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Golden anniversary for Golden House, the first Chinese takeaway in Bury St Edmunds

A little known fact about Bury St Edmunds is that it can lay claim to having the first Chinese takeaway in East Anglia.

Golden House, in Guildhall Street, opened 50 years ago when Hong Kong-born Charles Chung saw an opportunity to build on success he had enjoyed with a restaurant in Chelmsford.

Back in 1969, the year of the Moon landing and when The Beatles released Abbey Road, the concept of a takeaway was largely unheard of outside London. But half a century on, its legacy is secure.

Golden boy Charles Chung is known to many in Guildhall Street (7252024)
Golden boy Charles Chung is known to many in Guildhall Street (7252024)

Mr Chung, now a 73-year-old grandfather to eight, told the Bury Free Press this week that the business was helped in its early stages by how well-known he was in the town, as he had previously worked with the Golden Palace restaurant.

“In those days it did not really happen in the same way, and it took around 10 months for us to become established,” he said. “But I had already been in town for several years so people knew me. And they found the takeaway service could be of some help if they had no food to cook, or they were entertaining friends. It also helped we are next door to the (Black Boy) pub, and within two or three years of opening people could see we were doing well.”

Mr Chung, whose brother Patrick is a former mayor of St Edmundsbury and still a local councillor, has been officially retired 13 years but still visits the restaurant daily to check things are ticking over. His niece Fong Ho is now manager.

They have no plans to celebrate the 50 year anniversary as such, but are backing a Chinese New Year variety show at The Apex on Tuesday, February 26. Patrick Chung, now deputy mayor, is organising the event which will raise money for charities The Lions Club Bury St Edmunds, My WiSH Charity, St Nicholas Hospice Care and Samaritans.