The Eel and Pie Shop

The Circle, Green Wrythe Lane

By Beverley Walker

Photo:Arthur and Lil Lathrope in the doorway of their eel and pie shop at the Circle

Arthur and Lil Lathrope in the doorway of their eel and pie shop at the Circle

Donated by Joyce Lathrope

Arthur Lathrope bought the pie and eel shop in the early 1950's The shop had originally been owned by two brothers, one of whom Len bought his brother out and ran it for a time on his own helped by Lil who was already working there.

 Arthur and Lil lived above the shop with their three children. Arthur would have to get up at 4am to light the ovens to bake their home made pies.

The eels were kept in the back yard and had to have water running in the troughs to keep the eels alive.

You could buy hot or jellied eels at 1 or 2 shillings a portion and cartons were 2/3, 3/3, 4/3, 5/3 according to size. Steak pies were sold for 9 pence and 1 shilling. They also sold liquor, mashed potato and apple pie with cloves.

This page was added by Beverley Walker on 24/01/2014.
Comments about this page

I am a lifelong lover of pie and mash and it all started with the shop at the circle. As a treat on a Saturday night my Nan would send me round to the pie and mash shop armed with a large jug for the liquor. The snag was I had to go on the 151 Bus and it wasn't that frequent so I would end up waiting for the Bus at the stop opposite the shop with the wrapped pies and mash on top of the jug to try to keep the liquor warm. By the time the 151 arrived and I got home to Malmesbury Road it all had to be heated up--- but it was lovely. Later in life when I used to drink in The Arms there was nothing better than pie and mash after a few pints and I still love it to this day.

By John Palmer
On 25/01/2014

I live in Canada & the first thing I do when coming home for a visit is to go to the pie & mash shop in Sutton. I loved the one at the Circle, used to pass it every day on the way to school. If you could not afford pie & eels,you could get a 3 penny bowl(mash & liquor). Tried making it myself but never tasted the same.

By Pearl Frost nee Newton
On 03/03/2014

I was born in Peterborough Road in the early fifties and as a child was brought up on the delights of pie mash and liquor. I remember my Mother taking empty jam jars to the Circle shop which were filled with that lovely liquor followed by the mutton base pies and last the mash.I am talking late 1950s early sixties when every body on the estate had very little and believe me when I say this was a five star meal. It was most welcome in the winter months as the only central heating on the estate came from the Circle pie and mash shop. You had one fireplace in the house which was in the front room, which did the whole of the house.I am now 60 have my own house been married for thirty six years and cruise three times a year, but I have never forgotten my humble upbringing as a child we made next to nothing go a long- long way.This is a good site to go back in time when people helped each other and had nothing to gain, we all had a key on a piece of string in the letterbox, as latch street kids because their was nothing to steal in the house only the gas and electric meters. Everyone was in the same boat, poor as a church mouse and skint. In closing would I change any thing growing up on the estate?,not one thing. Its sad that most of the delights of our childhood have disappeared and most of the pie and mash shops are now a thing of the past including me.

By Terry Broad
On 03/03/2014

Wow - was only telling friends about this the other day - I now live in a huge retirement village here in New Zealand and one day at lunch we began to talk about our fav foods from the past - this was my contribution to the conversation - the eels didn't go down well but they were interested in the way we used to go and get our dinner - I lived in the prefabs opposite Green Wrythe School and used to walk up to the circle with a basket containing a jug for the liquor, a bowl for the mashed potatoes and a teatowel to wrap around the pies.The whole lot was then covered with another teatowel. I just couldn't wait to get home. I can still remember the taste of those pies - never had another like them - ever. When I see a documentary on the Borough Market on TV and they show the pie and mash restaurant there, my mouth waters and what I wouldn't do for a feed again from there!

By Maureen Donaghey - Hurt
On 09/03/2014

l was born in Peterborough Road, 1941, and moved to Shap Crescent 1946 until l got married in 1959. l used to go shopping on my bike Saturday morning for my mum, and get the whole weeks shopping at the coop. When l went to school at Green Wrythe Lane, it was a treat to look in the window of the pie shop it still makes my mouth water l didn't move far away, and am still in Sutton.  My maiden name was Janet Pope.

By Janet Sayer
On 19/03/2014

In reading comments about the pie and eel shop at the circle. The liquor was not made with the water that the eels were cooked in it was made with the potato water.

By Joyce Lathrope
On 27/03/2014

My memories of the Pie and Eel shop was early Saturday morning with Mum to get fresh eel's. They had to be moving. Stewed eel's with parsley sauce, home made of course, for Saturday dinner. Never did fancy jellied eel's. Pie and mash was good though.

By Jack. Goodchild.
On 18/03/2017

The Circle Pie & Mash shop in my opinion was the best in South London. School dinner money in those days was 1 shilling a day but a small pie and mash was also 1 shilling,NO CONTEST, I'm an old man now but have had pie and mash at least once a week all my life, and its still my favourite meal.  The best place now is (once again in my opinion) Arments just off the Walworth rd. As its quite a long way from where I live now when I get the chance I pop in and get a dozen pies which I freeze. I found that the liquor does not freeze so I have found out by trial and error that if you buy a packet of parsley sauce mix and instead of using milk as they say use the potato water and one drop of green vegetable dye. its as close as you can get.

On 18/03/2017

I used to get pie and mash from the circle when round my Nans in Green Wrythe Lane a few doors down the road. I lived in the prefabs opposite the School with my parents, sister and Alsatian dog called Rex. That would have been between 1946 and 1954. Great times. Shame those pie and eel shops are not around so much. 

By Barry Brown
On 18/03/2017

I grew up Middleton Road end of Thornton Road, so very convenient for the pie and mash shop which we used often.  i can remember watching the eels slithering around in the metal tray before their end came and they were chopped up ready to cook at home.

Please put me right if you can remember otherwise.  The pie gravy was a watery one certainly not a brown gravy as I have found in every other pie I have eaten in a pie and mash shop since,The Circle  ones which to me ruins the liquer. 

Love to know if anyone else has found the same as The Circle's lovely pies. 

By Maureen Preissner
On 01/02/2022

Hi Maureen   if you go to a traditional pie and mash shop like Manze in Tower Bridge Road you will get pie mash and liquor exactly as you remember it from the Circle. You can also order on line for home delivery, its good but tastes better in the shop like a pint does in a pub!

By John Palmer
On 02/02/2022

Although I now live in Worcestershire, I was born and raised in Carshalton until I was 18 and like many of you who have commented above, I have memories of walking to The Circle for pie, eels and mash from my Nan's house in Culvers Way. A particular memory is of one visit when an eel bone became stuck in my throat and my mother's remedy was to stuff bread to urge it downwards.  The reason I find myself looking at this website is that this week-end (20th/21st May) 2023, I have organised a sentimental journey back to Carshalton with my two daughters and I had wondered if the shop was still there along with Cooper's Newsagent.  Sadly not.

By Linda Gurbuz (nee Savery)
On 10/02/2024

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