About Arthy's Bakery (HT)
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In 1750, Rochford had two public ovens and 70 private ovens. Each of the main streets of Rochford had bakeries, although most of these original buildings have disappeared over time.
The big ovens at the bakeries came to the fore at Christmas. The market had a good selection of turkeys, cockerels, geese and ducks in prime condition for the Christmas table. These were sold by auction and what a bargain you could get. If you bought a bird that was too big for your oven, the baker would cook it for you in his oven for a few coppers. Many a time, wives were seen leaving the bake house with the bird covered up on a pram on its way to the dinner table.
Although A. J. Arthy ran a bakery in North Street until 1959, he had a second shop from 1922 at the corner of Back Lane and South Street. This second shop was the home of one of those ovens recorded in 1750 and the oven doors are still in place, although the ovens behind have been removed to create more shop space. John Coe ran a bakery here for approaching 40 years, starting in 1823. The Playles then continued the bakery, until Arthy took over. Arthy worked a very long day, starting early at the ovens and then delivering orders throughout the afternoon, riding in his trademark van.
The building is grade II listed of 19th century appearance, with the wall on Back Lane of painted ‘Roman cement’ or render but lined-out to give a masonry effect. However, the building is timber-framed and probably older than it appears.
|2 South St
|Point of Interest, Rochford