Where would we be without it - our daily ration of pan and plain bread,
soda and potato farls, pancakes and buns. James Davidson
is the third generation of his family to be invloved
in the bakery industry and has researched the bakery
business in Ulster for his book - Our Daily Bread.
James Davidson's father always referred to baking as
" the second oldest profession". According
to Genesis, chapter 40, verse1 , "The butter of
the king of Egypt and his baker had offended their lord,
the King of Egypt". The butler was freed but the
baker was hanged !
The Bakers guild in ireland dates back to 1478, the
first master being one John West. Centuries later the
"Tech" in Belfast taught its bakery students
in the early 1900's as the humble loaf and its production
became more and more advanced.
Davidson, centre, in 1964
In his book James revels the family
business that baking was, as far back as the early 1800's
and which including as many as 35 bakeries outside Belfast
in rural Ulster. Family names synonymous with bread
production such as Stewarts, JB Kennedy, Irwins, Gillialand,
Marsh, Whaley and McWhatters. McCann's bakery in Newry
was run by five generations of that family.
The distribution network has changed greatly as the
trap and carts made way for the rail which in turn made
way for vans and the modern day lorries.
The owners, workers, the bread making process and
the delivery network as well as the bakery buildings
themselves are laid out in a pictorial history. Most
of the buildings are either gone or reused as retail
Veda bread was 100 years old in 2004. Invented by Scot,
Robert Graham in Gleneagles, Veda was baked all over
the UK, however, Northern Ireland remains the only place
still baking the bread today.
picture records the participation of CW Hart, the
world champion long
distance runner, in the 1914 London to Brighton
run. The man in the car is
Mr R Graham, the patentee of Veda Bread. Mr Graham
seems to have
realised the value of sports sponsorship early.
references, how Lisburn Distillery Football Club
got their nickname and sugar smuggling all have
their place in the history of bread in Northern
If you have any memories of the bakery business in
Northern Ireland please fill in the form below.
Margaret Harrison - Mar '08
I am looking for anyone who would have knowledge of
Robert Crawford who was my Great Grandfather and worked
at the Ormo Bakery. I believe that he was a Secretary
around about 1920's?
- Mar '08
I make soda bread in the electric fry pan, cooking 5
mins on each side, quite often it cooks on the outside
but is doughy on the inside. Would anyone know what
I am doing wrong? My Mum passed away 10 years ago and
she made great potato, soda, wheaten and treacle farls.
I only have her soda bread recipe and never had to make
it while she was alive.
We came from Belfast in 1953,
I remember the bread man and milk man coming to our
house delivering. These were great times and the milk
and everything else tasted so much better.
Would anyone be able to e-mail me recipes for these
Thank you for the great web site. I enjoyed so much!
Margaret Cromie nee Wilson
- Feb '08
I lived at the street at the back of the Ormeau until
1964.I loved Veda and fruit malts and was trying to get
a way to buy Veda here in Canada, Sobeys groceries sell
potato bread, so if enough people ask for it we might
get it brought over. Mrs Bridges bakery in Toronto
or in Sobeys are the only places I know.
When my daughter and I went over to Ballyclare to visit
my sister, we ate nothing else but wheaten farl,
Veda, pancakes(the sponge type) and fish and
Good luck in finding the bread and it's nice to be in
touch with anyone from Belfast, Ballyclare or the barnish.
Thomas E Boyle - February '08
Why cant we have more ulster bread goods and recipes
for the type of foods we love and could go on enjoying
for years to come, currant squares, baps, veda loves,batch
bread, I'm sure lots of ulster folk would glady pay
a small fee for the establishment off an ulster recipe
club, if you don't then someone will eventually will
put recipes on the web, or simply buy a recipe book
of ulster baked goods, i was a baker for fifteen years
and loved every moment of it.
