London‘s historic pie and mash shops are under threat as a 110-year-old family-owned business that has served beloved Cockney staples since the reign of George V has announced it will close next year.
George Mascall, owner of Manze’s Pie and Mash Shop in Deptford, south-east London, has revealed he will be shutting the store in 2025 and retiring to Norfolk.
Mr Mascall, 64, is a descendant of the Manze family who moved from Italy to London in the late 19th century and set up shops serving the traditional favourite Cockney dish featuring mince pie, mash and parsley and eel liquor.
The Deptford shop, which is Grade II-listed, opened in 1914 and still has vintage benches, tiling and marble tables.
Historic England has praised its ‘characteristic shopfront and tiled interior, complete with benches, tables, terrazzo flooring, display counter and servers’.
The historic Manze’s Pie and Mash Shop in Deptford, south-east London, is closing next year with owner George Mascall – whose grandfather founded the firm – intent on retiring
Pie and mash has been a favourite Cockney staple since the 19th century, with fans tucking into the treat topped with eel-flavoured liquor
Mr Mascall has worked there since 1980 – but now admits he has ‘had enough of making pies’, saying: ‘I’m looking forward to retiring, I’m not going to lie about that.’
He is a grandson of Michele – or ‘Michael’ – Manze, who left the Italian town of Ravello in 1878 and first set up an ice cream firm in London before going into the pie trade.
Such was his success that a series of follow-up shops were opened across the capital, with at one time as many as three operating under the Manze name, run by other family members including the original founder’s brothers.
There are currently three being run by the firm M. Manze Pie and Mash – one near Tower Bridge, another in Peckham and a third which opened in Sutton in 1998.
They are operated by distant relatives of Mr Mascall, who inherited his Deptford shop from parents Sheila and George, who both recently died.
He had actually intended to pursue a scholarship as a tuba player at the Royal College of London, but decided to wait a few years because there were ‘only a full-time positions for tuba players in London’ – and now says: ‘Forty years later, I’m still here making pies.’
The Deptford store was used during filming for BBC series Rock And Chips, a spin-off prequel to classic London sitcom Only Fools And Horses.
Mr Mascall, who will be retiring to Norfolk with 65-year-old wife Rosemary, said the outlet ‘hadn’t changed at all’ over the decades.
Other pie and mash shops closing in London in recent years have included another in Deptford, A.J. Goddard Pie and Mash. The store, which featured on Bake Off and attracted fans such as rapper Professor Green and Hollywood actor Idris Elba, shut in 2018 after 128 years
A.J. Goddard Pie and Mash is seen back in the early 20th century
F. Cooke’s eel and pie house was forced out of London’s East End in 2022 after falling trade
Staff at Manze’s Eel and Pie Shop on Holloway Road in North London in 1975
A throwback picture of M Manze’s pie and mash shop on Tower Bridge Road after being damaged by a Nazi bomb
M Manze on Southwark Park Road back in the early 20th century
Singer Tommy Steele enjoys his pie and mash lunch during a rehearsal break at the Old Vic
Singer Pete Townsend and actor Phil Daniels are seen at Cooke’s Pie & Mash shop in Shepherd’s Bush
Yet he also suggested the historic tradition of London’s pie and mash offerings was now at risk, with more closures threatened across the capital
He told Southwark News: ‘All those years ago, if you wanted a meal out or a takeaway out it was fish and chips or pie and mash.
‘There wasn’t Indian, Chinese, Thai or whatever – now you walk up and down the high street and every other shop is a takeaway food shop.’
Other pie and mash shops closing in London in recent years have included another in Deptford, A.J. Goddard Pie and Mash.
The store, which featured on Bake Off and attracted fans such as rapper Professor Green and Hollywood actor Idris Elba, shut in 2018 after 128 years – with owner Simon Clarke blaming ‘gentrification’ and hipsters asking for vegan pies.
F. Cooke’s pie shop was forced to move out of London’s East End in 2022 due to a slump in trade, with store worker Chi Hart saying new local residents moving into the area ‘just want lattes and paninis’.
Mr Mascall will still be doing his best to drum up trade before finally serving his last plate.
The shop’s website tells potential customers: ‘This traditional pie and mash shop has been in the Manze family for over 100 years – still making the pies by hand, to our secret recipe, then baking them fresh every day.
‘Served with fluffy mashed potatoes and a wonderful parsley sauce, liquor, it’s the perfect old London Cockney dish.’
Staff suggest people ‘enjoy your meal with lashings of chili vinegar and a glass of hot or cold sarsaparilla’.
The food still has many fans including ex-England football captain David Beckham, who was seen filming at a Covent Garden pie and mash shop last September.
And last month he shared an online a snap of himself tucking into a plate at Tony’s Pie & Mash shop in Waltham Abbey in Essex, not far from his Leytonstone birthplace.
Another enthusiast is a woman who posted online last October that Robins Pie and Mash shop was ‘the East End’s finest pie shop’ – only for foreign foodies to respond with mockery.
But former England football captain David Beckham remains a pie and mash enthusiast, sharing photos last month as he enjoyed a dish delivered by Tony’s Pie and Mash
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, 48, often posts photos of pie and mash