Freshly delivered bread

There was time when the baker was a familiar site in every street as they visited almost every home, delivering fresh bread from a wicker basket. Until the late 1950's horse drawn bakers carts were still in regular use alongside the more modern van.

There was time when the baker was a familiar site in every street as they visited almost every home, delivering fresh bread from a wicker basket. Until the late 1950's horse drawn bakers carts were still in regular use alongside the more modern van. Luckily we still have several small local bakeries working producing their own tasty loaves, although home delivery is very rare.

Memories of one of the local bakers in Ipswich have come from Andy Gooding. Andy, who saw a photograph I featured in Kindred Spirits of a bakers cart from Percival Kenny of Ipswich, said “I have been researching the history of Cowper Street for several years and Mrs Doris 'Dimmie' Mulley, who is the daughter of Percival Kenny, has told me about life at the family bakery at the corner of Spring Road and Cowper Street. She worked in the shop and later managed it with her husband, Ebenezer, known as 'Eb', who ran the bakery. Eb was originally in the printing trade, but was persuaded by Percival Kenny to join the family business. Dimmie's brother Percy also worked in the bakery”.

“Whilst she was still at school, Dimmie remembers the horse and cart being brought down from the bakery fully loaded, waiting for her outside school, ready for her to do her 'rounds', unaccompanied, either to the surrounding countryside, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, or the town, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. On one occasion she recalls that 'the horse slipped and fell and she had a job to get it on to its feet again.”

“'The ovens were coal fired and cakes were baked during the day and bread at night. Buns were 1d each or 7 for 6d, and a fruit cake was 6d. Bread was four and a half pence per loaf (or 4 for 1s/6d) and a currant loaf was 4d. On Sundays, when the ovens were cooler, dinner was cooked in the bakery oven. Local people also brought their cakes to be cooked in the ovens during the afternoons, before the ovens were in use for baking the bread.”

“Dimmie was born above the shop and is now in her nineties. She has lived in Cowper Street for most of her life and now lives in the Shaftsbury House Residential Home in the same street, which by coincidence is where the Manse, shown in the photograph published in Kindred Spirits, once stood!”

“Terry Ward, who lived at No 6 Cowper Street, told me he was once the 'baker's boy' doing a delivery round for Kenny's in the 1950's, by 'farthing penny' trade bike with basket and stand. He thinks that the sides of the cart shown in the picture were later built up into a covered cart, which was still being used to deliver to customers in the town and east Ipswich, while he worked there. He clearly remembers the horses as their stables were adjoining his house.” Of his 'farthing penny' trade bike he recalls: 'It had a large wicker basket on the front to stand the bike upright whilst orders were being loaded and off-loaded. The loads were very large and punctures frequent. Repairs were taken to Hammonds Cycle shop on Woodbridge Road. Terry said “I earned twelve shillings and six pence a week, an amount that never changed in all the time I worked there! I gave ten shillings to my mother and kept two shillings and six pence and all the tips”.

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Terry added. “In one way or another, Kenny's Bakery and shop played a central role in my early life. Adjoining our house was the loading bay, with the stables behind, where the horses were kept. The large doors of the bakery-loading bay made a good goal for games of football! Our house shared a wall with the stables and we often heard the horses kicking. As well as the horse drawn delivery vans, which delivered to the town and east Ipswich, there was also a Trojan van which delivered into the surrounding countryside and a Morris van which serviced businesses in town. There was an oil and petrol pump and a turning circle and garages for the delivery vehicles on the bakery land adjacent to No 8 Cowper Street. There were also pig sties, an ice house and an orchard in this field.”

“Flour was kept upstairs at 2 Cowper Street, with a shoot leading down into the mixers below. The deliveries were made up in a small room to the back of the shop. This area used to be part of the house next door, it can still be identified by the blocked up door and window to the side of the shop along Spring Road. Grocery orders for delivery were also made up there. Cake orders for cafes and restaurants were made up in the room next door.

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