A Small Piece of History
founded by Bernard and Margaret Slattery in 1967
Bernard had started his working life as a page boy at the Mayfair cinema, Whitefield, but still a teenager, was called up to join the RAF to serve in the Middle East desert campaign as a gunner. With his hearing damaged, he moved to the cookhouse and bakery and after the war went to work with shipping company Manchester Liners, baking fresh bread and cakes while travelling from Salford docks to Montreal, a round trip often taking about a month. Between trips Bernard went to what was then the Salford Technical College to do his formal City and Guilds qualifications in bread and flour confectionary. After qualifying, he went on to gain experience at various bakeries in the area including Bury Co-op, as well as several family businesses. Bernard and Margaret were married in 1950, their son John was born in 1953 and their daughter Ann in 1959.
The original bakery that Margaret and Bernard opened on 30th June 1967 was in Cleveland Road, Crumpsall, along with a small shop on Marlborough Road, Higher Broughton. Margaret took on the running of the shops and the accounts for the business. John was 14 when the family went into business and would help in the bakery after school and at weekends. At 16 he went to Salford College to formally train in baking and confectionery, and spent time in Switzerland and Europe gaining further qualifications and experience. John's sister Ann also attended the college a few years later and met husband-to-be Stephen Barnes, who also joined the family firm after gaining his qualifications.
The business grew in reputation and size, with another shop opening in Salford. This was replaced in 1979 by one in Prestwich, which, remained open until the mid 1980s. During those years the business won many accolades in the national bakery completions, with John, Ann and Steve taking on all comers to win the UK Bakers of the Year Award, four years in a row. As the bakery flourished so did the family. John married Marilyn and had daughters Kate in 1978 and Laura in 1980. Ann and Steve had 3 children, Sarah in 1982, Anthony in 1984 and Joanne in 1986.
In 1991 Bernard and Margaret retired and Ann, Steve and John looked set to take over the business. However, with growing families to support, it was decided that expansion was required. Ann and Steve took over the running of the bakery in Crumpsall, whilst john opened a new business in Whitefield at 156 Bury New Road, where he concentrated on the “sweet things in Life”. John’s passions and expertise always lay in the confectionery side of the business and this new branch to the family business concentrated on producing handmade chocolates, gateaux and desserts alongside birthday, wedding and celebration cakes. This new business and the old original bakery worked very closely, as they still do today. The bakery produces the majority of baked products for the Whitefield business. As John's reputation spread and with a truly unique award winning enterprise, the business quickly out-grew the original premises and moved up the road to 190 -192 Bury New Road. Within 2 years of moving into this building, further space was again needed. The purchase and conversion of the house at 194 Bury new road provided the extra space needed. By this point John’s Daughter Kate has joined the business, working both at the Crumpsall bakery and then at the Whitefield branch after studying catering at college.
Laura, who had worked in the shop since the age of 14 at weekends and on school holidays, joined the business on a full time basis in 2002, after completing a degree in Business Studies at Nottingham Trent University. With John safe in the knowledge that the business would continue with the next generation of Slatterys, the decision was taken to greatly expand in 2004 but true to form, not very far. John had set his sights on a local landmark, the neglected 100-year-old Masons Arms Public House. Located just opposite the current business, it was the perfect opportunity to develop and grow the business, without losing customers by moving very far. The former pub was completely derelict and a complete renovation took place in just over 6 months. The business closed for just two days while the move from one side of the road to the other took place! The new building boasts a stunning wedding cake show room, elegant dining room and the 'Slattery School of Excellence'. This unique training facility provides courses and demonstrations for both the trade and the general public, covering everything from chocolate, sugar modelling, cake creation to cookery and wine tasting. A conference room is also available for hire for meetings or small parties. Seven years after the move the business continues to go from strength to strength and is even more of a family affair. Laura currently looks after the shop side of the business along with all staffing issues, while john takes a greater role in the management of the production side of things. Ann and Steve's daughter Sarah joined the team over 4 years ago as one of our skilled cake decorators and their son Anthony works as our Shop Manager overseeing the running of the busy shop. Kate's role is supporting Julie Oddie the course tutor in the Slattery School of Excellence.