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What's in a Loaf

What’s in a loaf? During the 1930s Dr. Lionel Picton, who had been the Holmes Chapel GP since 1903 and who was the subject of an earlier feature in this magazine, devised a recipe for a wholemeal loaf which became known as Fertility Bread. Dr. Picton was an advocate of healthy eating and good nourishment. He strongly believed that a woman’s good health was essential for fertility and the nurturing of a healthy baby. An intended aid towards this was a wholemeal loaf made from locally grown and ground wheat, mixed with half its weight in raw wheatgerm. Dr Picton believed that Vitamin E, found in wheatgerm, was an essential aid to fertility. Moreover, the ingredients had to be absolutely fresh and baked within 48 hours as the potency of the Vitamin E would diminish. The resulting loaf was both nutritious and tasty.

A patent was obtained by William Mandeville and production began at his bakery on Macclesfield Road, Holmes Chapel. The wheat germ came fresh off the rollers of a Liverpool mill and the fame of the loaf soon spread. Loaves were sent far and wide by post and the bakery received letters asking for advice from all over the world! However, its popularity was short lived. Production ceased with the commencement of the Second World War as the Ministry of Food cut short supplies of the wheatgerm as a war measure and post war production proved impracticable. Unfortunately there are no figures available as to an increase in the population attributable to the bread.

Holmes Chapel U3A

Local History Group

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