Barry Woodside - February '08
I have a number of tokens from Ulster bread makers -
Hughes, McWatters (sic - not McWhatters!) Bakery, Ormeau
Bakery, William Vint (Carrickfergus) and Baines Machine
They are illustrated on my website www.irish-tokens.co.uk
Some were bought in bulk at a discount while some were
bought by large companies and given to the workers in
FRANK AGNEW - Dec '07
HI. MY FATHER WORKED IN KENNEDYS AS A STOREMAN FOR MANY
YEARS. WOULD ANYONE HAVE KNOWN HIM? - KEVIN AGNEW.
Richard - Feb '07
My father was a "bread
server" in McCombs in
Snugville Street Belfast in
the 40's and 50's.
He originally had a horse and
cart as his transport to feliver.
MCombs became Milanda.
Trish Taylor - Jan '08
I am trying to track down information about a Hanka
Doll my Dad has. The cotton is made in Ireland and
the box has a trademark symbol 'Ormo" ( a tree
in a circle) Trademark No 134125.
So far I have been able to find out nothing about this
little doll at all and wondered if it may have been
made for the bakery at some time?
Did the bakery have a logo of any kind?
Brian - Jan '08
What does VEDA stand for ?
Maureen Macfarlane nee O'Hara - Dec '07
Would any one know Andrew O'Hara - a baker in
Belfast in the 1920/1930's? I think he worked
in vlonard confectionery on the Falls Road as my grandmother
worked there. Her name was Ellen O'Hara nee Rice -
if this rings any bells, please get in touch, thank
George Le Francois - Mar '07
The easiest method to make WHEATEN BREAD is as follows:
Pre heat a cast iron frying pan (if you don't have a
griddle) over a medium to medium-hot flame/element with
a diffuser underneath. Dust the pan very liberally with
In a bowl add
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Swirl together to blend
Using a metal spoon - it's easier to clean than a wooden
one - add in buttermilk to make a very moist dough.
Turn out on to a liberally floured counter or board
and knead for a few turns adding more plain flour as
needed to keep it from sticking to the counter and yourself.
Form into a disc the size of the pan and cut in quarters
Place in the pan and cook 6 minutes; turn and cook
6 minutes on the second side. Cooked, propped against
each other, the three outer sides for 3 minutes each.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
What you have just made is a "cake" of wheaten
which has 4 farls.
when cool split and apply a goodly amount of hard butter
and whatever sweet to savoury items that strike your
Simple? It is.
Maureen Quiigg - Mar '07
I also remember going to kennedy's bakery for my mother
to get baps and sodas in the fifties
Eamonn - Feb '07
To answer some questions, a 'bread server' is a bread
delivery man. Up until about ten years ago it would
have included retailing from the van similar to the
way milkmen delivered milk to your doorstep. You'd pull
out the big long drawers full of cakes and smaller breads
like Veda and Soda farls, the pan and plain bread would
fill the rest of the van. The job also involved deliveries
to shops, and nowadays that's all it entails, with large
supermarkets making it necessary to use bigger lorries.
'Scammels' refers to a now defunct British lorry manufacturer.
Vicky - Feb '07
I need detailed information about davidson bakery and
the way they appointed executives to give away the breads.
main focus is on their dressing style as well as the
info. Thank You.
Sean - Feb '07
HI I am living in Australia now, having been brought
up inportadown my 1st job was in Irwins bakery, I miss
th ebread from back home. Can anyone send me the recipe
to make Veda bread would be great to pass down to the
kids, Hers my email firstname.lastname@example.org
Veda Franz - Nov '06
Can somebody please tell me why the Veda loaf was given
Janette McDonald - Sep '06
My Dad and Mum both worked at the "Co" before
they were married. We came to Canada when I was little.
It is my parent's 40th Anniversary this year so I'm
surfing for info on 1966 Belfast, I'm happy to find
this site:) Anyone remember a Tom McDonald or Isabell
Reford working at the Co-Op.. or perhaps your parents
might remember them?
They are both well and Dad is still baking!!
