In ‘About me‘ I wrote how my Grandfather, Edwin Barnes, must have had a very early influence on my love of good bread having died when I was about 8 years old. Here’s a photograph of him and one of his bread carts. By the time I was around the horse drawn carts had been superceded by small Ford vans with a tiny oval window in each rear door. The bake house stood on the corner of Church Street and Milner Street behind a little corner shop run by my two spinster aunts. The photographer had his back to the bake house when taking this photograph making the Black Horse on the opposite corner the backdrop.
I can’t remember a great deal about the bakery apart from the smell of raw flour, the smell of baking bread, the people working in the bakery all being covered in a fine layer of flour and the ovens being fired by coke. It wasn’t often that I didn’t leave the bake house without an iced bun in my hand.
One other thing has sprung to mind as I write this, the difference between how bread was sliced then and now. My grandmother and spinster aunts all buttered the bread before slicing it. The loaf was then clutched against their bosom and a very thin slice cut which was already buttered. Bread was always delicately thin then, I can’t ever remember seeing a doorstop slice!
15 June 2014 I’ve just come across a paper bag from the bakery. I bet there’s not another one in the world! S Barnes was my great-grandfather. He’s listed as a baker in the Southampton Kelly’s Directory of 1887, still listed in 1912, but by 1916 the listing changes to Edwin Samuel Barnes, my grand-father. Which makes this bag over 100 years old.