Landers Bakery

History, Memories, Closure

By Jim Cairns

I have many memories of Landers having worked there for many years.

Workforce

The workforce at Landers were magnificent despite all the industrial disputes of the 70's, and the changing management. The remaining original Landers employees always had a good memory of the Landers family (different to Blanchards where the family were universally disliked).

Owners & Take overs

I believe Landers was bought in 1949 by W.J.Brookes and Sons Ltd of Skerton Road, Manchester because according to the wdbv (written down book value)books, Leeming Street shop and Kirkby shop were transferred in 1949, and Landers were paid £75,000  for the bakery and business, (a lot of money then). Blanchards were in the running but failed to buy, that would have meant the end of Landers then because they only wanted bakeries to fill their plants.

Blanchards succeeded in buying Browns Bakery (at the time of a similar size to Landers) on Chesterfield Road and closed it down. Ranks (became RHM) were also in the area and bought Wileys (I think that was the name) Bakery in Mansfield Woodhouse at the side of the police station and when W.J.Brookes and Sons were taken over by Ranks the Bakery in Woodhouse became a production unit for Landers Bakery and it produced the celebration cakes and the crusty (Vienna) breads. When Landers closed the confectionery, production manager Fred Harrison who had started work in the Woodhouse Bakery as a boy was still working at Landers

Four Seasons Cake

When the Four Seasons Shopping Centre opened [1977] Landers provided a massive cake showing the Four Seasons. It was so big it was delivered on, I think, two or three pallets. It was repaired, as the icing cracked during transport in the centre. I was one of the people detailed to stand guard over it to stop the kids sticking their fingers in it. The Chad came and took photos.

Closure
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Landers Bakery' page

On 9th March 1981 Employees were sent a letter informing them it was proposed to close Landers Bakery on 13th June 1981.

 

 

Newspaper Headlines

Headlines appeared in the Mansfield Newspapers 'Redundancy For 320 Workers'

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Landers Bakery' page

Mansfield & Sutton Recorder March 12 1981

'Big Jobs Shock for Mansfield'

 

 

Union Newspaper

An article appeared in the Union Newspaper:

'

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Landers Bakery' page

The Death of a Bakery - Landers Red Seal - Mansfield Branch 362' In the final paragraph of this article were thanks to the Union Team at Landers Red Seal who it said were second to none and deserved to have their names mentioned: - Bernard Jarvis, George Beedon, Tom Farnsworth, Graham O'Hara, Martin Whatmore, Keith Edens, Kev Roberts, Tony Austin, Ken Worboys, Chris Gleave, Brian Wells, Peter Simpson, Dick Witty, Kath Swales, Steve Austin, Gill Flynn.

A Bit of  a Rumpus

Photo:Unknown newspaper 28 May 1981

Unknown newspaper 28 May 1981

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Landers Bakery' page

Mansfield & Sutton Recorder 28 May 1981

 

The Bakery did in fact close in March 1981 not June as suggested in the letter to employees, this was all to do with the redundancy of employees. So it was not surprising there was a bit of a rumpus in May 1981 when there was a temporary re-opening of the Bakery in Oxford Street and once again Landers made the Newspapers Headlines.

2011 - Thirty Years on

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Landers Bakery' page

It is now 30 years since Landers closed, all that remain are memories.

Jim Cairns.

This page was added on 10/03/2011.
Comments about this page

Many thanks Jim for this information about Landers - my grand parents business. I love hearing and reading about it all and find it very sad it was 'lost'. I am pleased that my family were well thought of. I am slowly collating my family history so it will add to the knowledge for my daughter and son and future generations.

By Carole Clark
On 16/03/2011

Having experienced life on both sides, I can see why Landers had to close their doors. With the advent of the Supermarkets in the early 1960's, bakeries were losing money,hand over fist.... Because of the success of the Supermarkets, the corner shops were disappearing by the hundreds...Not only were the corner shops closing,so were the Newsagents, the Tobacconists, the Butchers, the Bakers, the Florists, the Grocers, the chemists, the Petrol Stations, the Cheese shops, the Pie shops,the Fishmongers,the Fruit and Veg shops,and many many more...In the first instance,the Supermarkets allowed the major brand bakeries to supply their requirements. Nevertheless, it was not long before the Supermarkets put in their own small ovens and baked bread themselves...However, they could not supply the amount of sliced bread required by the public..therefore the major brands were chosen to supply the Supermarkets,but at a price,a higher discount was required ! This took it's toll on the bakeries like Landers, Blanchards, and even Mothers Pride. Bakeries were closing at an alarming rate during the 60's and 70's...Landers did exeptionally well to survive as long as they did. This of course was happening all over the country And so my fellow workers, please don't blame the management, they did a wonderful job. Nor can one blame the unions, they were trying to look after your interests... I know, I also used to be a Shop Steward ! My very best wishes to you all....A.C.

