THE man who kept the art of the old-fashioned fishmonger alive in Windsor for 30 years has shut up shop for the last time.

Joe O'Driscoll, 71, has retired after running his fishmongers shop in St Leonard's Road since the late 1980s.

It has been hard work. He said: "It meant being up at 3.30 every morning to go to the Billingsgate fish market and the shop stayed open till 6pm.

"The old Billingsgate was something else, wonderfully Dickensian. If you went into someone's office the rickety old stairs would creak and all the men who worked there would be diabolically rude to you - but it did not mean a thing."

He began his working life at Slough market, opening his first shop in Chalvey in 1975. He went on to create a mini-empire, with shops in Hayes and Middlesex before opening up in Windsor.

But then he made a decision.

"It was either a case of going on getting bigger or not getting bigger - and I decided not to. I found that when you have people working for you, you end up not being your own boss.

"I had taken on a number of people who had lost their jobs when the old Mac Fisheries chain closed down. They all retired and I decided to focus on the Windsor shop."

Mr O'Driscoll says he will miss his customers and says many were upset at his decision to retire. But now he can enjoy the garden at the home in St Leonard's Hill he shares with his wife Tricia and he has even become a rugby fan.

The couple have three children and their four grandchildren are regular visitors now that Grandad is at home.

His old shop stands empty and Mr O'Driscoll has not found a buyer yet - but he knows it will not be a fishmonger. His retirement really does mark the end of an era.