My grandfather was a baker, my great grandfather was a baker and 60 years after P.H. Gilford closed its doors in Peckham, London, the daughter of P.H.J. Gilford is thrilled to launch her very own baking website!

S. Gilford is not, however, a professional baker! Baking remains my hobby; 'Miss Gilford' the primary school teacher, is very much my day job and passion in life. Yet cake decorating does bring me joy, fun, relaxation, a creative avenue and a great and tasty way to bless others.




Peter Gilsdorf, my great grandfather, arrived in London  during Victorian times where both he and his older brother,  established themselves as master bakers. However, being a German citizen when the Great War broke out, he was interned as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man and subsequently returned to Germany.

His son, Peter Henry Gilsdorf, my grandfather, was sent to England at the age of 15 to train as a baker with his uncle. Sometime just before the Second World War, Peter Henry  Gilford as he was now known, set up his own cornershop bakery in Peckham and as a key industry worker was exempt from military conscription. Gilford's sold and delivered (by handcart and later baker's van) bread, pastries and confectionery to some 120 customers in local pubs, cafés, small shops and even the police station. 


Peter H. Gilford tragically died in 1952, leaving his wife Lily Gilford, and their six children, of whom my dad, Peter H. J. Gilford, was the youngest (only 14 months). With the help of German cousins, Grandma Lily carried on the family bakery for 8 hard years, managing the business while raising her young family in post-war London (a time when women were not even allowed to open a bank account). A woman of strong character and faith, she steered the family through many hardships in those years and to the ripe old age of 94.

From a letter by Barbara Salter, daughter of the shoplady, to my uncle:

One of my earliest memories during the war is when incendiary bombs fell on the bakery during the night and your mum took the family across to the Marlborough Head and they sheltered there, but your dad stayed in the bakehouse and got the bread out. The locals were so surprised when bread was being sold the next morning from the side door. Everyone had so much praise for him. Isn't it strange how that memory came back to me when thinking what a strong person your mother was.

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My Story




The first few cakes in my post-uni days really were experiments! And then things got a bit more serious... a cake to gloat about Sunderland's win over Chelsea, family celebration cakes and ultimately a pleading wedding request from a university friend wanting the infamous 'gloopy whoopy chocolate cake'. (It really is as delicious as it sounds!) 


Since then, baking has been everything from an enjoyable hobby, a fun challenge and modelling cake mindfulness to an over-ambitious stress/disaster, and has meant a kitchen full of bundles of biscuits for key workers, hundreds of misshapen macaron shells (still irresistible), an explosion of icing, cake mixture, messy pots and pans, as well as a carefully planned out and iced creative masterpiece awaiting collection...