By alan curtis
On 16/03/2011

Memories... I joined the staff of Landers in May 1949 as a Vanboy. I was chosen by Jack Pearson to go with Digger Townroe on round 7, the Hucknall round. What a great choice for my introduction to the Bakery industry. Digger met his wife Violet to be, in a shop that we delivered to named Hunters. She worked there as an assistant. For some reason, after a quite a long spell with Digger, I was moved up the ranks of the vanboys to go on the top round with Ken Fearn. This was known as the Shirebrook round... Ken himself, eventually became the Sales Manager of Landers, with a further promotion to Sales Director of British Bakeries at Park House. Manchester. I was with Ken for about 2 years,working hard, but loving every minute...The memory that will stick with me forever is... The day we went to Cresswell Colliery on the day of the Pit disaster, must have been in 1950. I believe there were 80 miners who died in that disaster. Of course we had to deliver to the pit canteen, but I shall never forget the look on the families faces who were waiting for news of their loved ones...There were hundreds of people there waiting.

By alan curtis
On 16/03/2011

It is a well known fact that if a company wishes to increase sales... One way to do it is to bring out a new line or product...So it was in 1955 that British Bakeries brought out a new slimming loaf " Nimble "...The launch of the loaf was greatly advertised on Television and posters. The Television program showed a slim young lady in a Hot Air Balloon.... In addition to the T.V.advertising, British Bakeries offered five top prizes of £100 to the five top salesmen who sold the most over an eight week period... This involved all the bakeries throughout R.H.M. Landers took two of the five prizes.!!!!

By alancurtis
On 04/04/2011

Further to my previous comments regarding bakery closures, and to show that Landers were not alone in their demise. I include a small list of other bakeries who went down the same route and have also disappeared. I do know there are many many more, to many to name. Harveys- Wigan. Rathbones-Wigan. Halls- Wigan. Guests-Leigh. Ideal- leigh. Almonds-Wytheshawe. Rolands.- Craigs.-Wythenshawe. Champion. White Chief. Sunblest.(Hames)- Stockport. Mellings.-Farnworth. Duncan and Forster.-Old Trafford. Prices.-Manchester. Sayers.-Liverpool. Champion.-Stoke. Wheatabix.-Leicester. Moores.-Salford. Sunblest.-Notts. Coop.- Manchester. Derby. Mansfield. Mothers Pride.- Old Trafford. Chesterfield. Coventry. Blanchards.-Watnall. Wonderloaf.-Bolton. Whittles.- Littleborough. Mothers Pride.- Liverpool. Plus large bakeries all over the country in all the large cities and towns. These bakeries employed thousands of people. A.C.

By alan curtis
On 11/05/2011

I must comment on the closure list,  Harveys of Wigan are still trading as Premier Foods British Bakeries Wigan, and weren't Prices taken over by Greggs, Blanchards were and still are in Watnall as Premier Foods British Bakeries Nottingham. Champion Bakery Stoke became a Kipling Bakery and was still there ten years ago. Sayers Liverpool keep going bust but then reappear as someone else, and the local closures you missed close to Landers were Doncaster, Rotherham and of course Bailes of Osset [Mothers Pride].

By jim cairns
On 12/05/2011

Whilst I accept the above comments, Premier Foods acquired R.H.M. in March 2007 for £1.2 billion, which did include Harveys Bakery... Premier Foods did " hang on " to a few of the bakeries, and Harveys was one of them...but just like Landers, the brand name disappeared....The bread that is baked at the Cale Lane bakery is Hovis Bread....You cannot buy a Landers, Harveys, or Wonderloaf ( Blanchards ) loaf today. It's a funny old business. Premier Foods was only founded in 1975, and through the four enterprising individuals who started the company, they are now the largest food manufacturers in the U.K. At the 2010 count they employed 17.000 staff.

