Monday 8th July 1952 and a special event in Guiseley "The Big Fry"
Nearly 10,000 people swarmed into the White Cross district of Guiseley tonight for Harry... Ramsdens "Big Fry" his final gesture of goodwill before he retires.
It was also the twenty first birthday party of his fish and chip restaurant.
When he sold out in May for £35,000 he promised that he would hold a celebration night and that he would turn the clock back 30 years,
"We will sell fish at a penny and chips at a halfpenny" he proudly said to a vaguely disbelieving public.
Last night showed that his promise was not a hollow one.
Never had so much salt and vinegar settled on so many fish and chips bought at so little cost.
One hundred stone of fish and nearly two tons of potatoes went into 6 pans with a resultant never ending stream of batter bound fish and glistening chips which were devoured by a slowly moving queue with three and a half pence at the ready.
Guiseley presented a spectacle that the district had never seen before.
Crowds came from Bradford, Leeds, Halifax Huddersfield and Cleckheaton in special motor coaches in cars on motorcycles, bicycles and on foot.
Twenty police men and five patrol cars equipped with microphones were called in to handle the crowds.
This was truly a fish and chip Mecca.
To entertain the queues there was Dixieland Music played by a band led by Mr. Ramsdens nephew, Harry Corbett and Martial airs from the Guiseley Brass Band and the Hammond's Sauce Works Band of Shipley.
Vocal offerings were made by the Derek Holden Rhythm Choir.
At the back of the restaurant a fun fair was in full swing.
Flash bulbs popped and TV cameras were focused on the scene.
Over all of this presided Mr. Ramsden a man whose name has become synonymous with a dish which occupies such a distinctive place in the Englishman s diet.
Harry Ramsden was a benevolent figure at 64 in a grey check suit, winged collar and a sweet pea button hole, he moved among the throng signing autographs on old newspaper scraps, fish and chip wrappers and diaries.
"Are you alright" was his cheery question to all and sundry.
People stopped him to shake his hand.
One mother thrust her freckle faced boy towards him to "shake hands with Harry"
"What do you think of it all?" I asked Mr. Ramsden
"Well" he said "I'm delighted, it is costing me about £500 but it's worth every penny of it. I have a staff of 51 working and I hope everyone gets served"
I asked him what he thought about his retirement after so many years in the fish and chip shop business.
"Well it will be a wrench" he said "but you have to retire sometime haven't you?"
Rumour has it that he is to retire to Bournemouth, but Mr. Ramsden scotched the falsity .
"I like Guiseley a lot" he said "and I am going to carry on living here. Maybe I will go to Bournemouth to have a spot of cruising. I like sailing over the fish which have given me my livelihood.
So spoke a man who set up business 26 years ago in a little wooden hut he bought for £150.
People called it a white elephant but it blossomed into what is known today as "Yorkshires finest fish and chip restaurant"
The first customers were two 20 year old twins Mavis and Wendy Raistrick of 32 King Edward Crescent, Horsforth.
Spinners on holiday they were there at 1 o'clock and sitting on the doorstep watching the queue grow to 150 yards long, until at 6.45 (a quarter of an hour before time) Mr. Ramsden opened up.
For Mavis and Wendy who were the first customers there was a cigarette lighter and a card signed by Harry as a memento.
In the first hour perspiring attendants served 1,207 customers "Just seven over my estimate" said Mr. Ramsden with a smile, and the queue still grew.
At 9.30 a column three quarters of a mile longs stretched from the restaurant doors and a shuttle bus service was run from the front to the back of the ever shifting crowd.
Fish and chips were sent to patients at Menston Hospital.
What looked to be a crowd of Cup-Final proportions watched a half hour firework display which sent rockets whizzing into the night sky.
At midnight when it was estimated that 8,000 people had been served with a "pennorth and a haporth" the queue was 400 yards long filing slowly toward the distant counters in the light of fairy lamps hanging in the Ash tree and the shops green and red neon lighting.
And the band played on.
A late arrival was BBC producer Barny Colehan an old friend of Harry's.
An amazing night at Guiseley came to an end at 1am, an hour after the scheduled time when Mr. Ramsden donned a white coat to serve the last customer, 62 year old Benny Patrick of Oxford Villas, Guiseley.
Said Mr. Patrick: "I've been a customer of Harry's ever since he opened up, and I was determined to be the last customer"