Earliest recollections go back to the early 18th Century to my great great grandmother who had a small corner shop typical of that era selling all sorts of consumables and, with the aid of a brick built natural fuel fired oven, use to bake her own bread to retail. This shop then passed down to my great grandmother who continued to bake her own bread. This picture is actually of 3 generations of the Sexton family, my great grandmother, my grandfather Thomas and my late father, Sydney as a babe in arms. This picture dates back to around 1925.
The Six Generations
Thomas was originally an engineer but during the First World War probably because of his family history became a baker in the Army mixing great troughs of bread using 280lb bags of flour at a time, all mixed by hand!. When he left the Army he found he could not fulfil his ambition of becoming a ‘Tackler’ in the local cotton mills and so decided to continue the family tradition and turned to baking.
My father, Sydney left school at 14 and was due to join Rolls Royce in Barnoldswicke as an apprentice draughtsman. There was a three month period before he was due to join Rolls Royce and so he joined his father baking. Thomas contracted pleurisy and my father stood in while he recovered. He then found he was interested in the trade and remained with his father, taking private tuition to develop his cake decorating skills and going to night school to pass his City & Guilds. The 2nd World War enforced his departure from his fathers business placing him in the Co-op in Nelson to produce much needed bread supplies while many of his friends were conscripted into the Army or the mines. After the end of the war Sydney worked as foreman in several bakeries around the Lancashire area gaining further skill and experience.
He turned out to be a bit of an entrepreneur, he produced his own bread and wholesaled to his mother and other small shops. Here he can be seen sitting on his motorbike, the sidecar of which he built into a box which he racked out to take trays of bread, and he used this for deliveries.
Both Thomas and my grandmother Sarah were widowed at an early age, in fact Sarah’s husband William Rennie Cork was killed by enemy fire on armistice day in the First World War. Thomas and Sarah married and this picture is of my grandmother Sarah stood in front of the Bakery shop they opened in Nelson.
Eventually his experience brought him to Liverpool to work as Departmental manager for a company that were finest bakers and confectioners in the country at this time, Sayers of Liverpool. Sayers used to be a family run concern and in this era, 1951, quality was paramount even though they had 100 shops and over 2,000 employees. Dad is pictured in the image above, top row far right with some of the Sayers management team.
Syd remained with them for 16 years moving up through the managerial levels. From here he moved to British Bakeries as Regional Confectionery Development Manager. He remained there for 4 years until his friend, Ranks Regional Sales Manager Andy Anderson told him of a shop he had seen in Lymm, ‘Moodys’. In 1969 Syd and Audrey bought the four shop business. Here’s a picture of Mum and Dad in the 60’s.
The business has remained in the family since 1969, with Syd retiring at 65, but he continued to do a couple of days a week mainly bookkeeping until his death in 2007. The business is now run by the myself, the 5th Generation, Philip and my wife Sara. The picture above shows Sara and I in party mood, no they are not bakery hats!
I always wanted to follow in the family trade and joined my father from school. I completed a three year advanced City and Guilds baking and confectionery course completing both levels with distinction. We have two children, Daniel and Samantha,
Daniel is a computer programmer, having completed his University degree, gaining a first with honours. Samantha has now returned to us after her wedding to Paul Jennings, (picture from the wedding above, which also features our Grandson and my Mother), all be it part time (well when she feels like it really!!) It is great to have her back with us, continuing the family tradition.
Samantha has a young son, Theodore Sydney Sexton who may one day become the 7th Generation, you never know!