100 YEARS OF BAKING IN BRITAIN

with Food Historian Seren Charrington-Hollins
 

It's not surprising that in the past 100 years, baking and indeed bakeries have undergone some significant changes. 

These changes are not just apparent in the equipment and baking methods adopted by bakers, but in the tastes and changing shopping patterns of customers. 

As we peep through the bakers window from 1920 to present day, we are able to gain a fascinating snapshot of social and commercial changes that have taken place and it is also possible to see that each decade looks to be the baking heyday only to be followed by an equally fascinating and innovative decade of baking.

 

Take a read through Seren's introduction to baking throughout the years in Britain, and look out for future articles on each decade that will appear every month below.

 

Life Through the Baker's Window Over the Last Century

Seren Charrington-Hollins

Christmas in the 1920s 


The elevating aroma of Christmas trees lingers in the air, whilst wreaths glisten and lights twinkle as a warm glow emanates from houses filled with stockings, candles, toys, good food and the hope of Father Christmas. On the surface this description of Christmas is not that different from how we may nostalgically describe Christmas today, but this description belongs to the festivities of the 1920s.

 

Christmas in the 1920s - A Roaring Success

CHRISTMAS LANTERN

The 1920s 


This was an exciting period for commercial and home bakers alike, with plenty of cooking innovations making the task of baking easier and more efficient....

 

Baking in the 1920s - The Decade that Roared

1920 GAS FIRED STOVE RESIZED

The 1930s 


This era spelled mixed fortunes for baking and the bakery industry....

 

Baking in the 1930s - The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread

SLICED BREAD MACHINE

The 1940s 


The baker was a much loved asset of every village and town in Great Britain being a source of sweet and savoury nourishment, but as the war continued the baker was about to become a vital lifeline for the home-front.

 

Baking in the 1940s - Community Spirit

1940s baking

The 1950s 


The eating habits of the 1950s is a tale of two parts, the first part of the 1950s was marred by the austerity of post war rationing and the second half was marked by a craving for all things sweet and indulgent.

 

Baking in the 1950s - A Time for Rebuilding

Eccles Cakes

The 1960s 


Being an independent baker in the 1960s was all about being adaptable to change. There was a high consumer demand for cakes, but there was also a change in how the Great British public went about getting their weekly cake fix.

 

Baking in the 1960s - A Colourful Bakers' Dozen

1960s LADY HOME BAKING

The 1970s 


The 1970s was a decade of flamboyant change that saw decimalisation, flared trousers, glam rock and digital watches. The independent shops were still going strong, although self-service was gaining strength.

 

Baking in the 1970s - Breadlum & Shortages

Baking Bread

The 1980s 


The 1980s independent bakery was still a place of great baking pride, even with an increase in the domination of supermarkets and the growth of in-store bakeries.

 

Baking in the 1980s - A Slice of Paradise in a Changing World

Supermarket

The 1990s 


The decade of raves, grunge and the Spice Girls was a dramatic one for British food trends and independent bakers alike. The 1990s bakery window was still quite traditional, but it was this decade that saw us fall in love with ring doughnuts topped with bright shades of topping....

 

Baking in the 1990s - Spice Girls and Cinnamon Swirls

Coloured Ring Donuts

The 2000s 


After worries of the Millennium bug, the year 2000 arrived and without too many technological issues. Gourmet cupcakes were everywhere we looked, and cupcake fervor marked the 2000s.

 

Baking in the 2000s - Cupcakes and Red Velvet Dreams

Red Velvet Cake

The 2010s 


Where vanilla slices and chocolate éclairs had once ruled supreme, 2010 saw bakery windows filled with brightly coloured sponges, iced doughnuts and delectably dense brownies. A new craze was just emerging, as this decade dawned, that of the whoopie pie.

 

A Decade of Changing Tastes

Whoopie Pie

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