Baker’s shop in Stanley Street, Bedford c.1915 [Z1306/10/65/1]
Wednesday 18th July 1917: The Bedford Board of Guardians has petitioned Lord Rhondda to vary the war bread Order on the ground that the mix of cereal in war bread is not conducive to health. Mr. Kenealy, who moved the resolution said he was “sick of this wretched bread” which had increased indigestion and had the whole of England up in arms. The bread was rotten and unwholesome, turned sour very quickly, and often developed a condition known in the trade as “ropy bread” with gummy, glistening strands. Once in this condition it could not be eaten. If poorly chewed it was worse, and it was unsuitable as a staple food for the very young and the very old. Maize, barley, rice and oatmeal are being included with the flour in too great a proportion. Mr. Northwood, a baker, believed that the maize was the cause of the trouble; if kept in a sack it heated itself and caused fermentation in the bags of flour. He believed the supply of wheat was ample and understood the Food Controller was considering a request to go back to entirely wheaten flour. Making bread under these conditions was “enough to break the heart of a baker”. Mr Kenealy knew of one baker who was forced to send 55 sacks of flour back to the miller because if its poor condition, but the replacement flour was little better. When asked what had been done with the rejected flour the baker was told “Oh, that we dumped on to the military”.
Source: Bedfordshire Times, 20th and 27th July 1917; Leighton Buzzard Observer, 17th July 1917