Thursday 12 September 2013

Ghost signs (98): Bridgwater baker

Not only are my parents becoming adept at spotting ghost signs; my brother-in-law is also contributing finds! This one, above a small shop in Bridgwater, is a reminder that it used to be a bakery. An earlier sign for the same baker, W H Prew, is just visible underneath. It, too, said 'baker' - but went on to add '& grocer'. Perhaps growing success with his baked products allowed Mr Prew to specialise. 

A probate announcement in the January 1956 London Gazette describes William Henry Prew as a 'baker and grocer (retired)' who had died the previous October. Records show that he was born in about 1875. His father was a file maker in a brick yard, but by 1891 William was assistant to his uncle, a baker living in the same road. Ten years later, he was living with his parents and working as a 'journeyman bread baker', but in 1901 he was a baker in his own right, married with a daughter. By 1935 he is listed in Kelly's Directory at this address. The sign, then, is at least sixty years old but may well date back even further: a tangible reminder of a working life spent baking in this Somerset town. 

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