In May this year, Mr and Mrs Frank Ashton announced their retirement from the family bakery in Southwell Road, Lowdham. After being established there for nearly 120 years, the bakery is consequently to close. For over a century generations of the Ashton family have provided villagers with bread and confectionary from a reliable delivery service and it is with obvious regret that this now comes to an end.
We have to go back to 1864 though to discover the beginnings of the bakery. During the early 1860s Abraham Brown moved his bakery from behind the present Lowdham Stores to a site on Southwell Road. There he built another bakery with its own flour mill. He delivered the bread himself within a 5 mile radius using a horse and trap. His son Cornelius Brown took more interest in journalism however and became one of the first editors of the ‘Newark Advertiser’, figuring largely in its early development. Therefore when Abraham Brown died the business was continued by his his nephew John Tom Ashton.
John Tom an amusing village character would often be visited by his grandson Frank Ashton who came from Coddington for a holiday. Following the death of John in 1945, Frank’s father, Cyril Ashton, took over the bakery with the help of his son. Indeed Frank served an apprenticeship as a baker when he was 16.
Twenty five years ago Frank mover permanently from Coddington to live at the bakery continuing the business when his father retired. Although there was another bakery in the village there was never any serious rivalry between them. Frank always considered himself solely as a service to the community and it is for this reason that he never entered products for competition. He made bread to suit the customer and was proud of the fact.
Although Frank and Gwen have a son he will not be continuing the business. he is interested in engineering a nd hopes to start his own forge. But although bread may not be produced there any longer, the memories of life long customers will remain and I’m sure the whole village would like to take this opportunity of thanking Frank and Gwen for their hard work over the years, as Lowdham’s oldest family business closes and signals the end of an era.
Extract from the Bramley in September 1983