The baker’s delivery van

We are continuing our look at Mr Shepppard who ran the Tip Top bakery in Easterton today.

Yesterday we saw his motorcycle combination delivery system. Today we see his first delivery van.

Tip Top Bakery van in Easterton - early 1930s

Tip Top Bakery van in Easterton – early 1930s

What a stunning picture this is. Jim Sheppard is driving the van.

Jim Sheppard owned the business and the van

Jim Sheppard owned the business and the van

This looks very much like a motortrike. It appears to have handlebar steering. But having a small van body it had space for advertising.

The side of the van names the business

The side of the van names the business

This vehicle was the forerunner of the Reliant Robin – made famous as Del Boy’s transport in the TV sitcom, ‘Only Fools and Horses’. It dates from the very early 1930s and was actually produced by Raleigh.

Now we’ll turn our attention to the other person in the picture.

Ralph Maule was a neighbour on High Street, Easterton

Ralph Maule was a neighbour on High Street, Easterton

This lad is Ralph Maule. He was a neighbour who later became Jim’s apprentice. We think he was born around 1918 although we find no record for a birth. He appears on the 1939 electoral roll for Easterton, living on High Street, Easterton with Alice who we guess was his mother. Ralph may have had two wives. He first married in 1942 and then he married Monica Burgess, in 1981.

Does anybody know any more about him?

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3 Responses to “The baker’s delivery van”

  1. Jim Says:

    Interestingly the building behind, the roof above the van, is Coleman’s bakery. Fancy setting up in business right next door to the opposition.
    I think Ralph Maule took over Colemans bakery later. The last baker to run it was Teddy Gaiter who, I think, closed the business in the 1970s.

  2. Judith Matthews (nee Maule) Says:

    The young lad in the picture was my father. What a surprise it was to find him here, as I have never seen this picture before. Dad was born in York at the very end of 1917 and given up for adoption. He was adopted by Alice and John Maule and taken to Canada at the age of two. His adoptive father was killed by a ram seven years later and he and his mother came back to England to live in Easterton with no means of support. Dad spent about 18 months at Easterton village school and passed the entrance exams for the Grammar School. Unfortunately his mother was unable to afford the uniform so he went to the old secondary school at Market Lavington. He left school at 14, I believe, and was working with one of the village bakers as his apprentice. He used to say that his first job in the morning was to catch the very temperamental horse ready for deliveries. He became a baker in his own right, but war broke out so he left to join the Royal Navy as a cook, and very soon lead cook, on several different vessels. When he was serving aboard HMS Medway, steaming away from Alexandria, it was torpedoed and very quickly sank, terrifying for a man who couldn’t swim. Somehow he survived, and returned to Easterton after the war to resume his job as village baker in the bakehouse. During the war he married Margaret Trott from Evercreech, who was living and working at Fiddington House. They met at a dance at Easterton Village school. They lived in the tiny cottage adjoining the bakehouse for several years, and it was my home from birth in 1948 until 1951 when Dad bought Stanley House, directly opposite the bakehouse. My brother, Bruce, soon came along, and we lived there for many years, dad still running the bakery but other people living in the cottage. Bruce and I both went to the village school, following in Dad’s footsteps. Eventually the long hours and early starts became too much, and Dad handed over the bakery to Mr.Gaiter, and started up a business selling groceries from a van around the local villages. My mother died in 1978, and a few years later Dad married Monica Burgess and moved to Devizes. He died in Devizes Hospital in 1992.

    • marketlavingtonmuseum Says:

      What a lovely detailed comment. Thanks so much.

      Have you found a photo of yourself on the blog?

      And I’d guess your father gets a mention in a 1936 news article.

      I’ll send you an email.

      Rog

      Curator

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