||Directors from left to right:-
Jo Botham - Great Grandson of Elizabeth Botham. Jo is heavily involved with product development, as well as purchasing, stock control and production.
Nick Botham - Great Grandson of Elizabeth Botham. Nick is a true craftsman through and through. He spends most of his time icing and decorating the many cakes we make as well as looks after the equipment, energy and production. Nick is also very involved with the Lifeboat and is often called away from the bakery to act as second coxswain on board.
|Mike Jarman, Managing Director of E.Botham & Sons .
Mike looks after our web site and oversees the many hundreds of e-mail orders we receive from all over the world; as well as keeping an eye on the day to day running of the bakery and particularly enjoys concentrating on future business.
Photograph by Tony Bartholomew
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.
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!