The founder of the business was John Newstead c1835-1913. He came to Ely after serving with the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, with whom he saw service in India during the Indian mutiny. On leaving the army, he came to Ely as the Bishops butler, and lived in a house called “Lucknow” which is still standing in Downham Road Ely on the corner with Upherds Lane. In 1888 he left the Bishop’s service to open his own fish, Poultry and Game business in the small single story building on Butter Market, shown in this the photograph, where by this time it is shown as P Newstead. Percy Newstead was John’s son and is seen here with bowler hat, moustache and rabbit in hand.
Before following his father into the business, Percy had been a professional Rackets player living in London, the young Winston Churchill had been one of his pupils. Whilst running the fish business, Percy became the landlord of the Dolphin Public House, this caused amusement in the town as he was said to be the only tea total landlord the town had ever had. During this period, Percy moved the business into larger premises on the west side of what is now called Dolphin Lane.
Percy’s eldest son John (Jack) was called up to serve in the Grenadier Guards on 14th March 1917. At the end of the war he came back to open his own wet and fried fish shop in Soham. In 1942, Percy called Jack back to Ely to run that shop whilst his younger brother Percy Havelock (Pimmy) was serving in the Army. Colin was a third brother of Jack and Pimmy and worked as a butcher for the Co-op until he joined the fish business after the Second World War.