Fakenham’s oldest bakery closes its doors
10:38 24 April 2011
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Fakenham’s oldest family business has closed its doors after serving people in the town for 145 years.
H & J Moore bakery was opened in 1866 by Henry Moore, who had previously worked as a baker in Tittleshall, a village six miles south of Fakenham.
It is now run by his great-grandson, Harry Moore, 54, and his half-brother, David Boley, 66, who have both worked in the bakery since leaving school.
The business has a shop in Upper Market and a bake house on Nelson Road and has served royalty, as the Duke of Kent used to be fairly regular customer.
Mr Moore’s father, also called Harry, used to serve the Duke of Kent around 15 years ago, who would buy bread after visiting a nearby bookshop.
Mr Moore never retired and continued working in the bakery until he was 96, shortly before he died in 2002.
During the first world war the bakery would be in use 24 hours a day, with the Moore family running the business during the day time and the army taking it over at night and baking bread for nearby soldiers.
Mr Moore said: “The main reason for us closing is the price of oil, which doesn’t look like it’s going to go down any time soon. Also David is reaching retirement age. I will have to find a job somewhere else. I don’t know what I will do.
“My son has not shown any interest in becoming a baker and I have not encouraged him to become one. I’ve made a steady living from this but it’s not the sort of business that is going to make you rich.”
He added: “It is a shame to be closing after all these years. We have some customers who used to come here as children who now bring in their own kids with them.”
Mr Boley said: “We use a D Thompson of Edinburgh oven. I believe we are the only bakery in Britain to still be using an oven like this, and it’s not as efficient as modern ovens. But the sort we would need would cost between £17,000 and £20,000 and it just seems like the right time for us to move on.
“I don’t blame the supermarkets for our closure but I think modern attitudes to shopping are different to how they used to be. People want to shop in places where everything is on one place. Sadly, I don’t see much of a future for some types of small family businesses.”
Rector of Fakenham, the Rev Adrian Bell said: “We’ve been a neighbour of H & J Moore for generations and have always bought the bread there which has always been very high quality.
“It is very sad that they are closing and a real loss to the town. I hear stories about how royalty used to stop outside with a chauffeur and pick up a loaf of bread.”
He added: “I feel it is very important for people to shop locally rather than out of town to help ensure that local businesses survive and the town doesn’t die.”