LANDERS BAKERY .

The early days

By Alan Curtis

  Mansfield and Industry    

 Someone once said that Mansfield is a Great and Poor town !!!!   Which may have been true at the time it was said.... It may also be fair comment today.... But it was certainly not the case in the 1950's. 60's and 70's . It was the time following nearly 6 years of war that almost brought this country to it's knees.....As they did after the first world war....The people of Mansfield rallied round and helped to  build the country again with their production  in the Coalmines,the Foundries,the Hosiery and Knitting factories, the Cotton Mills, the Engineering, the Boot and Shoe factories, the Quarrying, the Electric Engineering, the Building Industry, the Railways, and of course the Food factories.

  Percy Lander     

After the end of the first world war....One such person was Percy Lander...I am full of admiration for him or anyone who is prepared to put everything on the line for the success of his company. He risked his house, his money, his family, and yes eventually his life.... Percy died suddenly in 1949... I know, I was employed at Landers in 1949.

       At the latter part of the 1800's...Around the turn of the century (1900), Framework Knitting became big business in Mansfield, and provided much needed work to the area...Families from the hinterland and surrounding shires, swelled the population of the town....For this reason, it is most probable that Percy's parents Joseph and Sarah moved into the Mansfield area from Derbyshire for the availability of work....For Joseph became a Framework Knitter....Joseph and Sarah's 3 children came along, and when old enough,Percy followed his father into Hosiery Framework Knitting, along with his sister Sarah Ann... And, with the family all working, they were to become reasonably well off.

Marriage and a Bakery on Woodhouse Road      

 After his marriage to Miss Gertrude Bakewell in 1920...Percy put his heart and all his efforts into a small Bakery across the road from the Black Bull on Woodhouse Road , near to the bottom of York Street.

 Mansfield Woodhouse Memories     

 It is here I have to transgress for a moment...My father-in-law Mr Thomas Allsop, was born in 1905 and lived in one of the cottages close to the Trough in the centre of Mansfield Woodhouse...He would walk past Percy's small bakery when walking to Sherwood Colliery  where he worked for many years....My mother-in-law,  Mrs Elizabeth Allsop, spent a lot of time at her mum's sister's house, which was near to the colliery and the bakery...She would baby sit her aunty's child   When at the onset she knew that I worked at Landers, we often talked about the bakery...It was she who first told me about Percy allowing housewives to bake their bread in his oven for the price of one penny...And also that at that time his bakery was on the other side of the road from Oxford Street...She too,would walk by Percy's bakery when going to her Aunt's house, for it it was a terraced house close to the Sherwood Pit yard.

      She recalled , as she remembered, that it was sometime in the early 30's that  Percy moved his bakery to Oxford Street. He proceeded to install 4 or 6 double decked roller ovens on cast wheels that enabled the very large oven plates to be rolled into the walled ovens. One with small wheels at the bottom, and the one with higher wheels at the top...I remember these ovens very well. each oven plate would hold about 200 + loaves of bread at one time, in banks of 4 bread tins fastened togeather...When not used for bread baking, these ovens would be used for Morning Goods and Confectionery...Very soon afterwards, another oven was installed for baking bread...This was an early version of the travelling oven, a six sack of flour oven...A very big improvement on the day !...But the dough still had to be  " proved " first.

  Expanding the Bakery   

 As time went by,if a terraced house became empty, Percy bought it...The first was next to his bakery, and this became the office...He also bought the garage on the corner of Oxford Street and Woodhouse Road...Later in British Bakeries time...Just about everything on Oxford Street belonged to Landers.

      I am not sure of the year that Landers Bakery commenced business...Maybe the 1921 census will throw some light on the matter...Percy and Gertrude's marriage certificate should confirm his occupation in 1920. 

 

      

This page was added on 21/07/2011.
Comments about this page

Now the last years, as from 1979 and the aquisistion of some Wonderloaf Bakeries particularly Blanchards, the whole trading outlook changed. Landers who had done reasonably well through the seventies were all of a sudden starved of any new business. The last major new outlet was Tesco, Oak Tree Lane (they really had to give that to the local bakery), and it was also the last new vehicle the bakery was allowed.

So starved of business and also of any capital investment the bakery stuggled along, however with the introduction of the long loaf Landers had the advantage the main bread plant could handle long loaf tins where Blanchards couldn't but, the powers that be decided that Landers Bakery could not sell long loaf to Blanchards Bakery it would be a swap with standard bread being baked at Blanchards swapped with long loaf from Landers.

 A little story - Landers hadn't got a vehicle to do the swap with and were not allowed any new ones so a search throughout the company uncovered one at Mothers Pride, Glasgow and it was transfered to Landers in it's Mothers Pride livery which then had to be changed to Landers Red Seal livery. As they sanded Mothers Pride off, Wonderloaf appeared as if by magic underneath, and as they sanded that off the name of a private scottish baker appeared - so later this wagon appeared and it looked immaculate (as did all vehicles leaving the Landers paint shop) and into sevice it went. I think it was the first Sunday it was on it's normal run leaving Blanchards on the run down the hill towards Underwood a pair of wheels overtook the wagon much to the surprise of the driver and for two or three seconds it stopped upright and kept moving and then gravity took over and what looked a great wagon was recovered by Landers transport as a flatback!

