It all began sometime during the years of the 2nd World war (1939-1945) when Mrs. Ethel Ashwood’s husband brought home a loaf of bread from Whitfield’s Bakery for the household, which then consisted of 6 children, Hodson, Pamela, Gloria, Gracie, Jestina, and the youngest Joseph, who was a baby and 2 servants. Mr. Ashwood explained that the bread was being rationed in the shop and that it cost an exorbitant amount of one shilling! Mrs. Ethel Ashwood considered this matter seriously, as the one loaf of bread was not enough for her, a nursing mother, let alone to feed the entire household.
At once she remembered the method of her late mother Annie Asgill, who used to bake cakes in a pot during Festive seasons and whipped out her cookery book to try to make bread in like manner. She bought all the necessary ingredients in the recipe for bread making and made the first attempt using a metal pot. It was not successful. She tried again and again, and after several unsuccessful attempts which turned out to be hard as stone or completely soggy, she conquered! With joy, she took some samples to give to her nearest neighbors in the Kingtom Police Barracks where they lived. The Police Officers asked her whether there will be more, and so she started making bread with a few pounds of flour, for sale. As the news spread around, the business progressed gradually and by 1948 it was a recognized farmhouse Bakery at Kingtom trading under the name of Ashwood, Sons and Daughters (ASSADS). Mr. Ashwood, a Police Officer who was returning from leave in the U.K. renamed the Bakery, Red Lion after his favorite “watering hole”. A small oven was bought and expert bakers were engaged.
This is the birth of Red Lion Bakery, which has been situated at 13 Bolling Street, Kingtom since 1949. We currently have a staff of 42 full-time employees, and three bread shops: one in the centre of town at 65 Siaka Stevens Street, the other in the west end at 43 Spur Road, Lumley, and the Bakery shop at 13 Bolling Street, Kingtom. Several retail shops across Freetown, owned and operated by independent retailers also carry Red Lion Bread.