The bakehouse is a functional building from the village of Newdigate, near Dorking in Surrey, which has had three different phases to its construction.
In the first phase, it was a timber framed building with a door opening outwards, suggestion that it was built for animals. The frame is oak, and lightweight. In the second phase, in the early to mid-19th century, the building became a bakehouse, and this was added onto the west wall of the timber frame, an internal partition at that time. This phase has Flemish bond brickwork. In the third phase, in the late 19th century, the oven was rebuilt in brickwork with English bond.
The bakehouse would have delivered to the local area, and bread was also sold from the shop next door. We know that the baking ceased in the 1930s. The son of the last baker talked to Museum staff and still lived in Newdigate, so we have a record of what his father baked and how he worked from this space.
The building was dismantled 1989 and was in store until 2017. The original recording of the building was undertaken by Richard Harris, Research Director, and dismantling led by Heather Champion with a team of volunteers. In 2017 work began to put the building up on the Museum site, and it was finished in 2018.
Since then we have been baking from the building, as circumstances have allowed. The ingredients we use are simple, and include flour milled on site in our 17th century watermill.
For further information about the building’s history, see this earlier article by the Newdigate Local History Society.
Top 3 Interesting Facts
Changes of Use
After another trade use, the building became a bakehouse and was used as such until the 1930s.
The Village Bakehouse
In the early 20th century the bakehouse produced around 120 loaves daily.
A Baker’s Work
The last baker, Walter Carpenter, worked from mixing the dough at 7pm to deliveries at daybreak by pony and trap.