Bread in Common

Stoke-on-Trent's real bread bakery

Interview with: Ethel - OCIS cafe

Chris Twigg

Date: 17/04/14

Location: Shelton

Interviewer: Hilary Hughes

Permission given to use interview for website, exhibition and Staffordshire archive: YES

Question asked “What do you remember about bread or bread baking”.

Oh I've made bread, when we had the strike, it was called Soda Bread, there's no yeast in that. At the time we just did it because there was no other way. Put all the ingredients ready for when I got home from work and soon after my husband would come, he would see to the tea and I'd be making the bread ready for tea. It was awful in the 70's when we had these power cuts because we never knew when it was going to go off, until some bright spark decided to do a timetable for us and then we did know. Where I was living at the time, in the flats up Tollgate at Blurton, high rise. They were owned by the company my husband worked for which was Seddons. Me mother told me the recipe, because she had a Mrs Beatons cookery book, where you take half a dozen eggs, even in the bad times, every recipe started take half a dozen or a dozen, I mean we couldn't afford anything it was all scratch, scratch, scratch. I never done it since, it wasn't white bleached flour and I do know that we soaked the ingredients, that's why I got the ingredients ready. It tasted brilliant, it did rise and if you got it just straight from the oven and you could put your butter on, it used to melt into it and the smell was fantastic. People in the flats used to say what a gorgeous smell in this flat, I ended up making it for residents as well. It was a community those flats, everybody did everything for everybody.

I was brought up on a farm, the table laden with bread. The smell absolutely fabulous, it was warm, doughy and welcoming. You can smell it when you walk past the factories today, Allied Bakeries on the way to 'Castle. We used to get the butter from the dairy, Uncle Alf would be churning it.

Windmills and Worsten Mill I used to take my children, round Norton Bridge and still the wheel is there, it works, by the canal. There must be other mills, anything with mill in the name, Millford, either a water mill or windmill.

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