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Journeying back in time with Wendy

Video exclusive: Cheap Street traders welcome newburytoday into their businesses

Sarah Bosley


01635 886655

With Christmas puddings cooking in the 120 year old ovens and warm mince pies waiting patiently on a platter for a sprinkling of sugar, we ventured behind the counter of one of Newbury’s most iconic cafes.

Wendy, from the Empire Café on Cheap Street, invited Newburytoday into her kitchens and shared some of the secrets of the independent business that has been a firm favourite in the town for more than 80 years.

The business began life on the other side of town, as Speenhamland Bakery, in 1935. The owners of the bakery took over the Cheap Street café in 1947 and the bakery finally closed in 1954 to make way for the Royal British Legion. Its fleet of bread vans were frequently seen around the dusty country roads of West Berkshire in the early days.

Wendy still uses the oven and large dough mixers that have been in the bakery for more than a century to produce all of her cakes and meals fresh, daily. Her lardy cakes are famous the county over.

In the first of our series of videos from Cheap Street, you can click on the video link above and hear more from Wendy.

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