The Life of James Allan
James Allan was born in Forres in 1901 and raised in Nairn. He served in the Merchant Navy as a Wireless operator towards the end of the Great War. upon leaving the Navy, he started as an apprentice grocer with one of Scotland’s leading grocery shop chains at that time - Cooper & Co - becoming Assistant Manager in Inverness in 1922 and then Manager of the Crieff branch one year later.
James was always determined to open a high-class delicatessen and bakery of his own. With that aim in mind, he moved to Glasgow in 1930 to acquire the bakery experience he required by joining City Bakeries. Unfortunately the advent of the Great Depression forced James to abandon his dream.
He remained at City Bakeries and was still working there when they were eventually taken over by Mr Garfield Weston’s Allied Bakeries group just after the Empire Exhibition in the early 1940s. He remained with Allied Bakeries and moved to London in 1955 to take over the running of the Aerated Bread Company (ABC), one of London’s biggest bakeries and the most recent acquisition to the group at that time. Within just six months, through astute selling of property, James had made £250,000, more than Mr Weston paid for the entire business, and he still had over 100 shops remaining!
James returned to Scotland in 1963 to assist with the troubled Scottish arm of the Allied group but sadly passed away in May of that same year.
His son Hamish, who himself has been a baker all his life and is now enjoying his retirement, has donated this award to both honour the memory of his late father whilst, at the same time, providing support and encouragement for people within the bakery sector through the recognition of the specialist skills that they have developed.