Warings Craft Bakers is a small family business started in 1932 by Lawrence Webster Waring. The business continues to uphold its traditional family values and baking techniques with two grandchildren and a fourth generation of family all involved.
Lawrence moved to Reading from Yorkshire where he used to work for the world famous Betty's of Harrogate to take up the position of works manager at Harrises Bakery. He eventually settled in Tilehurst in 1928.
Legend says, and to this day we haven't heard otherwise, that Lawrence fell out with the owner of Harrises. During a very large argument it is said that Lawrence was told "there isn't enough room in this town for the both of us" and was told to get out and not come back.
This prompted Lawrence to look for premises and start his own business. At first he rented a bakery in Weldale Street before being assisted financially by Arthur Newbery which enabled him to start his own bakery The Cake Shop in Armour Road in 1932.
Armour Road was also the family home and the business originally started baking at the back of the house being delivered by bike to the local community. The business continued to grow with the purchase of a van that enabled the family to deliver further afield and carry more baked goods. At this time it was not considered important to have a high street shop as like most bakeries all the bread was delivered direct to the customer's door.
We don't know exactly when it happened but at some point Alice Louisa Waring (more effectionately known as Louie) Lawrence's wife, decided to start selling the bread from the family home. Customers would come in the door, down the hallway and turn into the front room where a small counter was set up from which the bread was sold. Even to this day we still trade from the original family home, although you'd be hard pressed to recognise it as the front room.
It wasn't until Sydney Waring, Lawrence's Son returned to the business that things began to change. Sydney had worked in the bakery ever since he was a small boy using an orange create to reach the table and work the dough by hand with his dad. Syd had left the business a couple of years earlier after an argument and returned only after Lawrence agreed to retire and let him run the business.
Warings remained a small business in Tilehurst until 1978 when the business acquired another premises in Spencers Wood. The premises had a small bakery to the rear and it was decided to split production over the two sites with cakes & pastries being produced in Tilehurst and bread at Spencers Wood.
The next few years saw the business grow even further with Janet, granddaughter of the founder and now managing director overseeing the modernising, refitting and expansion of the retail business. Janet joined the company covering holidays and working weekends before leaving school at fifteen and completing her City & Guilds in baking and a night school in sugar craft. During Janet's time the business has steadily grown to seven shops with production now all under one roof at our purpose built bakery in Spencers Wood extending the one purchased in 1978.
With the next generation comes the next chapter as Warings opens the Sydney Waring Demonstration Studio. The studio will offer the chance for individuals to bake along side our own bakers and learn traditional baking skills in bread, pastries and sweet buns. There will also be the chance for groups & schools to visit demonstrations as well as a Children's bakery that will provide some baking fun!
Despite our growth we still remain a family business and our shops are to be found at the heart of local communities in villages around Reading. We pride ourselves on producing high quality products, the traditional way by craftsmen fresh for you each and everyday.
The Icing on the Cake
Recently Warings Bakery picked up the prestigious award of England’s Most Loved Bakery during the inaugural Craft Bakers’ Week Tasty Tour. Customers praised Warings Bakery for the high quality of their cakes and bakes, and for the fantastic range available - alongside the excellent service of the hardworking staff. Votes for Warings Bakery also included a nomination from a customer that had been shopping with them for over 70 years.
Warings Bakery is delighted to have won a Pride of Reading Award for Business in Action recognising our continued support of local communities and charity fundraising events and donations both local & national.