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From billboards to Billingsgate

A former advertising executive has swapped his trainers for Crocs and his late nights for early mornings to fulfil his dream of opening a fishmonger’s.

John Long and his friend of 20-years Lee Bourne, an experienced fishmonger who trained at Steve Hatt in Islington and went on to work at The Chelsea Fishmonger and Jonathan Norris in Victoria Park, have opened Bourne’s Fishmongers in Highbury Barn.

It has been a nostalgic journey for John, who grew up in the area and whose late father used to own the pharmacy across the road.

John said: “Dad would have loved what we’re doing. Lee and I talked a lot about opening a fishmonger and it’s something we discussed with Dad.

“I worked in advertising ever since I left college but it meant spending long hours in the office and lots of travel and that became more difficult when my daughter was born. When the old fish shop shut down in Highbury Barn we contacted the landlord to see if we could take it on.”

The working relationship is off to a flying start as Lee teaches John the ropes and the pair take it in turns to do the 5am Billingsgate fish run. Other fish arrives daily from Cornwall. Bourne’s offers a wide variety of very fresh fish.

“We open at 10am”, added John, “so I can drop my daughter at school every day and am usually home in good time. It has changed family life a lot – my wife is able to plan her life more and Eloise, who’s five now, and I get more time together.”

Bourne’s opened at the end of June and word is already getting around. It’s not unusual to find a queue out the door on a Saturday.

They’re one of dozens of businesses offering a 10% discount to members of the Local Buyers Club, a membership club and discount card in East London which encourages people to support local and independent businesses.


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