Margaret Rankin - Aug '06
Like Susan Williams, I remember my mother sending me
to the coty bakeries with six pence on a friday night,
and the lovely man would fill my bag up with cakes swiss
roll and so on I would run like mad home as my mum would
make trifle out of the swiss role - oh happy days. As
I live in England now I miss my favourite bread lovely
treacle farls. When I get a chance to go home I find
the nearest baker and indulge in cream cookies and currant
squares. By the way does anyone remember the wee stew
shop in North Street, I always had a bowl when I was
down that way. Sorry I never had a liking for Veda bread
but I loved the plain loaf but I can buy plain loaves
in marks & sparks over here - those were the days.
Alan Johnston - Aug '06
I found this article to very intersting.
Re: Ormeau Bakery - Can someone please give me the
history behind the Ormeau Bakery, such as when was it
built and when was it closed etc.
Joe Doyle - July '06
A wee question. What was invented 20 years before the
motor car and thirty years before the Veda and is still
in use every day? The answer - the Belfast bap. Invented
by Bernard Hughes and thousands are still sold every
day. Long may it live!
Margaret Murray - July '06
Looking for a recipe for wheaten farls. I think it's
a combination of oatmeal and whole wheat to get the
right texture. Also molasses. Not sure of proportions.
Thanks. I went to McKennas bake shop at the markets.
Now live in US. My daughters and myself are all great
cooks dispelling the myth Irish women are lousy cooks..
Given what we had to work with, I think we did a darn
Bob Cook - July '06
Does anyone remember the O'Hara Bakery from Belfast.
I have been told that my Granddad's family (McGrath)
was connected to them. The article here does not mention
the O'Hara's Bob.
Maureen - July '06
To Patrick Lennon. Is your name also spelled Linden?
When I do my searching of the surname, it has been spelled
Lennon and several other ways. My grandfather was a
bread server, I think this is delivering bread with
those big bread trucks. The ones that are pictured on
the site. Thats about it. I enjoyed visiting Ireland
and seeing my relatives for the first time. Maureen
J batty, Queensbury West Riding Of Yorkshire
- June '06
I served in the Dukes at Palace baracks Holywood 1958/9
and Inglis breads were the best breads that I have had,
I even tried to get it sent to me here in Bradford.
Diane Goodwin - June '06
I'm another one who misses the Veda, the tatie farls
& the wheaten. I remember growing up on veda, toasted
with cheese (not melted, just thickly sliced) or just
butter. It didn't need anything else. And the plain
bread! You nearly broke your teeth on the crusts when
it was toasted! There's nothing like it though, and
I miss it dearly now I live in Australia. Maybe I'm
wrong, but I remember a lot of the bakeries still operating
when I was a kid - Ormo, Inglis....I've been away from
home since 2002, so I've got severe withdrawal symptoms...I
also miss proper custard tarts (with the brown burnt
skin on!) those cakes from Ormo with the pastry case,
red jam, sponge, icing on top and a cherry in the middle.
And chips from Isabeal's on the Lisburn Rd sandwiched
between 2 large whacks of buttered wheaten at my granny's
house. A taste sensation, I tell you!
And yes, a veda recipe would be great...
Iris Moffett - June '06
I also was back in Belfast area for a holiday, I have
been living in canada since 1966. Have mastered wheaten,
soda and potato bread but still have to wait till I
go back home to get my veda and I eat it everyday while
I'm there. If anybody has a recipe please pass it on.
Patrick Lennon - '06
One of the contributors on your web page, (Maureen Savell-May
06) says her grandfather was a bread server at Linden's
Bakery. My grandfather was a bread server also. Can
you tell me what the job involved?
Maureen - June '06
I have just returned from my trip to Norther Ireland.
It was wonderful, saw Belfast and visited my cousins
for the very first time. I was told by my cousins that
my grandfather worked in the Kennedy Bakery not the
Linden Bakery, that I thought he worked at. So, Frank
Kennedy if your family would have any information on
my grandfather working there it would be grand. He died
in the 1950's so maybe someone remembers him. Would
appreciate a note from you if anyone knows of him. I
gave my email address to the originator of the site,
so if you need it, I will give him permission to give
it to you. Maureen
Jim Walsh - June '06
I lived on Eliza Street just down from Inglis' Bakery.
