A number of bakers operated in the Forncetts and some employed a number of local folk as can be seen from the photo above taken outside what is now known as 'The Old Bakery' in the present Bentley Road (formerly 'Dirty Road'), Forncett End. Horse and cart is seen to be the transport of the day - probably the early 1900s. Not far away was Henry John Ludkin's grinding mill for supplying the flour, no doubt both for the bakers and for private folk to bake their own, if they had an oven.
James ('Jimmy') Humphreys (born 1866) was the son of James Humphreys Snr. (publican of the Trowel and Hammer from 1836 to 1881). In 1891 James Jnr. was learning his trade as a baker from John Moore, baker and sub-postmaster in Forncett End. James married Emma Brooks in 1895 and by 1901 they were running their bakery and confectionery business at 'The Old Bakery' (below) where Emma specialized in cakes and other confectionery.
In the early 1920s James and Emma moved to Harley House where they erected a 'Bake Office' (now the garage) in 1923 and this bakery operated until at least 1939.
Jimmy Humphreys outside his shop at Harley House
After Jimmy Humphreys, Ernest Lockwood continued baking at the 'Old Bakery' which he rented from Fred Tann, but later Ernest built a bake house at the corner of The Poplars (what is now 6 Bentley Road). This bake house had the first steam oven in Forncett, which was built by Pearson of Tacolneston. In 1945 Ernest sold his bakery to Alfred J Tubby, originally from Yarmouth, and on 27th October 1947 Alfred bought Harley House from Jimmy and Emma Humphreys. However it appears that Tubby bought Harley House as a place to live and never used the bake house there.
Alfred Tubby built up a successful local business with his two sons and running two delivery vans (manned by Russell Bradford and Wallace Frost) to surrounding villages: Bunwell, Carleton Rode, Fundenhall, Lower Forncett, Moulton, Tacolneston and Tivetshall. A standard loaf weighed two pounds and the pointed bread rolls seven ounces (ca. 200g) (see below Alfred Tubby at back feeding the oven). Wholemeal loaves were also baked but were not as popular.
When Canadian flour became available he baked a 'milk loaf', which found great favour with his customers compared with the greyer, white loaf of former times. Bread was not the only item supplied. Local folk rearing pigs and chickens obtained their meal and 'Cositos' (flaked maize) from 'Tubby's Hygienic Bakery' at Forncett End. When Alfred closed down his business in 'Dirty Road' and moved to Norwich the last bakery had had its day in Forncett.