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Thursday, 02 July 2015

Watching big hotel at work

MANY Furness pubs have hotel in their name but no longer serve meals or provide rooms for travellers.

BUSY PLACE: The kitchens of the Devonshire Hotel were a hive of activity before the Second World War SUBMITTED

Go back 60 years or more and many of them had a large staff and their big kitchens were a hive of activity.

Fred Bell, of Worcester Street, Barrow, writes: “Before the Second World War, the Devonshire Hotel on Ramsden Dock Road, Barrow Island, was busy.

“The kitchen was down in the cellar with windows that opened on to an enclosed yard with a red quarry tile floor and a small garden surrounding it for climbing plants.

“Railings ran behind Devonshire Buildings and finished protecting this yard.

“As kids, I was eight, we could sit dangling our legs through the railings to watch, usually after first house at the Palace cinema.

“The kitchen had very bright gas lighting and it was a free show.

“In the right hand corner was a huge open fire blazing up the chimney, it had a hand-driven spit with one person turning it while basting a pig or lamb.

“Along the wall were gas hobs with boiling pans, then the ovens.

“In the middle was a large preparation table with pastry cooks making a variety of pies, cakes and bread rolls.

“I couldn’t see all the chef’s station but he was very busy checking on about 10 staff and basting.

“To finish, we saw them scrubbing and cleaning as if their lives depended on it.”


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