With the sudden departure of Jim Gascoigne, the new general manager just played with the bakery, (we didn't realize that he was the close down general manger) and he tried heavens hard to damage Landers good reputation by altering baking times, and taking out the intermediate provers deleting lines, and then in the face of mounting complaints reintroducing them. At the same time Blanchards were putting in a new bread plant and when that started up the writing was really on the wall, however the first weekend of operation the bottom fell out of the oven so instead of contacting the nearest bakeries to help out as was the norm, and there were apart from Landers another three group bakeries within a 40 mile radius, all the bread was delivered from bakeries south of London and when the problems were sorted and the plant was operating as it should the Landers Bakery was closed

By jim cairns
On 07/08/2011

Sounds like another case of "closure by stealth"!

By David Amos
On 31/10/2011

It Is now 64 years since I first walked up Oxford Street, Mansfield Woodhouse Notts....It was the home of Landers Bread.....Just under the bridge turn right and you were there. I have relived every year of those 64 years with much happiness and some sadness since I first put my memories on this site.....I have seen many ghosts and the smiling faces of the folks who strove to make Landers great. These folk put their hearts and souls into the building of a Mansfield Company that had great camaraderie throughout the land....Percy Lander could have done no more, and I guess at the beginning he could never have known the size of the legacy he left for those who followed....There were many to follow, anyone who didn't pick up on the camaraderie and become one of the Landers Bread Family soon left...although there were not many, most of those thought it was an easy job, and did not belong.... If there were to be a roll of honour for Landers Bread, my list would be :- Percy Lander Thelma Lander Kathleen Lander Jack Pearson Frank Smith Charley Strutt Kenneth Fearn Archie Walton Wilfred Rowell Edwin Heald Frank Townroe George Barlow Eric Gibson Claude Smalley William Brown Jack Severn (Lofty ) Yates John Hughes Raymond Clarke Gordon Betts Ray Wolstenholme Frank Bagley Albert Frost William Willson Edward Charles Morris B A Taylor Clifford Dennis There are many many people worthy of recognition ,but too many for this old brain to remember...I like many others in Mansfield are very sad this old bakery name has disappeared Forever.....My apologies to anyone's name I have forgotten. It Is no ones fault for the demise of this once great bakery, It has to go down as progress, and the decisions of people at the top who know the way they wish to go....Goodbye.

By alan curtis
On 09/05/2012

It is amazing what goes through your mind, and what you remember when you think back. In the early days when Landers only had eight rounds, they were all more or less all local rounds, and therefore there was no need for the salesmen to start or leave the bakery early, mainly because the shopkeepers would not be open. So I guess the salesmen and van boys would start about 7 o-clock in the mornings, that is apart from Saturday mornings. It was only after the growth of Landers in the 1950's that the starting times for the sales staff gradually got earlier and earlier, until some vans were leaving the bakery from 4 o-clock in the mornings. These vans would be making deliveries to Corby, Leicestershire, and Lincolnshire. And of course, there were no Motorways then, only A. roads Towns and Lanes.  In the summer it was heaven driving along, windows open, the full moon would give a heavenly light, before the day break and little traffic on the road. It put a new meaning to the saying "Before the roads are aired." What a difference when the fog, snow and ice was about in the winter months. Thank goodness we no longer have the fogs we used to have, I suppose that is because we have less manufacturing and coal burning than we used to have in this country. Back in those days, I was very often the first to go along the Nottingham, and the Derby "Rampers ". The fog was such that you could not see a hand in front of you. let alone drive in it....But somehow we always made it through. Driving in the snow was a different hazard, if you were first on the road after (very often a fall of a foot of snow) you left two tracks, and the next on-coming vehicle would use your outside track as a guide for his wheels, this was all right until he met another vehicle following me and using my tracks. I remember one day there were 10 Landers vans stuck out at Red Hill Transport Cafe because of the snow drifts near the Halfway House. The A.A. got the snow plough out to clear a way through, His words to me was "Keep your foot down and don't stop for anything ". I did as I was told.

 

By alan curtis
On 28/07/2012

I don't know if anyone can help me but I am looking for photographs of Landers bread lorries. I visited the Mansfield Bakery many times with my dad who drove for Kipling Cakes who were previously Champion Bakery, and when they closed about 1975 some of their lorries went to Landers as they had a very similar livery. I have been unable to find any pictures of Champion lorries so I am hoping someone has a photo of a Landers lorry or van, thank you Neil Cooper

By Neil Cooper
On 04/02/2013

Neil , have you looked at the other Lander's pages on this site. There are several others, and some have photographs of Landers Vans both old and new. Good Luck !

By alan curtis
On 05/02/2013

I have just been speaking to Eric Gibson, he is 89 years old, and whom I believe to be the last of the surviving Landers original eight salesmen from 1949. Eric has moved away from the Mansfield area but apparently, he had read an article I had done in the "Woodhouse Warbler " and wanted to know how I remembered Landers from all those years ago.

By alan curtis
On 09/04/2014