Oliver Adams: A look back through our archives

We take a look back at the history and coverage we have affforded the bakery over the years.

Saturday, 1st April 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:03 pm
Bakers at work in an Oliver Adams bakery

The bakery was founded in 1856 when 16-year-old Thomas Adams became a Master Baker in Northampton, after he travelled to the town from Flore.

Each member of the Adams family has, in their time, made a personal contribution towards the furtherance of the firm’s proud reputation as masters of their trade.

The grandfather of the firm’s 1983 managing director introduced honey into the mixture of Adams bread, an inspired idea that changed the flavour of the loaf thereafter.

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From our archive: Oliver Adams accuses supermarkets of cheating shoppers in Northampton bread war in February 1999

Oliver Adams are also known for their artistry in the production of special celebratory cakes. In the past it baked one special cake bearing 400 candles, containing 35,840 currants, and designed to celebrate 400 years of stately grandeur at Holdenby House.

Other famous cakes have included replicas of motor racing cars, England footballer’s faces, celebratory cakes and any other designs the public wished to see.

The Gladstone Road bakery, opened in August 1976, featured a cash and carry department and supplied hotels and other large establishments.

When it opened it two varieties of special ovens: one German and one French.

From our archive: One of Oliver Adams' famous celebratory cakes

The German design could accommodate 156 Vienna loaves and cobs at one time on its four decks.

The French oven was one of three in the whole country. Thomas James, the great great grandson of the firm’s founder, travelled far and wide in search of the ideal baker, and was so impressed by the performance of the French that he had one installed.

The bakery was considered as a model of efficiency in the 1980s, equipped with every modern device. More than £50,000 worth of equipment was installed just to handle the flour efficiently.

The flour was of the finest quality, milled from Canadian and Australian hard wheat. The bakery could have opted for cheaper options, however it insisted on using only the finest ingredients.

From our archive: Staff at the Shire Lodge bakery raised money for a respiration monitor alarm in 1986
From our archive: Oliver Adams accuses supermarkets of cheating shoppers in Northampton bread war in February 1999
From our archive: One of Oliver Adams' famous celebratory cakes
From our archive: Staff at the Shire Lodge bakery raised money for a respiration monitor alarm in 1986