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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Dianne Bourne & Alex McIntyre

The iconic bakery that 'hypnotises' drivers on the A556 including Pointless star Richard Osman

For anyone who regularly drives on the A556 it is a familiar and frankly eye-popping site. A huge bakery, with massive windows, where you can watch freshly-baked loaves rotate like a giant rotisserie while sat at the traffic lights.

And Roberts bakery in Northwich has become the talk of Twitter after those loaves "hypnotised" a famous face - in the form of Pointless star Richard Osman on his recent trip to Cheshire. The Roberts factory has long been a landmark on Gadbrook Park right next to the A556 at a crossroads junction where drivers come to a halt.

But since the construction of two new cooling towers in 2000 it has showcased the dough-making process like never before with its large glass walls fronting on to the major arterial route between Manchester and Cheshire.

Read more: The "secret" cake factory shop with cut-price caterpillar cakes, flapjacks, mini rolls and more

And it certainly caught the eye of best-selling author and former Pointless co-host Osman, as reported by Cheshire Live. He wrote on Twitter: "Drove past Roberts Bakery in Northwich.

"It has huge windows so you can watch the whole factory process! It's hypnotic. Why has no-one told me about this before?"

Richard Osman was impressed with Roberts Bakery (BBC)

The post attracted more than 6,000 likes and 200 retweets, as well a huge amount of replies. Roberts Bakery even said Richard was 'welcome to have a tour anytime'.

The impressive building on Gadbrook Park, next to the A556, has become a familiar sight to commuters and residents alike.

The main feature of the building is it's two, huge glass walls showcasing the cooling towers. People waiting at the traffic-light controlled crossroads are able to watch the freshly-baked loaves rotate while enjoying the delicious smell.

Roberts Bakery in Northwich (Cheshire Live)

The company itself is among Cheshire's most historic. Its founder Robert Roberts first began a baking and grocery apprenticeship in Salford when he was just 11.

He then opened his first grocery store in 1887 - selling freshly baked bread to people in Northwich. Family members would then join the business in the 1900s.

Robert's eldest son Frank took over in the 1930s and decided to focus solely on the bread side of the business. He increased the number of bakers from two to eight.

Following the war, the company moves to its current location in Northwich. They go from 12 bakers making over 600 loaves an hour to 200 'bread-lovers' making 90,000 loaves a week, along with purchasing 50 vehicles.

The bakery starts supplying supermarket chain Sainsbury's in the 1970s. By its 100th anniversary in the 1980s, its bread is sold as far afield as Greece - nowadays it reaches customers in Japan and America.

The cooling towers were then built at the turn of the millennium. It celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2012, before opening its third bakery in the Cheshire town two years later as well as a state-of-the-art test kitchen.

The company has won multiple awards, including The Grocer's New Product Award in 2018 for its Heroic Wholemeal. And during the pandemic, the bakers did their part to keep the country fed.

A loaf of bread made at Roberts Bakery in Northwich (PA)

During the lockdown, Mike Roberts, a fourth-generation member of the Roberts family, said: “These are unprecedented times for the nation and our bakery, and our people have had to work harder than ever. Many have had to work extra-long shifts to bake and deliver bread into supermarket stores every day.

"Supporting our community is very important to us and we want to thank everyone – our bakers, cleaning teams, maintenance experts, drivers and office staff – for working tirelessly to get our bread out there.

“We’re proud to be helping to keep Britain fed and we’ll all keep going together to make sure there is enough bread for everybody throughout this difficult time.”

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