I left for the US in 1959. The smells from the bakery
were wonderful. My older brother worked there for a
while and even his clothes smelled good. The lorries
from Inglis' were up and down Eliza Street all the time.
We called them "scamels" for some reason.
Does anyone know where that word came from? We used
to run behind them and grab on to their high bumper
and hitch rides all the way up to Cromac Street where
they would turn off. The scamel doors were sealed shut
with a loop of wire with a lead seal about the size
of a sixpence but much thicker. We would place a stick
into the wire loop and twist it until it broke. The
little pieces of lead would add up after a while and
were sold to Tony Stowe (scrap dealer) for a few pennies
for sweets at McGlades shop in Eliza Street. The surface
of Eliza Street was cobble stoned at that time and the
ride was pretty rough. Prior to the scamels, Inglis'
delivered by horse drawn carts. The horses were shoed
mainly at Johnny McKeown's Blacksmith Shop which was
next door to my house. Johnny was our landlord.
Frank Kennedy - May '06
On Saturday mornings in the early 1950s, I went regularly
to the JB Kennedy's (no relation) at the bottom of Beechmount
Street and stood in line for a pillow case full of bread
for a shilling. As the delivery vans came home from
their routes, the contents of their long trays would
be added to the sales table, along with fresh bread
from the day's bakery overage. On more than one occasion,
I remember Mr Kennedy himself coming out to view the
progress and give me a pat on the head. My father commented
that he only did that because my head looked like a
Agnes - May '06
I have been recently told that my great grandfather
may have worked in a Bakery in Belfast. Would anyone
be able to advise whereabouts in Belfast and how many
Bakers existed in and around 1890's? He apparently died
from an accident at work. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!
Maureen Savell - May '06
My grandfather John Linden, was a bread server at Lindens
Bakery in Belfast. I have a picture of a mural someone
took of Lindens Bakery, and I believe the bakery still
exists to this day. I have never seen Belfast, as I
live in the USA. If you would like a picture of this
mural which says Lindens Bakery at the bottom right
hand corner. It is quite colourful and I am sure it
has lots of meaning to the people from Belfast. It looks
quite modern, but I don't think it is there today. It
says Salvation Army also on it.
Adrian Gillian - March '06
Could anyone from the former milanda bakeries/inglis
especially from the glen road depot supply me with (copies)
of photographs of the vans and lorries of the fleet
from the 1960s and 70s which they may have driven or
maintained, especially transit mk1 /mk2 variants (ah
memories of sitting on a milk crate on the passenger
side of the cab as there was no passenger seat! could
barely see over the dash!), and being woke out of my
bed at 3.30 am to spray easy start into the air intake
while my dad churned the engine on a cold morning (i
was only 7 or 8 at the time!) ford d-series custom cab
MK1/MK2, leyland ld (can't remember much about these
but they had a flat pug face and sliding cab doors which
never stayed shut! health and safety hah!), threepenney
cab (windscreen and two smaller windows), leyland terriers/
boxers clydesdales and any other models I may have over
looked, in milanda, inglis, windmill or mothers pride
livery as i scratch build models when I get time to
Betty - March '06
Why is it so difficult to find a recipe for Veda Bread?
Norman Faulds - March '06
Can anyone please provide information about C W Hart
other than what appears on this website?
Robert - Feb '06
There are also some australians who would like the recipe
for good old irish veda bread. loved the stuff.
Moya - Jan '06
I just came back on Tuesday with a Veda loaf and 6 Malt
loaves as my kids who are Canadians love the bread from
home espicailly the Malt loaves by Sunblest
Susan Williams - Jan '06
I remember the smell of the Coty Bakery in Ardilea Street
on the Oldpark Road. My friends and I used to go and
get a large paper bag of 'clippings' the ends of the
buns and swiss rolls still hot from the ovens for one
old penny and have a picnic on the 'skin fields ' just
up the road. This would have been during the 1950's
Joan Skillen(Whiteside) -
Does anyone have a recipe for veda? I can see from one
of the posts that it had a patent.You'd think in this
day and age of technology that someone could figure
it out. Someone sent me a recipe for a wee malt loaf
but nowhere near like veda. Still drooling in Canada.
