A rare photo has been uncovered of what could be the ultimate Great British Bake Off showstopper challenge: a bread arch fit for royalty!
The arch, comprised of 1,500 loaves of bread was constructed in 1894 and spanned Commercial Street in Leeds. It was a tribute to the Duke and Duchess of York, eventually King George V and Queen Mary, who were visiting the city. They were headed to Yorkshire College, now known as the University of Leeds, to open a new library and medical school.
W. Morris, baker and confectioner, baked the 1,500 loaves of bread. Mitre Hotel proprietor and architect Thomas Winn, helped with the construction. The delicious creation was in place only for the day of the royal visit and it is not known if the Duke and Duchess ever saw the edible gesture. Reports of the route the royal couple would have taken through Leeds does not include Commercial Street. All of the work and ingenuity did not go to waste though. According to the Leeds City Council, the day after the royal visit, the bread was given to the poor with soup and tea.
The picture came to light when the Leeds photo archive website got a makeover and was relaunched last month. Also in the Central Library is a W. Morris calendar from 1895, he used an image of the bread arch as advertisement. The earliest photos in the archive are from 1866 and runs to present day with over 67,000 images.
With so many working on their baking skills during quarantine, perhaps this flashback will inspire someone to create a 21st century bread arch!