Manze arrived in Britain from the hillside village of Ravello in Southern Italy in 1878, at the age of 3. The Manze family settled in Bermondsey, first trading in ice and ice-cream, with Michele branching out into the pie, mash & eels trade in 1902, when he acquired his first shop from the legendary Cooke family, as it had been established in 1891 by Robert Cooke. This shop, at 87 Tower Bridge Road, Bermondsey, is open to this day, and as such it claims to be the oldest eel & pie shop in the world. It was joined by a second shop at 250 Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey in 1908 (now closed), and two further shops in Poplar, which were lost during World War Two. A fifth shop at 105 Peckham High Street was opened in 1927. A final shop is at 226 High Street, Sutton. Only the Tower Bridge Road, Peckham and Sutton shops are still open today.
It is a fantastic history, but your author finds the eclectic list of celebrity endorsements equally intriguing. Did you know that Janine and Sonia from 'Eastenders' were interviewed for 'Heat' in the Tower Bridge shop? That Roy Orbison, Jim Davidson, Danny Baker, and David Beckham are named by the owners as regulars? That Jono Coleman once hosted the Heart Radio breakfast show from in the shop? and that Rick Stein once filmed a 'Rick Stein Food Heroes' here..? Did you care..? Thought not.
For more, see http://www.manze.co.uk/