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Knocker-upper man.

We were in the process of preparing our new album when I had cause to visit the podiatry department of Salford University on Frederick Road, there used to be a cafe on this site - opposite Pendleton Baths.  I couldn't believe it when I saw a sketch on the wall, drawn by Harold Riley, of Jack Fellows.  The notes that accompanied the sketch indicated that Jack Fellows was the knocker-upper man in Hanky Park and he had two dogs.  One was called "Lol" and was very reluctant about most things.  He also had a tiny dog called "Twerp" which he kept in his jacket pocket.  Walter Greenwood told Harold Riley that Jack was the man who appeared at the start of "Love on the dole".

I couldn't believe my luck.  Our duo was called Hanky Park, one of the songs on the album we were preparing was called, "The Knocker-Upper Man", and here was a sketch of the knocker-upper man from Hanky Park (Salford), drawn by famous Salford artist Harold Riley.  I went to see Harold Riley and asked his permission to use this sketch, plus another one from the same series.  I was delighted when he said yes.

I was so delighted that I wrote him a song as a thank you.  The song can be heard here.

Harold Riley


Apparently, Salford employed the last commercial knocker-upper man in the country and there is a knocker-upper man's stick in Lark Hill Place, the Victorian street in Salford's Peel Park museum.  Salford also had the first free public library and now has a very interesting library on The Crescent, "The Working Class Movement Library".

Mike Canavan wrote a song called Knocker-Upper Man which tells of the demise of this occupation.  This song is featured on our latest album.



This could be the best chippy in Salford, in fact it is probably the best chippy in the world.

Some time ago we had a visitor from Wales and he wanted to go to Harry Ramsden's for a meal.  Four of us went and enjoyed a superb meal of delicious Fish and Chips.  A week later I was in Salford with my son, Rob and we decided we would have another meal of Fish and Chips but this time I took him to Langworthy Road Chippy or "Neil's Friery".  He was massively impressed and immediately declared it far superior to the enjoyable meal we had eaten at Harry Ramsden's the week before.  The chips are sublime and the fish even better.  If you are in the area I strongly suggest you pay them a visit.

Harold Riley, Salford's world famous artist (he has painted Nelson Mandela - by invitation!), has been so well served by this chip shop for so many years that he presented Neil with a painting (before the business moved premises to the other side of Langworthy Road) of the shop with a lovely message beneath it.  The painting and message are both shown below.

Neil's Friery, Langworthy Road, Salford



A Painting of the shop by Harold Riley  


The dedication below the painting.

The words that Harold Riley wrote under the painting are:

ďI wanted to send you an illustrated letter to thank you for all the years of  delicious Fish and Chips.  As I was born no more than a quarter of a mile from your shop on Langworthy Road I have known the district for most of my life.  The pursuit of excellence has been meaningful to me  during my years as an artist and your fish and chips have always had a quality of excellence that I havenít found anywhere else.  The snow scene above is a reminder of a snowy Christmas when the lights and scents of the shop spilled out on to Langworthy Road, your fish and chips were delicious then and they are now as I sit in my studio eating a portion of them.  Long may it continue to provide such a treat to my fellow Salfordians.

Signed: Harold Riley


Maria, Sue, Anita and Sue serving the best chips in the world.

Tributes after death of chippy boss Neil
April 16, 2009

THE owner of a chip shop immortalised by painter Harold Riley has died from cancer. 

Tributes have poured in for Neil Bullivant, 56, who leaves behind a wife and three grown-up children.

He had run Neil's Friery on Langworthy Road, with wife Anita for more than a quarter of a century.

The Langworthy shop was once immortalised in a painting by Salford artist Harold Riley and the picture was later used in a Christmas card by the city's mayor.

Anita, 52, of Swinton, admitted she was considering giving up the business.  She said: "I'm not sure what's going to happen, I'm thinking about it.  "It was our baby really and it holds a lot of memories. Neil was a character.  "We spent so much time together, most of it at Langworthy Road, although for the last few years he was too poorly.  "He was still there behind the scenes, though. He had a bad heart and then he got the cancer diagnosis just before Christmas and they gave him six months to live.  "The place was run by girls and there were ten of us, plus Neil. 
"He used to think that he was the manager, but he wasn't with us around.  "The girls used to say 'I want this or that doing' and he used to say 'I'm surrounded by women in the shop'.  "He would always have a laugh about that.  "People used to ask him what his secret was for making fish and chips and he always said to them: 'If I tell you, I'll have to shoot you'.  "The shop was like a family. The girls who used to work here years ago now have their children working for us.  "That's a testimony to the kind of man that Neil was.  "And he knew all the customers. People used to come from all over the place.  "We had somebody from Preston coming in on his way home." 

Mr Riley, whose painting still hangs in the shop, said: "Neil was a man who pursued excellence in what he did.  "The fact he ran a chip shop in some ways is no different to running a restaurant.  "He kept high standards and they never dropped.  "Everybody knew his shop and had a great respect for him.  "He appeared to be introverted, but he was always a strong-minded person.  "His standards were very high.  "All of the girls who worked for him had an affection for him - they were devoted to him."

Neil bought his first chip shop in Blackley from an uncle before moving to Langworthy Road.

The shop moved across the road in 2003 to make way for a park and church as part of the regeneration of Langworthy.