J. Lyons & Co.
Small-scale baking facilities were first established in about 1888 to satisfy the growing exhibition catering business. This was undertaken then in small bakehouses and it was only in 1894 when the company purchased Cadby Hall that large-scale baking started. The new facilities had so much capacity that it was decided to sell bread to the local community from hand-carts operating from Cadby Hall. This was expanded dramatically and horse-drawn cabs were introduced to take the product further afield until the best part of London was being served.
New, automated ovens were installed raising again the output from the factory so that by 1913 10,000 loaves an hour were being produced. With a higher margin for profit on cake, and with a longer shelf life, more emphasis was placed on this market. The same automatic techniques were applied to producing cake as had been used for bread and this too soared to unprecedented levels. Every imaginable cake was made.
Not only did the bakeries supply the consumer market, hotels, teashops and other restaurants the company was operating, in 1924 they were having to supply the British Empire Exhibition. For this alone 260 tons of bakery products were shipped every week for a whole year.
Cadby Hall's breathtaking production statistics became a frequent source of comment from analysts and journalists. Two million Vienna rolls every week, 40,000 French pastries, half a million or 36 miles of Swiss rolls, three-quarters of a million muffins, a quarter of a million cream and jam sandwiches: the list was endless. Lyons' own records show that in 1939 the bakery output reached 60,000 tons, providing an annual turnover of £3 million.
By 1953 Lyons were classified as the third largest producer of bread in the UK. By the 1960s it had absorbed several other bakeries and flour mills in a bid to become one of the largest bakers. By 1967 they were producing some fifty varieties of bread from now established regional bakeries and embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign to increase their market share in cake. Several baking concerns in Europe were bought but they were not very successful. With the size of all departments growing, and Cadby Hall unable to be expanded, a large, modern, single floor factory was built at Carlton (Nr Barnsley) and all production of cake was transferred; the bread department having been sold some years earlier.
The Lyons Individual Fruit Pie was one of the Bakery Division's success stories. They were introduced in the mid 1930s and continued in production right up until 1968 when they were replaced with the Harvest Pie. It has been estimated that 2,000 million Individual Fruit Pies were made during this period. They were shaped to fit easily into lunch boxes. The pies came in 14 flavours: Apple, Apricot, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Gooseberry, Mince, Blackberry & Apple, Blackcurrant, Cherry, Orange, Peach, Pineapple, Mixberry and Lemon Curd.
Lyons also made Fruit Pies (circular in shape and priced at 1/3d) and Sixpenny Fruit Pies, also circular in shape. These three boxes are dated 1936/37.
The Bakery Department
The Swiss Roll production line.
Mince Pie production, 1927.
Lyons Bakery, ~1900 (Yvonne Brautigam)
Genevieve Tobin (actress) trying her hand at Swiss roll making, 1928.