By alan curtis
On 13/05/2011

Having read and enjoyed all the comments and banter with Jim, I have come to the conclusion that the 1950's and 1960's were the easier time for the employees of Landers Bakery...They were the times of plenty, all of which contributed to the bakery's growth... There were plenty of corner shops, plenty of factory canteens, plenty of estate shops, plenty of agents for bread delivery, and plenty of the high street stores who saw the value of stocking bakery products. New business came easy... It was about 1967 that I read that the number of bakeries had reduced from 1200 to less than 900..So as they say the writing was on the wall. So James, I take my hat off to you... Yourself and the rest of the Landers Staff at the Bakery did a remarkable job... A.C.

By alan curtis
On 25/05/2011

The history of bread....I don't suppose many people know this, but the history of bread goes back thousands of years. It is believed that the bread we all take for granted today, was found by accident, all those years ago, long before the time of the Pharaohs... In those very early days, the main food of the people was a kind of porridge made from the seeds of the many grasses, Barley, Wheat, and Rye with water added...These were ground on a stone slab untill they became a powder ( this was flour as we know it today.) One day some of the porridge spilled onto the ground outside and into the hot sun, where the yeast fom the air contaminated the porridge and formed a kind of dough. The dough baked in the hot sun and became unlevened bread, much to the delight of the people. It is my guess this was the best accident ever !!

By alan curtis
On 19/06/2011

As an original employee of Landers, I can tell you that from the Office Staff,the Management, the Bakers, the Loaders, the Packers, the Van Boys, the Garage Staff and the Sales Staff, There was a Camaraderie amongst them that I only experienced when serving in the Armed Forces...From the time of Percy Lander to the late 1960's this Camaraderie existed.... From 1965 to 1969 salaries nationally had increased by 1/3rd.. Bakery management now had the additional problem of Union pressure for higher wages, from all departments...They now had the problem of, on one hand they had much increased costs, and on the other, they had a decreasing sales problem from the ever increasing Supermarkets, and the ever decreasing loss of the Corner shops and other outlets...Of course something had to be done.....They reduced a top heavy Head Office. They cut the bakery staff as much as they could. They made as many of the retail rounds as they could into agents so they were taken from the work force....It was decided to select bakeries for improvement area wise, amalgamate them with the rounds of the bakeries selected for closure....The bakeries closed were sold off.... Unfortunately all these changes failed...Eventually the small rounds disappeared, the Supermarkets and Multiples came into their own, and bread is delivered by a " trunk-er " to them in large deliveries. There are now fewer bakeries supplying a much larger population, however , the bread consumed per person is much less than in 1964 .

By alcurtis
On 27/12/2011

I started worked at Landers Bread in 1965, my first job after leaving school, as a comptometer operator. I guess the pre- cursor of the computer. All I can remember is I was quite bored, but feeling very grown up amongst all these much older (or so they seemed) ladies. Lunch times were the most memorable, as I was taken to the pub next door and I can't remember its name - and drinking what the other girls drank - lager and blackcurrant!

By Gill Pear
On 21/10/2013

Landers had the best people working there ! I used to go home exhausted from laughing so much. It was my first job from school, beginning as office junior and was certainly the best job I ever had. 

By bev thompson
On 13/02/2015

My father worked on the ovens at Landers from 1950 to 1977 when he died aged just 49. In 1975 he was presented with a gold watch engraved on the back for his 25 years service (I still have it) I remember him working 6 x 12 hour shifts with only Saturdays as a day off. I was very sad to see it closed down.

By Keith Ashley
On 13/03/2015

Hi Jim in your comments you talk about the cake at four seasons my mum Jill Kent was also one of those keeping it safe both her and dad Russ Kent worked for Landers

By Greg kent
On 15/04/2018

Greg of course I remember your mum& dad and I think your the youngest of the family,and your mother apart from keeping an eye on the cake used to do merchandising work in some of the supermarkets,and your dad was a chargehand in bread production many's the night we've been out drinking together

Of course you'll remember your uncle Roger who died of a stroke when really  young, he was a foreman in bread production, and Jim Gascoigne basically released as many people from the bakery as he could to attend the funeral I've never seen so many people at Mansfield Crematorium,he was a well respected man.

  

 

By Jim Cairns
On 19/04/2018