Sullivanís Bakery in 1930s Wrington
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Alan Baker had the original film, part of a collection of family home movies, digitised, and it is seen here as it was received, without any editing. The music track was added as part of the conversion to the digital version. Alan writes “John Newbury Sullivan was a Bakery Foreman in Birmingham in 1911 (when he was 25). My Great Grandfather, Charles Viner, owned one or more bakeries in Birmingham at that time, so we assume John worked for Charles. In 1922 John Sullivan married a daughter of Charles, being May Viner. We know, from Kellys, that John was in Wrington in 1935 and 1939 directories, but not listed in 1930. We also know that the Viners were in Wrington in 1900s, my grandfather Frank and rest of family were born there (but no address on census records, unfortunately). There are those living in Wrington who remember the bakery as part of their everyday lives. Some have been studying the film with the expectation of being able to name at least some of those seen - and we’d be glad to hear from anyone for whom it evokes memories. Laurence Croucher, for example, recalls how Sullivan’s bakery shop had a most impressive, deep window ledge, with the firm’s name engraved in brass. Eve Collins, née Kingcott, says that her mother was driving one of the cars seen towards the end of the film stopping outside the shop to buy bread. Her father, S.O. Kingcott, set up the garage business now known as Wrington Motors. Trevor Wedlake, who succeeded his father in running a butcher’s shop in Station Road, a few yards down from the bakery, recognises some of those appearing in the film: Mr Drew, the bakery foreman - the only man wearing a cap in the scenes of working on the dough, Arthur Badger, the foreman confectioner, the middle of the three working on cakes. He hailed from Lynton, and made Trevor’s wedding cake in 1951 ! Trevor thinks the lady in white in the packing department, was Doris Hancock, who played the harmonium at the Congregational chapel (now URC) and lived into her 90s. He remembers the names of other workers - Arthur Bond, known as ‘Primo’, after Primo Carnera because of his great size, and Arthur Marshall, although he couldn’t see them in the film. Others in the film seemed familiar, but he couldn’t put a name to their faces. He recalled that, apart from the confectioners who worked during the day, the bakers worked 6 nights a week, with Saturday night and Sunday off. Their week’s work began again on Sunday night. He also noted how the men working in the fields in the opening scenes were wearing long-sleeved shirts, to protect their arms from being scratched.   Jo Lewis (née Edwards) writes: “What a wonderful half an hour spent watching the film of Sullivan’s bakery!  I remember the shop, from when I was a small child, and the glorious smell on opening the door. Is this where my love of cakes and confectionery started as I am now a celebration cake maker myself?  Whilst watching the film, it came to me that many members of my family were living and working in the village at that time and my mother, still living in Wrington now, would have been toddling around, playing with her brothers and sisters or, depending on the actual time the film was shot, just starting school.  I couldn’t believe the size of the bakery, a true hive of industry and everyone working so well as a team (cottage loaf, one of the first loaves of bread I made during Domestic Science lessons at Churchill School).  This film is a real treasure and I absolutely loved the chance to see it and also get an insight into how the village looked and worked just 15-20 years before I was born there. My thanks go to Alan Baker for his generous gift to the Wrington website.”                                                                                   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ If you too have memories of Sullivan’s, please email them to the website at <web@wrington.info>
This film taken in the early 1930s was very kindly sent to Wrington website by Alan Baker, great-nephew of John Sullivan, the owner of the bakery. It shows wheat being harvested in the fields around the village, grain being unloaded from a wagon in Wrington railway station, all the stages of making and baking bread, deliveries around the area, customers arriving in some very impressive cars to buy bread from the shop on the corner of Broad Street and Station Road, and the workforce leaving the bakery yard to go home on foot and cycling.
The fleet of Sullivans vans in Burrington Combe pre-1939