Friday, 8 August 2014

This is how the world will end in Essex — not with a bang but a Wimpy…

What is it about Essex and Wimpy restaurants? The brand was created by American Eddie Gold in 1934 and the first 'Wimpy Bar' was opened in the West End by Lyons in 1954. For a time they thrived as Britain's first only fast food restaurants. Indeed some of my childhood was mispent visiting the Wimpy in Brentwood High Street. But then McDonald's arrived in the 1980s and I'd assumed they'd all been closed down. Yet during my recent visit to Upminster I spotted the Wimpy there still prospering. A bit of a Life on Mars moment. I've also come across branches at Barking, Romford, Basildon, Grays, Colchester, Maldon, Witham, Wickford, Braintree and just about everywhere else in God's Own County. Wimpy Mania is something I first remarked upon in my book The Joy of Essex. The Benfleet Wimpy was even chosen as the site of a relaunch by new owners Famous Brands in 2007 featuring, somewhat improbably, Geoffrey Hayes of Rainbow dressed as Mr Wimpy. When Essex falls in love with something it remains incredibly loyal to the brand. In fact I'm sure there's a few Neolithic axehead shops still thriving in the backstreets of Grays…


  1. Fail. Barking, Romford, & Upminster are in London, not Essex.
    I hope the school you went to has shut for good, cos they couldn't teach for toffee.

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