Young Entrepreneur Bakes For The People of Organford. As a result of the Coronavirus lockdown, James was laid off from his new job as a pastry chef and needed to keep busy doing something.
His great, great, great Grandad Thomas Palmer would be proud. 17-year-old James Palmer-Snellin has a history of baking in his blood.
The Original Palmer Bakery all began in a little cottage in Organford with one bag of flour over a Century ago.
The Coronavirus is going to renew key values for us and teach a generation how to do with less.
David Palmer’s grandson, James, trained as a Commis Chef with Farmer Palmer’s and gained a level 4 Diploma with White Pepper Cookery School.
After only a few weeks into a new job, the Government Coronavirus protection measures closed everywhere. Despite having no job he quickly worked out that his skills were going to waste. He could make bread for the local people in our village. A quick word with his mum and uncle, who run Farmer Palmer’s and he was set up in their kitchen to bake in the evening and early morning for a local bread round. The lad is ‘making some Dough!’
His entrepreneurial spirit runs through the Palmer Family for generations.
Let me take you back in time.
In 1866 Thomas Palmer was born. Thomas came from a family of 9 children. He married his wife Augusta Selina Bailey. Thomas and Augusta had 4 children, 2 boys were sadly stillborn.
Thomas bought his first sack of flour from the local mill and made it into a batch of bread and then took it out and sold it. He was in business! Thomas set up a bakery & general store in the village which served many people in the area. He had his branded cart drawn by a horse and employed people from the cottage bakery which no longer stands in the village.
This all came to an abrupt end in 1930 when Thomas was in Wareham one morning, chatting one minute and suddenly dropped dead. This was possibly an indicator of heart troubles within the Palmer genes.
William Frank Baily Palmer
He was born in 1891 and married Amy Maud Crumpler, a local Lytchett Lady in 1920. He had been working in the Bakery and took over with the help of 2 bakers. They kept pigs, chickens, and geese who ate any leftovers from the bakery or store. Groceries, including milk, cream and fresh bread were delivered to Wareham, Bloxworth, Morden, Lytchett, Creekmoor and Upton.
When the 1st World War started he left for the army, he was in the Dorset Yeomanry. His job was to train young horses that had come over from Ireland ready to saddle and go into battle. There is more about this in our horses’ blog to follow. He took his own horse that was called Pompei, as many farmers and tradesmen did.
When his mother Augusta Selina Bailey had breast cancer he was sent home on compassionate leave. She had both her breasts removed at home, had a trained nurse stay with her for weeks after the operation. She lived until she was 86! William had his appendix out at home on the kitchen table and lived until he was 73.
Delivering Bread by Horse and Cart
William Frank Bailey Palmer used to take his good ole horse and cart, and deliver bread as far as Morden. Getting up early, loading the cart and delivering bread was exhausting. There was one lady on William’s round, in Morden, who used to be his last call. She would offer the baker a little drop of homemade wine, boy it was strong! He’d get back on the cart, fall asleep and Betty the horse would take him home!
William’s dream was to be a farmer, which of course he achieved when he bought Organford Farm.
When Augusta died in 1951 William and Amy decided to sell the shop and bakery as a going concern. They built a new house at the top of Organford Hill. The saddest part of the whole story is that she passed away in 1959 aged only 57 and William died in 1965 aged 73. I only have one photo of myself and grandad. Sadly, Phillip never got to meet them.
Who Is In The Palmer Family Tree.
As the oldest child (pictured on the far left) she used to help with the animals, chickens, and geese at her parent’s Bakery. She became a Sunday School Teacher in her teens and at 20 she cycled approx 6 miles up to Sturminster Marshall where she worked in a Milk factory laboratory. In later years she loved her job at the local telephone exchange.
Was the first son (pictured on the far right) who went to Parkstone school Monday to Saturday. He had to clean chickens one Saturday morning but was supposed to be in school. He chose to miss school to care for his animals. As a consequence, he received 3 strikes of the cane. Only discovered by his mother when she bathed him and asked what the marks were on his bottom.
