Our History

Towards the end of the last century, the young Asa Nicholson was employed clearing sites in preparation for stone quarrying. The winter of 1898 was so harsh that the ground was frozen solid for many weeks. Quarrying work was halted, putting Asa out of work. Whilst he was searching for other employment, his sister Eva suggested that he tried his hand at baking Oat Bread (an oval, pancake-like bread in slices made from oats). She was sure that it would sell easily.

Asa asked around the neighbourhood to find someone to teach him the trade. Eventually T H Binns Esq. of Halifax agreed to help him. The training cost £5 plus one farthing fine for every piece that was spoilt. Fortunately Asa learned quickly and was soon able to sell all he made by calling door-to-door on his way home each evening

A "Bakstun" or Bakestone (hotplate) was soon acquired and Asa set up his own small bakery at Bottomley Holes ("Bod'oiles" to the locals) - about a quarter of a mile from the present site. As the business prospered, a horse and cart was bought to use for deliveries. .By the 1920s, Asa's sons, Clifford & Wilfred, joined the expanding business and started making bread and other items.

As a result, Asa Nicholson & Sons was one of the first businesses in the area to buy a motor vehicle for deliveries; a second-hand Model T Ford converted from a car to a flat wagon. The old bakery at "Bod'oiles" had always been a ramshackle affair in the converted cottages and plans were made for a new bakery.

In 1947 the business moved to the present site named Oats Royd, in the centre of Keelham. Since that date, the bakery has been modernised and extended and currently produces over a hundred lines. The business has always operated as a friendly family affair and is currently run by Asa's grandson and great-grandson.