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15 October 2014
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A Wartime Bakery

by Hadleigh Community Event

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Hadleigh Community Event
People in story: 
John Bloomfield
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Contributed on: 
28 October 2004

In 1942 the production of white bread was prohibited and the grey ‘National Loaf’ was generally unpopular. My grandfather ran a bakery business in the centre of Hadleigh.

I remember that the Americans from Raydon used to use my grandfather’s bakery to make their dough when they were starting up. The Yanks had a very white more refined flour but they used to like to get some of ours which was greyer, but had more body since the husks had been ground down less finely. So Grandad swopped flour with the Americans and for the rest of the war, Bloomfield’s Bread was half-‘n-half and people wondered why it tasted so good.

Petrol was rationed through the war, but the Bloomfield business had extra to allow the delivery of bread to surrounding villages. The locals sometimes needed to exploit this. We would get phone calls from a farmer who’d say, ‘Quick, the War Ag. are coming, can you help?’ and so Dad would go to the farm in his van loaded with bread and hide some pigs in the back with the bread. Then he’d visit another farm until the War Ag. man had gone and he could return the pigs. Of course the pigs ate some of the bread and I can remember Dad telling me that he went on to one home where a lady always had a small loaf. ‘Sorry,’ he said, ‘We haven’t got any small loaves, but would a half-loaf do?’ and he cut off half a loaf which the pigs had eaten and gave her the rest!

People would have these great big hams and they’d bring them down and put them in the bread ovens to cook. We used to put a case of dough all over the outside of the hams and when they were cooked, we’d take the dough home and melt it down. It was full of fat and residue that we fed to the pigs. You never wasted anything.

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