When the bread man used to come knocking on the door
PUBLISHED: 15:47 09 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:47 09 May 2017
Last week we told you about the monster 80ft oven built by Barnards of Norwich back in 1950 to bake bread for the people of Scotland and today I thought it good to bring a little sunshine into your lives.
Sunshine Bread – a mouth-watering treat.
This is a name which those of a certain age across Norwich, Norfolk and the rest of East Anglia will remember with great affection.
Just close your eyes and think of the smell of fresh bread... and those cakes of course.
First of all there was the Sunshine Bread Company on Aylsham Road, Norwich. The delivery vans were a familiar sight on the streets of the city and county.
Then it joined forces with Matthes Bakery in Gorleston, becoming the largest private bakery business in the country.
By 1963 the latest equipment installed made the factory the most up-to-date in the country turning out more than 4,000 loaves an hour with Windmill self-raising flour.
It was delivered by a fleet of vans and Matthes, which according to the company covered more than 450,000 miles a year and a string of shops.
In Norwich there were shops at the Back of the Inns, Bridewell Alley and at 38 Magdalen Street.
At the peak of its output 350,000 loaves were being baked weekly at its factories in Gorleston and Norwich, in addition to cakes and confectionary.
Every night a fleet of articulated bulk transporters delivered its wares to 13 distribution centres in East Anglia.
In 1974 Spillers acquired the Matthes group and at the time there were around 1,800 people on the payroll.
A few years later Spillers shut the company, axing the bakery and a chain of 37 shops in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex...it was the end of an era.
Other Norwich bakeries included the big Co-op premises on Queen’s Road which turned out hundreds of loaves an hour and then there was Stannards, which started baking in the city way back in 1858 and had a much-loved shop in Castle Street. It was taken over by another well known Norwich bakery business, Ashworth and Pike.
Today Norwich is fortunate to have a great collection of smaller bakeries and coffee shops turning out a range of tasty treats but the glory days of the bread man knocking on the door with a smile and a wicker basket are over... unless you know different!
If our stories bring back memories for you or if you have any photographs to share with us, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE. Thank you.