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BAKED IN UNST SINCE 1885
His son, Charles, who returned from working in Lerwick because of the new opportunities, married Mary Mundell and settled in Baltasound in 1883. Enterprising and keen to develop new ideas, his first priority was to replace the building known as “Old Skibhoul” with a modern, purpose-built one to house a bakery, shop, post-office and offices.
On 21 July 1885, the bakery baked its first batch of bread. The following year, the bakers produced 58,151 loaves of bread from a single oven. Of these, one-third were 4lb loaves which sold for 7d (approximately £3.20 in today’s money)* and the remainder were 2lb loaves selling at 3½d.
*measuring worth.com commodity price.
Freshly baked in Unst
‘Fancies’ (cakes) and biscuits were also made from the outset, and some ten years later included ‘wine’ and ‘family’ biscuits, the latter going on to become a great favourite throughout Shetland.
Today, Skibhoul Stores and Bakery still operate from the original two-storey building, with more recent extensions.
When Baltasound was a thriving herring port, Charles built another larger two-oven bakehouse at the Northside which opened seasonally and employed seven bakers supplying bread for the huge population who followed herring shoals around the coast. There was also a large retail shop, with smaller branches on the south side of Baltasound and on the now uninhabited island of Balta, which shelters the harbour.
In the mid 1920’s, Charles’ son Erlend promoted the ‘family’ biscuit, turning it into a top seller and the best known biscuit in the Shetland islands, selling from Flugga in the north to Fair Isle in the south, and from Out Skerries in the east to Walls in the west (according to Erlend’s brother, Charlie, who was to take over the business in Baltasound from their father).
The Skibhoul Bakery story remained one of success and growth and in more modern times – in 1987 – much of the bakery was rebuilt. Some of the original equipment was, however, retained and is still in use.
Today, the bakery, with its long history, continues to draw on the heritage and the traditional skills of those who established the business and built it up with their knowledge and their commitment to quality and taste. We distribute our hand-crafted products throughout Shetland and, by post, to the rest of the United Kingdom.
It is a real pleasure for us to bring a taste of Unst and Shetland to you.
Today, the bakery, with its long history, continues to draw on the heritage and the traditional skills of those who established the business and built it up with their knowledge and their commitment to quality and taste.