Queues formed outside a famous pie and mash shop in Shepherd’s Bush as customers tucked into its popular food for the last time.
A. Cooke’s Pie and Mash shop, which has been run by the same family since the rule of Queen Victoria and had a long part in the history of the area, closed its doors for the final time on Saturday.
It sparked an out-pouring of lamentation as customers took to social media to pay tribute to the cherished shop and bid it farewell.
The traditional pie, mash, liquor and eels business was founded in 1899 and has been based in Goldhawk Road since 1934, but has been forced to shut after being served a compulsory purchase order as part of the development of the nearby market and surrounding area.
Owner Mike Boughton, 63, said: “Saturday was a very emotional day. This business was established by my great grandfather 115 year ago. I was absolutely amazed at the amount of people that turned up to buy my food and wish me good luck.
“So I was full of mixed feelings. I’ve been here 48 years, all my working life, since I was a boy.”
Cooke’s has been a mainstay of QPR fans on their way to or from a big game at Loftus Road, and was the cafe featured in The Who’s Mod classic Quadrophenia.
Guitarist Pete Townshend dropped into the cafe while filming to enjoy some of Cooke’s classic food with the main actor Phil Daniels, and David Beckham is also known to be a fan.
Mr Boughton’s wife Audrey thanked those who supported them: “We served hundreds and hundreds of customers on Saturday, it was like that all week. People were queueing at 8am on Saturday and we don’t open until 10.30am. It’s unbelievable for a small business.”
On Twitter, customers paid tribute to the business. One wrote: “A sad day indeed... My nan will be gutted when I tell her,” and another said: “Great day at @cookespies thank you for the best breakfast a man could want.”
Even Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter took to the social networking site, posting an image of the queues snaking out of the shop and onto the street.
Mr Boughton is hoping to relocate, and a petition set up by QPR fans - asking club chairman Tony Fernandes to allow Cook’s to open at Loftus Road - has 1,249 signatures.
He said: “I never envisaged selling my business at this stage of my life but it was something that was pushed upon me so going forward is new territory for me.
"I worked with my grandparents, my parents and my sister and I have a daughter who would have loved to have taken over.”
Daley Tyndale said on the petition: “Best pie and mash in west London needs to stay in west London,” while Andrew Griffiths said: “Been at the heart of Shepard’s Bush for as long as I can remember and would really add to the character of QPR/Loftus Road.”
And Lisa Collins wrote: “My dad aged 76 travelled from Ruislip to the Bush today (25/07/15) last day of trading to bring us all back pie and mash for our tea - what a legend, come on Rangers don’t let this institution die.”