The Woodman and Bakery

This is now a private house, but was a working bakery until 1988 and had one of the last remaining coal-fired bread ovens left in England. The oven no longer works, as the chimney has been taken down. However, its iron door with the writing "Improved Coal Oven" can still be seen in the kitchen, and the 20-foot brick building which housed it still sticks out 20 feet into the back garden.

The Woodman is the oldest part of the building. This was first a pub, then an off-licence, and has the date 1735 marked in stone over the front door. It was originally thatched. If you look carefully at the faded letters underneath the house name, you can still see the words OFF LICENCE.

The Bakery was built in 1904. The last baker - Stanley Kew - used to get up at 5 in the morning to light the fire, then go up to the attic to look at the stars while the oven was getting warm. At Christmas time, people used to bring their turkeys to the bakery to be cooked.

The iron nameplate - Stanley Kew, Baker - is still on the wall. And if you look in the brick to the left of the stable door (where people used to come in to buy bread), you can see where generations of children have carved their names.

Photographs © David Dugan 2005

Next door to the Woodman is...