Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

H Law Bakery, Exmouth, Devon

I found this building purely by chance in 2009. One of my friends had business in Exmouth and she suggested that I come over for the trip, so I had a wander around the town until the time to meet up again. I saw several ghost signs in Exmouth, which I thought was unusual as most of those still in existance in Britain are mainly seen in the more industrial towns and cities.

At the time I wasn't able to discover anything about it at all. It has some wonderful painted ghost signs, declaring it to be Law's Bakery on the front and one side wall, but these are old and the building could very well have changed hands several times since then. On the side wall advert (above), it's called an 'hygienic bakery', which oddly enough doesn't sound all that palatable to me! ;)

However, I've just come across an article about it on the blog 'Painted Signs and Mosaics' by S├ębastien Ardouin, so I'm able to add some information. Before the use of bread making machinery, the state of bread in Britain had become quite dire - gritty, tasteless and not very clean - therefore it's possible that bakeries who used the much cleaner machine method were keen to advertise their wares as hygenic. There's a lot more info on the article about this, which can be seen on the link below.

There is also another delightful ghost ad on the side wall; 'Memory Makers' in a rather lovely script with lots of flighty curlicues. My imagination conjures up hand-made chocolates in lace-edged boxes! However, the information on S├ębastien Ardouin's blog reveals that it was a photographic studio owned by one Julian Francis Bates, whose mention in magazines dates his professional years as running throughout the early 1980s to the mid 1990s, a much later time than the bakery.

The rear of the building looks a lot more derelict. It's interesting to see how the various building materials have been revealed where the plaster has come away from the walls; the top half built with brick upon a stone rubble ground floor. I'm wondering if the original building was little more than a one-storey cottage, built up to provide living quarters above the shop...but please don't quote me on that, as it's just guesswork on my part. As I haven't been back to Exmouth since, I also wonder whether it's still there. I hope so as it's a delightful piece of history.

These photos, along with one other, can also be seen in the Photo Gallery album.

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