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According to a detailed account by Carol Margetts, Thomas and Annie Smallwood founded the bakery at Crosshall in 1882. The photograph shows the shop front at Crosshall in 1965, by which time it had become an antique shop. (Photograph courtesy of Philip Lane Collection.) In the early days, there was a second bakery, The Climax Bakery, run by Horace Groom and his wife. This operated at what are now two private houses in Church Road: The Old Bakery, and Courtyard House. The Climax Bakery later came to be owned by the Smallwoods when Thomas and Annie’s son Tom Smallwood took it over. In the photo above the name Groom can still just be seen below the window. Around 1933 the two bakeries were consolidated into one on this site. Deliveries were a big part of the service, first by horse and cart and then by van. There was also a tea shop, and cakes and pastries were sold to hungry visitors. The business made not only bread, pastries, cakes and pies, but also the harvest loaves for the harvest festival service, and fancy items such as wedding cakes. The bakery operation closed in 1952. Carol Margetts was a Chelsfield resident who wrote a number of recollections of life in the village. Her full account of the family-run bakery operation, “A History of the Smallwood Family Bakery in Chelsfield Village” can be found in our Sources section. It is reproduced courtesy of the Bromley Borough Local History Society, to whom she bequeathed many of her papers.
Chelsfield A Community Archive
Chelsfield Bakeries
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