METRO CHOICE: Eel meat again

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The Independent Culture
London's an oddly old-fashioned place. Take pie and mash shops: these undiluted manifestations of Victorian working-class life would be easy meat to the burger chains in the Home Counties. Yet in east and south- east London several survive and thrive, supplying costermongers and marketgoers with wedges of mash, bowlfuls of stewed eels, ladles of parsley liquor, and meat pies fresh from the oven. Often their interiors have changed little in more than 50 years, and feature magnificent tiling, rudimentary wooden benches, and marble-topped tables. About time, then, that these gems were recorded. So Chris Clunn has travelled the capital, photographing the shops, their staff and their customers. The results can be seen from Monday in an exhibition at the Museum of London. An accompanying book is to be published by the museum (priced £9.95). It relates the story of London's three great pie and mash dynasties - the Cookes, the Manzes and the Kellys - a tale as intricate as the life-cycle of the eels they sell.

From 4 Apr, Museum of London, EC2 (071-600 3699)