The Wetherby Whaler group, the Yorkshire-based fish & chip shop chain, is to acquire the original Harry Ramsden’s restaurant in West Yorkshire and invest £500k to return it to its “former glories”. Harry Ramsden’s announced last year that it was to close its original Guiseley branch, the first restaurant it opened in the UK, after 83 years in business. Phillip Murphy, who owns the four-strong Wetherby Whaler chain, said: “The famous fish and chip restaurant in Guiseley is the spiritual home of fish and chips in England. It would be a national scandal if it were to close at this time of economic uncertainty. “The new Wetherby Whaler in Guiseley will be our flagship restaurant. We expect it to recapture the atmosphere and flavours of Harry Ramsden’s best years.” Boparan Ventures, the owner of the iconic Harry Ramsden’s brand, is currently exploring opportunities to open local fish & chip shop sites under franchise across the UK. The 35-strong chain, which is led by Joe Teixeira, plans to develop franchisee “local chippies” and believes there could be 500 to 1,000 of these. Last year, the company embarked on an extensive round of consumer research in order to find out how the brand was currently perceived and is set to incorporate the findings goings forward. It plans to refurbish its estate and expand the brand extensively in the UK, with a 100-strong estate of restaurants a mooted target.