Burdock, Patrick Leo (1900–66), fish and chip shop proprietor and republican, was born at 219 Iveagh Trust Buildings, Dublin, on 20 May 1900, to Patrick Joseph Burdock (1873–1948), the son of a general labourer, originally of Townsend Street, Dublin, and Margaret (Bella) Burdock (née Bracken) (1878–1954), a shop assistant and packer. Patrick Joseph had a variety of occupations in the early 1900s ranging from shop assistant to porter, to tailor, to labourer, eventually describing himself as a merchant by the 1930s when the family fish and chip shop was becoming more established. Leo was the second of eight children born to Patrick and Bella between 1898 and 1909, one of whom, a boy, died aged three months in 1904. It is not clear what school he attended, but since his younger brothers, William and James, are registered as attending the local St Bride's National School between 1915 and 1918, it is likely that he was also in attendance there. A close-knit family, Burdock's paternal grandmother, a Wicklow woman by the name of Mary, lived in the flat next door to the family until she died in 1903. By 1904 the Burdocks had moved the short distance to 95 Bride Street. The maternal grandmother, Ellen of Co. Tipperary, was also residing there.
In 1913 Bella, an astute businesswoman despite being semi-literate (and unable to write), opened a fish and chip shop in Inchicore in south west Dublin, and named it after her eldest son. Living on the edge of the district known as 'Little Italy' which stretched from Werburgh Street east towards Whitefriar Street, she might well have been inspired by the numerous Italian-run fish and chip shops close to her home. From an early age Burdock helped out with the business by collecting the fish and potatoes every morning from the city markets on his horse and cart. In 1916 the Burdocks opened a second shop close to their home in Werburgh Street, and over the next two decades they expanded the business to include a further five shops around the south inner city including the districts of Rialto, Dolphin's Barn, Marrowbone Lane and Cornmarket. The idea apparently was to leave one shop to each of their children, and while the sons managed the various businesses in the early years, the 1940s proved a difficult time due to shortages of food and other raw materials such as coal. By the late 1950s all but the Werburgh Street shop had closed.
From a political perspective, the period from 1916 to 1922 was a coming of age time for Burdock who, as a sixteen-year-old youth, had witnessed first-hand the Easter rebellion as it unfolded in Dublin. Moved by what he saw in the ensuing years, he joined the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in November 1920 to fight for Irish independence. He was a private in C. Company III Battalion, and as a 'very efficient volunteer … always ready for action' (Military Service Pensions Collection), Burdock carried out armed patrols of the C. Company district of the south inner city. In April and May 1921, he was involved in a number of ambushes on Black and Tan lorries at Redmond's Hill, Grafton Street, Harcourt Street and Dartmouth Road where he fired shots and lobbed bombs and hand grenades into the moving vehicles. After the war of independence Burdock continued fighting in the civil war on the anti-treaty side and in September 1922 was involved in two attacks on the intelligence department of the Free State Army at Oriel House, Westland Row. At the end of the war Burdock was arrested and imprisoned for a short spell in Mountjoy gaol.
After the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922 Burdock's involvement with the republican movement continued. When the IRA took the decision to support the transport workers in a major strike against the Dublin United Tramway Company in March 1935, the government ordered the arrests of over forty prominent IRA members including Burdock, who subsequently served six months in the Curragh military prison. The Burdock family supported his involvement in the republican movement and evidence from the national press suggests they had strong republican allegiances. Two of the Burdock brothers, James and Joseph, were arrested in 1934 and 1941 respectively, for possession of arms and ammunition. In the latter case a pram containing revolvers, rifles, hand grenades and ammunition was found during a police search of the fish and chip shop at Marrowbone Lane. Joseph, when questioned over the find, denied knowledge but claimed responsibility in order to keep his father's good name intact.
On his release from prison at the age of thirty-five, Burdock met Annie Doyle, a messenger's daughter from Griffith Terrace, South Earl Street, in the Liberties. Despite being the second eldest of his siblings, Burdock was among the last to wed and on 13 September 1937 he married Annie at the nearby St Catherine's church, Meath Street. After the wedding Burdock moved from Marrowbone Lane to set up home with Annie at Griffith Terrace and it was at this address that he remained for the rest of his life. In 1946 he applied for and was awarded a military service pension of £21, 11s. per annum for his IRA service. This helped maintain financial stability for his family after the closure of most of their shops in the aftermath of the war. It was a welcome addition to the Burdock household income since Annie had just given birth to their only child, a son named Brian. Despite challenges from rivals, particularly in the 1950s when many Italian-owned 'chippers' opened in Dublin, 'Leo Burdock's' on Werburgh Street continued to prosper.
In 1954 Burdock's mother Bella, then resident at 28 Southern Cross Avenue, Inchicore, died from cancer in Harold's Cross Hospice. Her son continued to work in the family shop until he died on 23 September 1966, also from cancer. He was survived by his wife Annie and son Brian, and after his funeral mass in St Catherine's, Meath Street, was buried with full military honours from the 'old IRA' in Mount Jerome cemetery. Annie died twelve years later on 25 November 1978, at which point the running of by-then famous Werburgh Street chipper was continued by Brian and his cousin Paddy Burdock. Towards the end of the twentieth century the company name was sold to a franchise and a number of Leo Burdock outlets opened up around the city, the first of which was in Rathmines in 1994.