Bilsland Brothers, Hyde Park Bakery, 45, Hyde Park Street.—
If the city of Glasgow, as a centre of population, wealth, and industry is to be considered as the second city in the kingdom, there are certainly some points for which she is justly entitled to claim the first place, and one of these is the art and practice of bread-making, for in the well-known Hyde Park Bakery the city possesses an establishment which, in point of size, organisation, and the magnitude of its operations, is second to none in the United Kingdom, and as some assert, in the whole world.
The nucleus of this extensive business was formed by Mr. William Bilsland, one of the four brothers, William, James, Alexander, and John, who now constitute the firm of Messrs. Bilsland Bros. Mr. William Bilsland commenced business in 1872 in Greenhill Street, and was joined by his brothers in 1879, when, owing to the rapid development of the business and the necessity for increased accommodation, it was determined to erect the present extensive establishment, which was completed in 1882. The elevation of this noble building presents many attractive architectural features.
The whole establishment covers fully half an acre of ground, and has a frontage of 180 feet. There are two main piles of buildings; the front pile, most of which is three stories in height, is occupied in part by the public and private offices of the firm, a retail shop, keeper’s dwelling-house, &c.; the two side wings, connecting the two main buildings, are occupied as stables, hay and corn lofts, boiler-house, engine-room, &c. The hinder range of buildings, including the attic floor, is six stories high, and in this are two bake houses, each 180 feet in length, one of them situated on the ground floor, two feet above the street level, and the other immediately over it, while all the floorage space above, amounting to about 22,250 square feet, is set apart for storing flour.
It is scarcely practicable within the limits of the present article, to describe the details of the modus operandi of the “manufacture”, but the leading features are the application of all the best and most improved machinery and appliances that skill, experience, and mechanical science have devised. A marked and impressive feature, too, is the scrupulous cleanliness and perfect organisation that are everywhere apparent.
The arrangements of the barn rooms are worthy of special notice. Neither German nor French yeast being employed at the Hyde Park Bakery, each foreman makes the barn required for the work under his charge. The bake house proper contains thirty-eight ovens. They are all built outside the bake house proper, and on the further side on entering from the street. In the lower bake house they are all single ovens, measuring 8 feet 5 1/2 inches by 12 feet 2 inches; and in the upper house there are nine of the ovens double and one single, the former measuring 17 feet 8 inches by 12 feet 2 inches. This portion of the building is all fireproof.
The growth of the business has rendered it necessary to add recently to these ovens an American revolving oven, which is exclusively used for pan loaves. This oven has capacity equal to four ordinary ovens, and in addition to other merits it effects a very great saving of labour in the work of filling, and also emptying. The productive capacity of the bakery is about 22,400 dozen of 2 lb. loaves, which may be represented by 1,400 sacks of flour of 280 lbs. each, and on an average a hundred and seventy men are kept in active employment.
The firm have also no fewer than twenty-two vans. Each van is in charge of a bread salesman, accompanied by an assistant. The extensive connections of this noted firm are well founded upon the eminent reputation they have so long enjoyed, and the high standard of quality which their intimate practical knowledge of the business in all its details, combined with the splendid machinery and perfect organisation, enables them to maintain.
The mercantile department is conducted in a spacious suite of well-appointed offices. Each of the partners takes an active part in the business ; and that commendable spirit of enterprise and energy which has always animated the members of this firm is strongly apparent in the management of every branch of their operations.
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