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HISTORY OF ELIZABETH BOTHAM

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Elizabeth Botham   The Bothams came from Kirkburn and Tibthorpe, in the Yorkshire Wolds and were mostly shepherds. The 1851 census records seven families of Bothams in Tibthorpe!
We do not know when they moved to Wykeham.

1841 but in 1841, Robert Botham was at “Farm House”, Wykeham.
by 1851 By 1851 Robert married twice – first to Mary
Then to Alice – b. Ruston
John Botham was the eldest son of Robery and Mary.
1858 He succeeded his father in 1858 together with youngest son, Robert.
c.1859 John married Anne – b.Tibthorpe
four children followed and in
1863 Ann and the baby John died.
(They are buried in Wykeham churchyard – also Richard Bothams, who was Robert and Mary’s 3rd son)
The family tale says that the farm at Wykeham had an outbreak of anthrax and was sold up.
  1864 John Married Elizabeth Scott of Brandesburton in Hackness (perhaps she worked there). He was 36, she was 26.
They must have moved very soon – to Blue Bank and then to Hutton Mulgrave and then to Whitby.
  1865/1869 Elizabeth was reputedly selling her pies and cakes from a large green handcart, and then from the Skinner Street pub, “The Hole in the Wall”

Skinner Street in 1883

From a talk by V.Seaton Gray Esquire in 1945, in the files of Whitby Naturalist's Club

Mrs Botham had but lately opened this small shop, having previously been in business in Fishburn Park. The previous occupiers of the Skinner Street property had been Mrs Forrest, whose husband, Captain Forrest, was master of the paddle tug "Emu" who, in turn, disposed of the business to Mr Ralph B. Longhorn, baker and confectioner.

"There is a low paned window with an appetising display of cakes. We go down a step into the little dark shop, setting in motion a ding-dong-dangle bell which brings little square Mrs Botham, dressed all in black, out of a tiny room at the back which has a white curtained door.

"Already the fame of her wares has spread and there are times when it is impossible to get into the shop so that one has to wait on the pavement outside. Only the very best ingredients are used, and even a week-old pound of butter were sent in by one of the farmers' wives it would go, with Mrs Botham after it to speak her mind.

"Could we but look some years ahead, we would be able to remark the extra-ordinary and deserved success of her diligence, and see this modest little shop converted into a palatial red-brick edifice of four stories, and occupying a considerable frontage to the street. The more northern portion contains the shop itself, with an "L"-shaped counter and a great variety of cakes and pastries - in particular round butter-cakes with a thick layer of sugar and butter between sponge cake, and a top all ornamented with little horns of butter and sugar, the whole confection quartered in pink and yellow.

"The southern portion of the frontage was occupied as a cafe, decorated within in ye-olde-worlde manner with oak tables and an ingleneuk. It has green and purple stained glass windows facing the street, which give it a gloomy atmosphere of an aquarium.

"But to return to the little shop - having made our purchases - we emerge into the sunlight to hear the sound of shouting from a yard just beyond the shop. Down the yard is the beerhouse, the Hole in the Wall, also administered by Mrs Botham, who from her little parlour keeps an eye on the taproom; and it is feared that the customers are likely to be troublesome......."

Scrap Book

Travel to the present time

Our Cafe in the early 1900's

 
The inglenook fireplace in our original Skinner Street Cafe

The inglenook fireplace in our original Skinner Street Cafe

Botham's Advert from the 1920's
From Horne's Guide

 

In 1865 Elizabeth Botham and Sons was established as bakers, caterers and confectioners at 39 Skinner Street Whitby. Elizabeth was the second wife of John Botham from Driffield, the family having moved to Whitby to run a farm there. Elizabeth had many children to feed and began selling her home baking door to door and at the market in order to make ends meet but in a short time her business flourished and soon became the main income for the family.

By the turn of the century Elizabeth had bought a manor house on the edge of town and built a new shop and cafeteria in which to serve such delicacies as lemon buns and afternoon tea. The growth of tourism in the town was undoubtedly a big bonus for the business as many of the traditional industries such as shipbuilding, were in decline. To exploit this new source of income, during the summer months Elizabeth moved the family into the rooms above the bakery in order to let the manor house to wealthy families from Hull and the West Riding.

The business passed to her sons, principally Arthur (the daughters and their husbands setting up bakeries in Leeds and Hull – but that’s another story!) and thence to Arthur’s sons Billy, Sydney and Neville who kept the bakery going despite the difficulties of World War Two.

Throughout the late sixties and seventies Neville and his wife Audrey, together with a loyal and hardworking staff, successfully adapted the business to keep up with great changes within the industry. They eventually passed the company on to their children, Nick, Sarah and husband Mike Jarman, Jonathan and Elizabeth, who now run the company with Audrey on hand for guidance. Several of the next generation are now working part time at Bothams and provide an invaluable source of help during holidays. Lois Jarman is let out twice a week to attend Thomas Danby College in Leeds.

Today, in this age of leisure (ha!), Nick is heavily involved with the Whitby Lifeboat as the acting second coxswain and has taken part in numerous rescues over the last twenty-five years. Mike’s precious spare time is devoted to his classic cars: a Triumph TR3a and an E-type Jaguar while Sarah has a welsh pony to keep her busier still! Elizabeth plays tennis but there’s always a piping bag close at hand. Jo, when work, family, and weather permit likes nothing more than a dip in the icy waters of the North sea (or warmer ones if possible) to indulge his passion for surfing. “I’ve been addicted to surfing for over twenty five years and now I need it as my escape from pressure. It’s a joy and a thrill that puts my life back in perspective” says Jo.

Bothams has managed to survive because like Whitby itself, it has the flexibility to adapt to an every changing market, without losing sight of the basics – fantastic quality products, such as Whitby gingerbread, traditional methods, and a dedicated, hardworking and loyal staff. At the same time, thanks to Mike’s foresight, they have embraced technology and developed a great shop window via the Internet creating a range of wrapped products like Yorkshire Brack, with a viable shelf life. These have helped them reach out of their traditional area, hemmed in by the sea and the moors and has helped to even out the seasonal imbalance typical of a tourist economy.

So where next for Bothams? Well that’s hard to say because change at Bothams has always been rather organic, with periods of dormancy and then sudden growth spurts. But certainly one dream would be a bakery where Bako wagons could deliver without blocking the street! And if you’re reading this in August then Jo has been a busy man – or there hasn’t been any surf!

 

 

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