STORY: The Home Made Bakery celebrates 50 years

The Home Made Bakery in Leigh is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and to mark the occasion the family of bakers are sharing the story of how it all began.

Founders of the Home Made Bakery Ken and Aileen Flanagan met in London on Coronation Day and married not long afterwards. Ken had always dreamt of owning a bakery, so after Ken left the Merchant Navy, where he worked as a chef, he spent time working in a variety of roles to learn his craft. This included working around the country as a pastry chef, baker, and bakery manager. Then finally in 1971, Ken realised his dream and opened the Home Made Bakery in Leigh, Leigh-on-sea, Essex. Ken’s wife Aileen then gave up her nursing career to help him run the business, which turns 50 this month and is now run by Ken and Aileen’s children and grandchildren.

Whilst sadly Ken and Aileen have passed away, their children and other family members are keen to keep the business and its history alive as the Home Made Bakery has now become a part of Leigh’s heritage. Over the years, members of the family including Ken and Aileen’s four children Karen, Julie, Giselle, and Karl have joined the team at the bakery. Julie’s son Shaun and Karl’s children Samantha and Nikki have also worked in the business. Karl, Karen, and her husband Dave still take care of the business today, with Karen’s children Shelley and Summer also working within the business. Shelley works in the shops and also handles health and safety and food hygiene whilst Summer is a bread baker. Karen’s son Sunny currently works as a product developer with one of the leading European Ingredients producers and plans to return to the business and re-join his sisters one day.

Since it was founded, the business has had to contend with two bread strikes and, more recently challenges from Brexit and Covid. But with the help of loyal customers and staff, The Home Made Bakery has still managed to grow significantly, and now has bakeries in three locations in Leigh, Thorpe Bay and Eastwood.

Karen Dann, Managing Director of The Home Made Bakery said “We have been truly blessed over the years with our staff and customers without whom we certainly wouldn’t be here now, but overall, our passion for what we do and the love we have for each other as a family has made us get where we are today. We still hand make and bake most of our products on site and in a lot of cases still use original machinery and floor standing mixers, some of which are nearly 100 years old.”

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