Thursday, 25 June 2015

End of An Era - Cooke's Pie & Mash to Close on 25 July

Cooke's Pie and Mash, on the Goldhawk Rd. Last Chance for Pie and Mash
An era comes to an end in the Bush as Cooke's Pie and Mash is set to close its doors on 25 July. Cooke's has been a feature of the the Goldhawk Road for over a century - but this long tradition of authentic local food will soon come to an end, once the redevelopment of Shepherd's Bush Market begins. If you would like to sample the flavour of Old Shepherd's Bush - fast disappearing beneath the bulldozers of modern development and gentrification - hurry along before they close for good.

Below is their official press release. The news is not all bad - there will still be a delivery service, but their days of trading in their traditional home are over for good. And, rather oddly, they can't even keep the name Cooke - the developer appears to be keeping that for themselves.  It does seem hard on them to lose not just their shop but also their trading name.

Cook's is part of a row of shops on the Goldhawk road which is to be demolished to make way for new build - a huge new housing and shopping development. So Cooke's days have been numbered for some time, and the shop made famous by Quadrophenia will soon be gone.

Hurry now while eels last
Cooke's is very much a part of Old Shepherd's Bush, part of a neighbourhood which is fast being transformed, ever since the sprawling new Westfield centre opened its doors in 2008.  Gentrification, which until a few years back seemed to have by-passed Shepherd's Bush entirely, has finally caught up with us, and new build is taking place in every direction. Like it or loathe it, The Bush is changing.

The plans for redevelopment of the Market have long been controversial. Where you stand on the new changes probably depends a lot of whether you miss the passing of Old Shepherd's Bush, or welcome the new gentrification.

Plans for the new market. On the right hand side is the new block of flats which will be built on the Goldhawk Rd
But will Cooke's Pie and Mash actually have to go?  The plans for the development are currently being held up by legal challenges, and a new hearing at the High Court is scheduled for Tuesday 28 July. Until the legal issues are resolved, the current standoff between stallholders and Orion, the developer, will continue.

All this will go - if plans go ahead.
If the stallholders lose, it not just Cooke's that will disappear (though, according to the Daily Mirror, the owners have accepted a "seven figure sum" to sell up). The whole parade of shops lining the Goldhawk Road will be demolished, to make way for the blocks of flats which are the currency which will pay for the market refurbishment.

To see what the Goldhawk road development will look like, take a look at the photo below. They don't look too bad - though it would be nice if the developers could make more of an effort to honour the Victorian heritage of our neighbourhood. Why does the new building have to be in the modern style? - Why not build in a more traditional fashion, in keeping with its surroundings?

It is also not at all clear why the new building could not have a Pie and Mash shop in exactly the same place as it always has been, but in newer, shinier premises.

The Goldhawk road - artists' impression
New flats aren't necessarily a bad thing.  London has a massive shortage of housing, so new build is essential if supply is to keep pace with demand.  But like everything else in West London these new flats will be expensive, far beyond the financial reach of most local residents. Newly built one bedroom flats in the Bush now sell for a breathtaking £500,000.

Royal Courts of Justice - where battle will be joined on Tuesday July 28. Image: Wikimedia Commons

For now, everyone is waiting for the result of the High Court hearing. In the meantime, if you would like to sign the petition calling for the row of Victorian shops, including Cooke's, to be saved, follow this link, and add your name.


The Bush Telegraph offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. Read about the Campaign to Save Hammersmith Park, find out about our new Farmer's Market, see what's on at The Bush Theatre,  find out the latest news on the future of Shepherd's Bush Market,  and the Council's plans to upgrade the Goldhawk Road and the Uxbridge Road. If you would like to contribute a story about our neighbourhood, email us at

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