The most well-known baker in Chesham is of course Darvells, who have been baking bread for Chesham since the middle of the 19th century – getting on for 200 years! However, we will look at No 49 High Street instead which has always been a baker’s shop for the past 100 years.

Over the past 100 years, there have been a total of 29 bakers in Chesham, but today we only have three remaining – Darvells who are independent, and two chains – Greggs and Wenzels.

Greggs bakers, 49 High Street

Map showing location of a bakers
Greggs bakers, 49 High Street

By the 1920s, E. Sells & Son were already established as bakers at 49 High Street. In 1899, they advertised that a “Giant, Almond, Iced Xmas Cake” would appear at 49 High Street which would be cut up on 23rd December and sold at 8d. per lb. Orders were being taken! They advertised themselves as the “oldest firm in Chesham for all kinds of Plain and Fancy Boxes for presents”.

Counting from the right hand edge of the photo, Sells bakers is the third shop in. Taken around 1900

It was in 1937 when the Sells family decided to give up the bakery business and sold it on to Mr Ernest H Crisp of Berkhamsted. They had been trading in Chesham for 60 years, firstly in Church Street and for 40 years at 49 High Street.

When the original founder of the company died, firstly his son and then his daughter took over and continued running the business but Miss Norah Sells had decided it was now time to retire and concentrate on her work for the Christian Endeavour Union, with whom she was heavily involved.

Photo of Chesham High Street showing the bakers. There is a bus stop in the forefront with people waiting. Cars are nearby and people are walking on the pavements next to the shops
Probably taken in the 1940s as Boots the Chemist are next door to the bakers
Colour photo of the High Street. There are cars travelling down the road next to shops and Lloyds Bank on the corner
Possibly taken in the 1970s. Premises then the Bakers Oven

View more shops on Chesham’s High Street

Thank you to the following authors for their contribution:

A History of Chesham Shops: Gwyneth Bradley, Anne Crabbe, Tony Eustace, Keith Fletcher, Pat Kent, Frank Pearce, Eleanor Phillips and Vanessa Worship
A History of Chesham Shops Volume 2: Anne Crabbe, Tony Eustace, Keith Fletcher, Pat Kent, Eleanor Phillips and Vanessa Worship
Pubs of Chesham & Villages: Ray East, Keith Fletcher and Peter Hawkes
Chesham – the Origin of the Town’s Services: Eleanor Phillips and Keith Fletcher
More Tales of Old Chesham: George Piggin
The Story of John Brazil: Jean Archer
Photographs: courtesy of Chesham Heritage.