William was a shrewd businessman but also a hard taskmaster. At the tender age of 18 yrs old Tom was put in to run Blashenwell Farm near Encombe. David Palmer says “My Gosh, he worked so hard. We didn’t get on so well as brothers but I take my hat off to him. He worked like a trojan.” The whole 365 acres of farmland had huge, unkept hedges and was rundown. David remembers seeing an old farm worker drive huge blackthorn right through his hand. Doctors in Corfe Castle took it out.
Once Tom had a new tractor and as a ‘know it all’ tractor driver, hitched on a trailer and had an accident as his foot was caught. Broke his foot through his wellie. He still had to walk across the fields.
Pictured front left, June left school at 16 yrs old. She delivered the Saturday morning bread round on her own. She learned to drive at 14. One day she had a puncture and had to change the wheel herself. Having not done this before, and struggling with the spoked wheel, this resulted in the car rolling forward onto her hand. Her scream could be heard across the fields. Someone came, then left to get more help, they lifted the car off her hand. No hospital. In fact, a testament to her grit she still went out that night!
When David’s 16 yr old sister had to deliver bread to hilly Lytchett Matravers, in the snow, she was concerned she’d get stuck in. Her father threw a shovel and a hessian sack in the boot and said “If you get stuck, dig yourself out”. No mobile phones then to help a 16 yr old girl.
David Palmer’s Tales of Youth
His 1st school was the Lytchett Minster Vicarage School. Alone on a bus at 5 to come home. One morning he got on the wrong Weymouth bus (every child’s nightmare). He got in such a state, scared that he’d never get home! David got off on the A35 and walk down the road.
David’s next school was a small private school a Broadstone. He felt the headmistress was “not a happy lady.” He also remembers they kept serving mincemeat, which he didn’t like. He had to sit there until it was all gone. (Which at the time of writing I remember Mum doing to Phillip and I, when we were kids and didn’t want to eat our food). He used to spread the hankie on his lap, scrape the mincemeat into the hankie, pop it in his pocket and go into the orchard outside to throw it away.
David’s last school was in Bournemouth but the best day of his school life was when he left. David had 2 choices, leave school at 15 and do the bread round or continue at school. He jumped at the bread round with the van. This choice came about because an employee left.
He met his wife, Pat, at a dance and they have been married almost 60 years.
David’s Bread Round
He worked hard, but in contrast, if you give a teenage boy an option for an easy way out they often take it. Whilst on bread round he had to walk up a long drive in the rain. The lady of the home asked him for a different type of loaf, not her normal. As a result, he would have to double his steps to the van and back. That was not going to happen! As a consequence, he politely, although not altogether telling the truth said “Sorry madam but I do not have one of these, please take your usual order”.
The baby of the bunch was Jenny. She went to a school in Wimborne, she was a nanny for a while for a family in Bournemouth. Then she met her husband David, a Vet, and got married and had two wonderful girls, Debbie and Jackie.
Hard Work Pays Off
In the early days around 1910, people used to pay Thomas in guineas, sovereigns, and half sovereigns. As a consequence he would come home with real pieces of gold and silver, this was before there were pounds and ten shilling notes. Many farmer’s wives would take 10 or 12 loaves, 3 times a week to feed their hungry families.
William Palmer’s Sayings Included
- Hard work never killed anyone
- Cleanliness is next to godliness
- If you put that there it will melt like butter before the sun
- Food good enough for man is good enough for the beast
William Palmer’s Favourite Little Song
He had a strong ideology and his favourite song has a strong moral code.
Waste not, want not
Some maximum I would teach
Let your watchword be ‘never despair’
And practice what you preach
Do not let your chances like the sunbeams pass you by
For you’ll never miss the water
Till the well runs dry
The next generation, Sandra & Phillip Palmer have diversified the family farm to Farmer Palmer’s Visitor Attraction. James completed his Commis Chef training there. Hard work, love and care for animals and business ability runs through the family. It was a pleasure speaking to my dad and auntie (who wrote a book on the history of Lytchett Minster and Organford) about their youth.
Young Entrepreneur Bakes For The People With extracts from June King’s Book about Lytchett Minster and her youth. Thank you Auntie June!