops, bakeries and butchers.

Shankill historian Bobby Foster described Frizzell's as "one of those essential shops".

"It was part of a tight-knit ribbon shopping area; next door was a doctor's surgery, to the other side was a dry cleaners and Jackie Phillips' fruit and veg shop and it was facing the chemist," he said.

"It was one of those basic essential shops, it had everything and prices in it to suit everyone.

"They brought their fish up from places like Ardglass, Kilkeel and Portavogie, and had mussels, cockles, whelks – any fish you could think of.

"I remember the Frizzell family being very fair to their customers, they would never have turned anyone away empty-handed.

"It was more community than purely retail-focused which is why I think the bomb had such an enormous impact and was seen as an attack on the people, an attack on their community."

Bobby said the Shankill Road was renowned for fish shops, with Frizzell's and Ewing's, which still operates today and which dates back to 1911.

He recalls going into the shop as a child and said his favourite were the golden cutlets.

"They were a sort of golden fish and lovely with potatoes but you had to watch out for the wee bones," he said.

Following the bomb, Frizzell's never re-opened.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph