It was a year ago last week that American movie star Alec Baldwin took Alton by surprise by dropping into Mifta’s restaurant for a curry, but long before the building in Market Square became the haunt of the Hollywood actor (albeit for just a mealtime) it was well known to Altonians as Adlam’s Bakery.
Many residents will have memories of popping in there for lardy cake or a fresh cream doughnut before it closed in 1991.
Records show that a bakery was operating on the site in 1852 when it was run by William Doggrell. It was in 1888 that Henry Adlam bought the business and it was after him that the building was named.
Henry Adlam originally hailed from Totton, Southampton, and first set up in Alton, as a baker, in Tower Street where he baked his bread in an oven in the back garden. Like other bakers of the time, he would sell his loaves from a hand-truck that he would push around the town.
An example of such a truck from the early 1930s can be seen today at Milestones Museum in Basingstoke.
Later, as the business expanded to include confectionery and groceries, he could boast a small fleet of horse-drawn carts bearing his name and trademark red livery – the colour of his first hand-truck.
The business was bought by the Buck family in 1963, but the Adlam name carried on. In 1988, we carried a feature celebrating 100 years of the bakery.
After closing, the building was turned into a restaurant, becoming Blazing Saddles in the mid-1990s, then after a period of closure, it was Prezzo, part of a national chain, and is currently Mifta’s Indian restaurant.