A Deptford café, which has been present for 128 years, will be nothing more than a memory next month.

Just 20 years ago the working class would queue outside AJ Goddard’s Pie and Mash on the high street for home-cooked food.

Loyal customers still drip through today, but they are few and far between. Some walls are leaking and the Goddard family cannot afford the repairs.

Hence, the final trading day is October 7 before Lewisham Council reclaim the building.

These days the traditional café is managed by Simon Clarke, 48, who gets up at 5am, six days a week to catch a train from Bromley to prepare the food.

He told News Shopper: “I must admit there are mornings I wish I didn’t get out of bed because my clientele has disappeared. It is not what it used to be.”

His face brightened a little when he said those who do come in make it worthwhile.

“We have a good laugh,” Simon said. “Most customers I class as family and friends. They have got to know me and I have got to know them. It is wicked.”

Some have been coming in for 50 years to enjoy pie and mash for a modest £3.50. Others travel from Maidstone, Rochester and even Wales.

READ MORE - Regular of AJ Goddard Pie and Mash shop gutted to see it close

Simon said: “Sometimes I throw in a cup of tea for people. I’m like that. I will help anyone out.”

The history of Goddard’s goes back to 1890 when it began trading in Evelyn Street before relocating to the high street in 1964.

“It’s going to be a sad day,” Simon said of the closure. “I will have a tear in my eye. Nothing I can do.

“I think I might throw a party, go out with a bang,” he laughed.

Simon continued: “Customers are up in arms. We should be part of the furniture. But I think it is all about money.”

Goddard’s saved Simon from a life of uncertainty and the past 22 years have kept him from harm's way.

But the Croydon-born man who fell in love with Deptford hopes to one day reopen the café in Sidcup.

“Most of the people who grew up here have moved down to Kent anyway,” he said. “I need to find the right place. Maybe it could be a blessing.

“My customers are sweet as a nut about it.”

In the meantime Simon is enduring an emotional final few days.

“A few people have said I will be sorely missed when I’m gone,” he said. “But I will come back and say hello. I’m not gone for good.”

Finally, Simon quipped that most people who now walk past the café don’t even know what pie and mash is.

“I’m still eating it after all these years, so it can’t be that bad,” he laughed.