The November Meeting of the Bellaghy Historical Society was addressed by Mr. James Davidson, current Chairperson of the Federation of Ulster Local Studies, on the subject “Our Daily Bread” which is the title of his book on the History of Ulster Bakeries.
Mr. Davidson is the third generation of his family to have worked in the family-owned Eglinton Bakery in Belfast. His knowledge of his subject is extensive and his enthusiasm for it made his talk very engaging. He gave detailed information of the 25 large Bakeries operating in the Province of Ulster in the past as well as listing the 30 to 40 family owned Bakeries which have now disappeared becoming members of larger conglomerates.
With every company mentioned he could cite names of the owners and their families adding most interesting anecdotes about them and the products for which they were best known – Morton and Simpson of Ballymena for example were famous for their wheatmeal and although bought over by Andrews, this meal is still traded under the “Early Riser” Morton name. One of his many fascinating slides was of one of their Bread Carts, unique as it was the only one for which the name of the Company, breadman and horse were all known.
Northern Ireland has a variety of bread which greatly exceeds that of England, a characteristic which we share with Southern Ireland and Scotland.
Thanking the Speaker, Mrs Breslin, Chairperson, reminded members that the next meeting will be on the subject of “Portmore, Ballyscullion and Bellaghy – a look at history in local songs” which will be given by Mr. John Moulden, Portrush at the usual time of 8 p.m. in The Old School Centre, Castle Street, Bellaghy.
Guest speaker James Davidson, gave everyone an interesting insight into the History of Ulster Bakeries at the November Meeting of Bellaghy Historical Society.