Former bakery, Brecon

button-theme-crimebutton_lang_welshFormer bakery, 18 Ship Street, Brecon

Behind this 19th-century shop front is an earlier building, probably from the 17th century. It originally had stone walls at the back and sides and a timber-framed frontage. Some of the structure at the rear could be older, and it’s thought that one of the window apertures is medieval. The building is now home to Ship Shape Hair.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was a bakery belonging to Albert Kettle, who owned many Brecon buildings. Ernest Hood-Williams was the tenant here when a fire in 1903 burned for two hours at the back of the bakery before the fire brigade extinguished it. Damage was estimated at £200 (more than £23,000 in today’s money).

Mr Hood-Williams had a contract to supply bread, flour and tea to the local workhouse. He also ended up in court several times. In 1913 he and his employee William Howcroft were each fined 10 shillings for cruelty to a horse. An RSPCA inspector saw the bay cob pulling a baker’s cart with Mr Howcroft driving. It had sores or wounds on its neck and shoulders, with nothing to stop pressure on the painful areas as the horse pulled the cart.

Mr Hood-Williams was back in court in 1917 for driving a car in the Bulwark without lights after dark. He was again fined 10 shillings.

Mr Howcroft, a veteran of the South African War (“Boer War”), left to serve in the army in the First World War and was mentioned in dispatched for his bravery in war service in 1918. His brother Henry was an early casualty of the First World War, killed in France in September 1914, and is named on Brecon war memorial.

In September 1918 Mr Hood-Williams was charged with failing to supply a four-weekly statement about sales of sugar, butter, lard and margarine. His defence was that he was busy doing the “country rounds” himself, since he no longer had an employee to deliver or bake his bread. In October 1918, just before the war ended, Mr Hood-Williams was given a three-month exemption from military service because of the importance of his work.

After the war Mr Hood-Williams had a motor car and employee, Albert Owen, to deliver bread. In June 1919 the county’s inspector of weights and measures spotted Mr Owen delivering bread to a shop in Talyobont-on-Usk. All of the loaves were found to be lighter than 1lb or 2lbs, some were stale and there were no scales in the vehicle for weighing bread. Mr Hood-Williams was fined £3 11s (more than £170 in today’s money).

Postcode: LD3 9AD    View Location Map

Website of Ship Shape Hair salon (Facebook)


To continue the Brecon in WW1 tour, go to the bottom of Ship Street, then cross the river bridge. The next QR codes are in Dinas Road, where it diverges from Bridge Street
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