In a stirring tale of over 200 years of secret recipes, historic gingerbread fraternities and rival gingerbread bakeries, the rural and historic Shropshire town of Market Drayton has witnessed an unrivalled heritage associated with the celebrated and spicy gingerbread biscuit.
Market Drayton’s first contribution to gingerbread is said to be linked to the spice trade routes & Clive of India, who hails from the town, and indeed, there are records of gingerbread being made by a Roland Lateward, malster, in Shropshire Street from 1793.
However, the Billington’s Gingerbread story begins in 1817, when we first meet Mr Thomas who was baking the gingerbread in the basement of his bakery and confectionary shop. Whether already conscious of the value of his recipe or just out of family pride, in 1829 Mr Thomas passed the recipe down to his nephew W. Harper. Closely guarded for a further two generations, in 1864, Mr E. H. Harper passed the recipe to his cousin, Richard Billington, and hence the famous ‘Billington’s Gingerbread’ brand was born!