Saturday, July 28, 2012
Now this is just some photograph that I happened to spot in a 1909 co-op magazine, the Manchester & Salford Herald, whilst researching something else. Well 1909 was the 50th year of the Manchester & Salford Equitable Co-Op Society so there would a jubilee history published that year. So I didn't take any details of why these bakers from the M&S are posing for the photographer in the Municipal Technical College.
I'm presuming this is the college that became UMIST, and now is integrated into Manchester University. For all I know that room with white brickwork might still exist it one of the older buildings on Whitworth Street. What a fine display of craft baking buns, cobs and bloomers. The large round loaves that break into four farls look particularly good.
It's not possible to say if this was a typical bread offer at the time. It is a demonstration of skill. The co-op societies always stressed their hygienic methods and unadulterated bread. Those bad practices bedevilled the working classes from obtaining a proper loaf throughout the 19th Century. Twenty odd year later this would probably look quaint as the sliced bread revolution swept the USA and came to Britain shortly afterwards.
Notice that there is no baton shaped bread. Can't remember when the staple shape of French bread made its appearance in the supermarkets. Definitely in the early 1980's in Chorlton.
There is a good article in The Atlantic magazine : "The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread: A Brief History of Sliced Bread. Has some good pictures including an illustration of the 1928 patent for the slicing machine.