Three generations of Jones’ have worked in their eponymously named fish and chip shop since they took ownership in 1962, establishing it as the oldest chip shop in Whitstable town. With traditional frying methods using beef dripping, the Jones family has provided locals, tourists and visitors with a consistent and unique taste, that people never forget.

Vivian Charles Jones was originally trained as a tool maker from South London. However, he and his wife Joyce decided to risk everything by responding to a newspaper advertisement, offering a family-run fish and chip shop for sale in seaside Whitstable.  Despite having an unrelated profession, this wasn’t as crazy an idea as it might first seem, as Vivian was familiar with the trade due to his grandma having two shops in London. This change of direction soon proved to be an inspired decision, as it combined their two loves: family and business.

In 2023, the store still looks very much the same, with the original structure and iconic sign keeping the business true to its roots. The only difference is not in the taste of the food or the design of the shop, but more interestingly, in the recent additions to the menu. With the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, deliveries of white fish from Russia have rapidly dwindled. However, with 30% of the UK’s whitefish normally imported from Russia, this resulted in skyrocketing cod prices. To combat this, VC Jones started the campaign ‘Pollocks to Putin’ and introduced battered pollock to their menu. Not only does this support the income of British fishing trawlers, but it is also a cheaper option than the cod, bringing down the cost of a traditional fish and chip supper to a much more accessible price point.

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the Jones’ had the community in their hearts when they partnered with Food Friends and The Umbrella Cafe to raise money for thousands of pounds worth of fish and chip meals. More recently they have begun to introduce vouchers for a local homeless shelter to supply meals on those evenings when the shelter is closed. Introduced during the Covid lockdown, VC Jones continues to offer home delivery, creating a safer environment for vulnerable customers. Sam Jones, the granddaughter of VC Jones, praised the lockdown deliveries for helping to “feed the community” and “boost our mental health by getting us out of the house”. The success of this scheme can be seen if you visit the shop, with a whole wall dedicated to cards thanking the worker’s efforts during the Covid lockdown.

VC Jones has established itself as an integral part of the Whitstable community, valued by locals and sought out by tourists and visitors. How wonderful it would be to see that iconic ‘VC Jones’ shop sign still here in another 60 years.