Story: Working at the Bakery

Transcript: Working at the bakery

A story by Edith Petrie and Pat Dunn about working at the Lumsden bakery

Well, when we left the school I started working at the bakers and enjoyed it very well. And as I said, we

had one van when I went and then before long there were about four other vans – five vans went out. We

went to Strathdon, the Cabrach, Rhynie, Lumsden, Kildrummy – just all round about.

And that’s when I had to do the accounts – the farmers just paid once a month. And I had to write the

accounts at the end of the month and send them out. After that, well, I worked there until I got married, you

see. And then I left and got married so that was me with the end of the bakers.

But – did the sculpture shop take it on after Cameron Gordon? He retired. Well – he didn’t retire – he bought

a shop in Huntly, a bakery in Huntly. And he went down there so he stopped, so they put it up for sale. Well,

for rent. The sculpture shop has it now – for a hundred years I think.

“Aye – a hundred year lease.” So Cameron Gordon died a few years ago and it now belongs to the older

son who was in Houston and he owns it and another brother in Huntly, he stays there, and they’ve still got a

lot of shops and houses that their father had bought and this younger boy looks after that. So then, that’s it

for them.

“So, it was a bakery before it was the workshop? And what kind of things – was it much like the bakeries

you get now or did they make different kinds of things?”

Well, they don’t make their bread, a lot of the bakers now. It’s just – I don’t know – maybe done in factories.

And there’s all these different name – Warburtons and lots of names of bread. The only one that I know that

does, which my daughter goes to, is one in Ballater. She goes there and gets homemade bread and brings

it back and puts it in the freezer.

“But these bakers made their own bread?”

Er, no. Well, when Cameron stopped. But he did it a long time – he had some vans went out.

“So the bread came in from a bigger baker somewhere else?”

Well, I don’t know. He doesn’t bake his own bread in Huntly now, Cameron. It’s Sinclair now. Sinclairs of

Rhynie, they took over. They have it rented from Kenneth Gordon, you see. The place would belong to the

Gordons still.

But when I was there, you baked everything that there was. Pan loaf, plain loaf, high pans, you had. And

then they baked softies and butteries.


Lots of butteries. “Aye, we used to to in past there in the morning when we were going to school, got


“A treat for breakfast! Lovely, aren’t they?”

And some of them went to Huntly School. Once they’ve moved over they had to go to Huntly, if they passed

their 11-plus. And I used to get the lot of them come in, Gordon and Toshy and them, because you got

through the tray bakes in a tray and my job was to take a knife and edge all the sides off and put them to

the side and they used to come in at night and get bags of these cuttings off the side.

“All the cuttings? Lovely.”

So they did that with fruit squares and sponge things – you’d cut them into pieces – not so big as you get

nowadays. And then they did zoolas and coarse [culse?] [curse?] cakes.

“What’s a zoola?”

They were like round kind of thing with pastry on the top and ginger all through it. I think you still get them,

in some places. You still get the coarse [culse?] cakes.

“They’re the ones with the raisins in?”

Yes, And the sugary top. You get them at Rhynie down there and they’re just beautiful.

“Have they got a baker in Rhynie, have they? So I bet the smell coming out of the bakers in the morning …”

Oh, it was a right smell in the morning. I got it every morning. They just had a hatch, you see. Where the

office is just now – that was where I sat, where I worked. And just in the side of the wall there they had a

hatch, and they just opened the hatch in the morning, put through the stuff to me and I’d to take the bread

off and put it on the shelves and then take the cakes and cut them.

“So were you working as a baker? Or more in the front of the shop?”

Just an assistant. I did the selling.

“Did you pick up any baking tips when you were there?”

Oh aye. I’ve done the baking and the butteries once or twice but I stopped … because you roll them out

with butter and then you roll them out again, put butter. But the bread and – there’s different biscuits now, all


“I would have liked to see a bakery back then. That’s a good story, thank you.”

They do everything by hand, you see, for a long time up there, back when I started. But then, as they got

more … they put in machines, put in more ovens. I think there was just one wee oven when I was there.

But before I left there were three, four ovens. And there were about five, six bakers. There were a lot of


Oh there were. I remember a lot of them. Percy Moorhouse, Bob Barclay and Neil, his brother, worked

there. Bob Ramsay, he was another. Oh aye, there were a lot – that chap from Whitehills. A lot of bakers.

The Thomsons from outside Alford. And Ron McAllan, Ron was there a long time. He was a nephew of Mrs


“Of course he was, aye”.

Mrs Cameron – her sister. He was a relation, he was a nephew of the baker’s. It was a busy place that,

used to be. The vans, you used to see them all through the north-east here. You got a lot in Ballater, and

Clatt. Kennethmont, down that way.

“Quite a big reach?”

They went as far as they could … Tarland. They did.

“So they ended up starting off with just one and growing into having … like a fleet of vans?”

They had one van to start with and before I went to the bakery – this bakery, when Cameron Gordon started

– before that there was no vans or anything, it was just a horse and a cart.

“Ah, you’re showing your age now Edith. I dinnae mind that.”

Andy McIntosh, he used to come to us. He sat in just a big box, you see, and he sat with the horse and

then he’d come round and open doors and everything was just in boxes in the van. That’s what’d come to

Braeside – I was born in Braeside, in the farm up there. And there wasn’t a right road, just a cart road,

because there was only horses and the carts.

“A cart track?”

But then when – there was a bigger farm and this banker Petrie bought it. And he made a road for his cattle

and to feed his cattle along the hill. So the vans started to get in to my mother and father … so we used to

go out to the van – on a Saturday night, it came – and we got a halfpenny to spend.

And you wondered what you would buy, because you got a lot for a halfpenny. I always used to buy

chewing gum and would chew it and then have to spit it out, you see. So I said to myself, “What a waste of

money”. When I could have had a big sweetie and eat it all!