Crouch End star retires as Master of Worshipful Bakers

Lord mayor Vincent Keaveny with retiring Master of the Worshipful Company of Bakers Christoper Freeman 

Lord mayor Vincent Keaveny with retiring Master of the Worshipful Company of Bakers Christoper Freeman - Credit: Phil McCarthy

A fifth generation Crouch End baker has retired after spending two years as the head of one of the City of London's ancient guilds.

Christopher Freeman, of Dunns Bakery in the Broadway, retired as the Master of the Worshipful Company of Bakers – a guild dating back to 1155 – at a ceremony on November 29.

Christopher put himself forward to take up the role in November 2019 because 2020 marked 200 years of consecutive baking by his family.

Due to the pandemic his year as head of the guild was extended to two years.

Lady Mayoress Amanda Keaveny with Lord Mayor Vincent Keaveny and Christoper Freeman and Christina Freeman 

L-R Lady Mayoress Amanda Keaveny with Lord Mayor Vincent Keaveny and retiring Master of the Worshipful Company of Bakers Christoper Freeman and Christina Freeman - Credit: Phil McCarthy

"I was elected master in November 2019 and three months later we went into lockdown and Covid and all those issues came to the fore.

"All face-to-face meetings stopped and meetings took place on Zoom. It quickly became apparent that some of the charities we had links with were in huge need of support."

Two of those were foodbanks in Shoreditch and Poplar, which asked him to supply bread and buns to put in their food parcels.

"Over the period of time we delivered to them 10,000 loaves of bread and 8,000 packs of buns," he said.

"In the early days some of the wholesale bakers supplying food services such as restaurants closed their doors because the bottom had fallen out of their market so I was able to get suppliers with ingredients and persuaded my son Lewis to make the bread for us, which he very kindly did and we're just about winding that down now.

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"Having run the shop for 45 years until I retired, I knew what we were capable of doing."

He added: "We moved into general mode of supporting things where we saw the need so all the ceremonial stuff and the social side of things just disappeared completely."

Many other causes included hot meals for NHS staff, teaching baking skills to prisoners, and a Lessons in Loaf programme for children in east London, who were shown how to grow wheat, harvest it and turn it into bread. 

"When you can make a difference to something it's important to do so," he said.

"For me it was a huge honour. I'm a fifth generation baker. It was supposed to be a year of all sorts of celebrations but it turned out differently. It gave us the opportunity to do different things that I'm incredibly proud of."