For decades, the horse-drawn Woodend bread cart was a much-loved sight around the district.
Bert Gagiero started a bakery in 1863 in High Street and delivered to Newham, Cobaw and Hesket twice a week, buying eggs and butter from his customers. His family ran the business for many years.
A well-known bread carter was Percy Godden, who worked for G.M. Gagiero from 1918 until the early 1960s.
In 1893, Richard Nicholson built a bakery next to Keatings Hotel (now Holgate’s). In 1897, Nicholas Jongebloed took it over until 1920. The bakery changed hands fairly often before 1937, when Alice Jongebloed became the owner. Later it changed hands again and eventually closed in the early 1970s.
Jack Styles, born in 1918, used to work at the bakery on Saturday mornings. He used to run up and down in bare feet in the big vats to help knead the dough.
In Ashbourne, Alison Tozer and children of the Coutts family on Falloons Road used to snack on loaves delivered into boxes at farm gates, until someone caught them. Alison’s pocket money was curtailed for some time.
In the Woodend Star, in 1937, an unknown admirer penned a poem ‘Lines to a Woodend Baker’:
Oh Baker man I saw your light at twelve and one and now it’s two:
I wonder if you work all night – Dear me – the whole night through!
That should be pondered when I spread Butter on my piece of bread.
I’d like to think you quit, Turn in, curl up as warm as toast
By three or half past three at most. But all the same it seems to me
That when we sit at breakfast, lunch or supper … and while we
calmly munch the bread you bake for us, we ought
To spare you at least one kind thought.
This article appeared in the February 2022 edition of The New Woodend Star.