Market Drayton Gingerbread

Gingerbread has been baked in Market Drayton for over 200 years. The first recorded mention is Roland Lateward, maltster, who was baking gingerbread in 1793, but it was probably made much earlier. There's an excellent book you can buy from the museum in Market Drayton called "Shropshire's Spicy Secret" by Meg Prybus (with delightful illustrations by Harry Sales). Apparently the tradition in Market Drayton is to dip it in port!
The gingerbread at the top of this post is Billington's, the packet says it's "hand made to a carefully guarded recipe of exotic spices and spirits", and based on the traditional method and recipe of Mr Thomas from 1817. There were many rival brands, Boughey and Cox, Chesters, Griffiths and Masters, each brand having it's own secret recipe and unique selling points.
Sadly Billington's is no longer made in the town, as the current owner of the recipe, Mark MacCarthy, has moved to Yorkshire. Mark still makes it (in Barnsley) using traditional methods and you can buy it from a card shop (Hart to Hart) in Market Drayton. Hart to Hart will also post it to you, if you're not in the area.

Hart to Hart

7 Stafford St
Market Drayton

Tel: 01630 658203
I thought I was going to end this post by saying gingerbread is no longer manufactured in Market Drayton. But then someone reminded me that Image on Food make it. Sarah and Tim Hopcroft bought Reid's bakery in the town in 1986 and identified a niche market for their range of gingerbread novelty biscuits. They've now moved to by the cattle market and make over 50 tonnes per year of the stuff! You can't buy the gingerbread at the factory, but you can buy it in the Tourist Information office in the town, at Fordhall Farm or Buttercross Farm, or in many many other places including Starbucks, Welcome Break, John Lewis and Waitrose supermarkets and also buy on-line.
Image on Food Ltd
7 Burnside Business Park
Burnside Road
Market Drayton

Tel: 0845 095 1270

Fax: 0845 095 1260

Web: &

Which gingerbread should you try? Billington's is more old fashioned, Image on Food's is more attractive. I think you should try both! If you want to have a go making your own, there's a recipe here and there are many more recipes for other gingerbreads in Meg Pybus's book.


Bill Pearson said…
Since writing this Image on Food have taken over (and preserved) the Billington's brand.