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The Staff of Life: Bakers & Confectioners


'Staff of life, earn a crust, use your loaf.' The English language's huge number of bread idioms highlight the importance of this commodity in our ancestors' lives. The cost of a loaf was so crucial, it caused riots should its price soar.  

Adèle Emm's talk explores the history of the baker and bakery, their importance in the community, source of ingredients, daily routine, working life and conditions plus dastardly tricks to earn his dough and how it was punished. Their product even affected the customers' height and health. Confectioners and pastry cooks make cakes, pies, tarts, jams, gingerbread, sweets and biscuits. Join her on Pudding Lane…


About the speaker: Adele Emm worked in television production and later taught media production. She now researches and writes full time specialising in media, social history and family history.

 Adele's most  recent  book is My Ancestors Worked in Textile Mills published in 2020 by the Society of Genealogists, plus Tracing your Trade and Craftsmen Ancestors and Tracing your Female Ancestors both published by Pen and Sword.  You can read her blog and website at:

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