South Shields Local History Group

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Akins Bakery

According to Barry Akins there has been a bakery on the corner of Rosebery and Westoe Avenue since the early 1900s.  William Twizell was running Twizell’s Bakery from 1934 at 12 Westoe Avenue. 

Twizell’s advert – 1939

His son Ronald was also involved in the family business until the 1950s. 

Twizells in their van, William Twizell bottom right – 1940s (Akins Bakery)

In the 1960s it became Fosters Bakery.

Ernest Hossner was originally from Czechoslovakia; he became a prisoner of war.  Near the end of the war, he was working on a farm close to Hull where he met Agnes Akins who was a Land Girl in the area, they met and fell in love then married in 1949. 

Ernest Hossner and wife Agnes (Akins Bakery)

Ernest Hossner set up a bakery shop at 22 South Frederick Street in the 1960s.

Ernest Hossner South Frederick Street (Akins Bakery)

He ran the shop until the area was demolished in 1985.

Ernest Hossner (Akins Bakery)

Barry and Anthony Akins were influenced by their uncle Ernest Hossner at his shop in South Frederick Street, where Ernest:

“Inspired their enthusiasm and passion, and taught them the importance of using traditional artisan craft baking methods to create produce of superior quality.”

But they did their apprenticeships at various bakeries in Durham as he suggested to learn their craft. 

When Thomas Akins retired as an electrician, he along with his wife Sylvia saw the enthusiasm their sons Barry and Anthony had for baking.  They both provided valuable support towards the opening of Akins Family Bakers.

In 1984 they opened the shop at 26 Rosebery Avenue; brother Graham joined later, but now works for the British Legion.

Rosebery Avenue – 1984 (Akins Bakery)

Through the success of the Bakery in South Shields Barry and Anthony were able to set up a second shop, which is located in the top-right corner of Durham City Indoor Market.

They opened a bakers shop at 160 Frederick Street, next door to the Eureka pub.

Frederick Street Festival, shop and cowboys! – 1980s (Akins Bakery)
Frederick Street van (Akins Bakery)

They also opened shops in Mortimer Road, Queen Street, Biddick Hall, Brockley Whins and Durham City.

Akins Queen Street (Akins Bakery)

For a short time deliveries were made with an old-fashioned bike in the same way they had been delivered 50 years earlier.

Delivery bike (Akins Bakery)

Unfortunately, the Rosebery Avenue bakery caught fire in the 1990s causing extensive damage but was repaired. 

Rosebery Avenue fire damage (Akins Bakery)

A series of framed photographs hang on the stair wall in the shop as a reminder of their long and dare I say it “Czech-ered” history.

Pictures on the stair wall – 2022

So there has been a bakery on this corner for over 100 years!

Akins Bakery is still making a “ton of dough” today.

Barry Akins
British Newspaper Archives

Barry Akins, Akins Bakery
Terry Ford

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