Subsidiary Companies


 Hale-Trent Ltd

Far Famed Cake Company Ltd


The Hale Trent cake group, once the fifth largest in the UK packaged cake market, were acquired in April 1974 when Lyons bought the entire share capital of Hale-Trent (Holdings) Limited from Fitch Lovell. Hale-Trent consisted of two cake companies, Hale-Trent Cakes Ltd with a head office and factory in Clevedon, Somerset, and the Far Famed Cake Company Ltd based at Poplar, east London. The Far Famed Cake Company had been started in 1881 and became part of Fitch Lovell in 1950. About 320 people worked in the London factory producing almost 25 per cent of Hale's total sales. The output went straight into the Hale's distribution system apart from the own-label products for F. W. Woolworth.

The Clevedon factory with a workforce of approximately 900 manufactured a range of cakes similar in some respects to those of Lyons Bakery. They included Swiss rolls, crunch cakes, eclairs, Battenberg, fruit pies, jam tarts and their biggest seller line, Grannie's cake, a fruit cake with a home-made appearance. Distribution was by feeder vehicles direct to the sales vans, the product being off-loaded from one to the other at pre-arranged times and transfer points. The cakes were sold over a wide area of England and Wales but not in Scotland. The sales force numbered about 280 which satisfied 200 journeys.

The Hales business, acquired by Fitch Lovell in the middle of the Second World War, was started in Clevedon in 1926 by Frank Hale who, it is said, baked his first cakes (Hales Farmhouse Cake) in the kitchen of his home. He began production under the name Farmhouse in Old, Clevedon, Somerset. By 1932 the business had grown enough to be formed into a limited company and Hale's Home Bakery (Cleveland) Ltd was formed. By the mid-1930s the business was employing 200 and sales depots had been opened in Swindon and Southampton. In 1938 the business was sufficiently profitable to justify the purchase of a Swiss roll production line, only the second in the country, the first had been producing prodigious quantities of Swiss roll at Lyons' Cadby Hall factory many years earlier. In the 1940s shortly before he died, Frank Hale sold a majority interest in his business to the food wholesaling group Fitch & Son. Fitch already had the John Trent cake business in East London and in 1962 the two companies merged to form Hale-Trent Cakes. At that time Hale-Trent had a work-force of 1,330 producing 600 tons of cake a week which was sold all over England and in most parts of Wales. Product included Swiss rolls, crunch cakes, eclairs, Battenberg, fruit pies, jam tarts, Maderia cake, cup cakes, Neopolitan slice and the biggest seller, Grannies Cake, a fruit cake with a home-made look which was not too different from the cake on which Frank Hale had founded his business. They introduced a method of distribution by dispensing with depots completely and used public car parks and lorry drive-ins where large lorries would unload product from the factory to smaller local delivery vehicles. Lyons acquired the business in 1974, along with the Far Famed Cake Company, which had been owned by Fitch since 1950. In 1985 Hale-Trent's sales, marketing and distribution functions were merged with those of Lyons Bakery Ltd and the whole business integrated with Lyons Bakery the following year. Two years later the Hale-Trent factory at Clevedon was closed and production moved to Carlton and Wakefield.


 © Peter Bird 2002