Jean Crawford - Oct 05 Australia
I was going through old newspaper cuttings that my mother
had kept for years and came across this one...
Maybe you could help as to what it was all about,
and where the loaves were being sent. Unfortunately
we don't have plain loaves here in Australia so my mouth
was watering. There is an arrow pointing to the young
man at the front - wouldn't have a clue as to who that
Olwyn Graff - Dec '05
When I was young, I used to spend a holiday with my
Aunt, who had a shop in Belfast on the Newtownards Road.
She used to send me up to Stewarts for a pan and a veda.
Is there no way I can get recipies for these breads?
and also the old favourites, soda farls and potato bread
made with just bread and flour and fried on the pan.
Elise Snoddy Klug - Dec '05
My great grandfather, David Rainey, was a baker in Belfast,
but I have no idea where he would have worked. He also
worked as a baker while in Lurgan, where he married
and then on to Belfast.
Gerard McBride - Sept '05
I used to help my uncle Jimmy, known as a bread server
on his run for Milanda Bakeries, delivering to home
and shops. He used a large Morris van with a sliding
cover over the back doors for protection against the
rain when the long trays were pulled out to get to the
'small's as soda and potato bread etc..were known as.
Milanda used to be famous for their pastries and had
a Red Seal motif on their vans and products if I recall
right. Another uncle worked for Inglis and used a Smith
electric vehicle, both their runs covered west Belfast.
Both bakeries eventually bcame known as Mothers Pride.
Stephen - September '05
I mind the bread man doing his rounds in finaghy, pump
of the horn had us kids running to the rear of his van
with the pull out long trays,and maybe if we were lucky
wed have got the odd "hard bun" for a halfpenny.
Dawn - Sep 05
Veda Bread would make its way all the way to Canada
( where I now reside ) each summer with my granny when
she was alive. I so loved that with a good, cup of tea
and some nice cheese.......oh, memories.
Joan Skillen (Whiteside) - Sept '05
I remember lining up at Pa Jordans bakery at Westburne
St Newtownards Rd. Every Saturday morning my granny
sent me for vedas, apple tarts, treacle farls ,soda
farls and tatie bread. I can honestly say that bakery
goods was the only thing I genuinely missed aside from
my family when I came to Canada. Of course nowadays
we have wonderful breads like multi grains and focaccia.
My first response to Canadian bread was that this would
have been really great if you didn't have a rubber at
school, hmmmmmm I mean an eraser. Still drooling in
Hugh Thompson - Sep '05
I was a bread salesman for forty years from 1956 to
1996 delivered from city bakery mac combs ormo
Anita Collins Nee Mcarthur - August
My dad ( James McArthur was a bread server ( as they
were then known) for many years with the Co~op bakery
in Ravenhill Avenue I used to love going out with him
every Saturday and pinching the buns when he was not
looking! He gave me Half a crown for a day's work, which
was a fortune then. I accredit my love to sweet things
to him! Those days bring so many sweet memories for
Margaret Cromie(neeWilson) - Feb '08
I lived at the street at back of the ormeau till 1964
I loved veda and fruit malts and was trying to get a
way to buy veda here in canada, Sobeys groceries sell
potatoe bread, so if enough people asks for it we might
get it brought over try mrs bridges bakery in toronto
or ask in sobeys.
when my daughter and I went over to ballyclare to visit
my sister, We ate nothing else but all wheaten farl.
veda.pancakes(the sponge type) apart from fish and chips,
that was our diet.
good luck in finding the bread and its nice to be in
touch with anyone from belfast ballyclare or the barnish.
please e mail me