Fitzbillies - Iconic Cambridge Bakery Celebrated it's 100th Birthday on 4th October 2020
On 4th October 2020 Fitzbillies celebrated its 100th birthday. A century of Chelsea buns and all manner of cakes and bread, behind its original Art Nouveau facade. In a world where most businesses do well to last a few years or a few decades Fitzbillies is a survivor. In its 100 years it has survived war, fire, flood, bankruptcy and now pandemic, remaining as popular as ever through everything.
The recipe is simple - delicious food - the cakes have now been joined by great coffee and brunch - made and served by people who are proud of what they do. We make and serve what we like to eat.
On Saturday 2nd October 1920 the following ad ran in the Cambridge Daily News….
And on Monday 4th October 1920 the doors to Fitzbillies on Trumpington St opened to the public for the first time, ready for the start of the University term. The owners, brothers Ernest & Arthur Mason must have been delighted with their beautiful new shop front and excited to start serving the range of buns, cakes and pastries they baked in the bakery behind it.
In some ways nothing has changed. We still look forward to the new term each year, to baking our cakes and serving our customers - both new and regular.
The Birthday Cake
We believe that the cake should be the centre of any celebration. If you’re a bakery that is even more important.
Fitzbillies Birthday cake will be a giant tower of our ridiculously sticky Chelsea Buns. 11 tiers high and containing 250 buns it will be the tallest tower of buns we have ever made. It will be ‘cut’ on the morning of the actual birthday - Sunday 4th October 2020 by Gill Abbs, our head baker of 49 years. (She will probably make the buns too - she prefers it that way).
You will appreciate that we have to keep numbers of guests very limited - sadly , social distancing precludes a party - but if you would like to send a photographer, camera crew or conduct an interview, we can make arrangements.
We feel very honoured that Fitzbillies has been part of so many people’s lives over the past hundred years.
We love it when people tell us their stories, old and new - of Chelsea buns enjoyed as a rare treat in a post-war childhood, or after exhausting college rowing outings; of wedding cakes ordered from the same bakery down the generations, or a special afternoon tea or brunch that was the highlight of a trip to Cambridge.
For our 100th birthday this year we are collecting your memories of Fitzbillies - old and new and featuring them on our website. Please send/upload your memories (photos and stories) to: email: firstname.lastname@example.org social media: tag @fitzbillies and use #fitzbilliesmemories
The current owners of Fitzbillies, food writer and broadcaster Tim Hayward, and his wife, local girl and baker, Alison Wright published a book in advance of the 100th Birthday. It contains the history and recipes of the business along with lots of beautiful photos of Cambridge as well as the cakes of course. There is even a recipe for you to try making Chelsea buns at home. (It’s an adaptation of the recipe we use in the bakery, suitable for home baking as, of course, we would never give away the secret recipe.)
Throughout September and October we have a Birthday Buns & Book Offer - 4 Chelsea Buns and a Signed Copy of the Fitzbillies Book for £20. (A saving of nearly £10 over the usual combined price). Available in both our branches or online by clicking here.
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