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Lincoln kitchen shop celebrates 70 years in business

One of the oldest family-run businesses in Lincoln, Biggers of Bailgate, is celebrating its 70th year of trading.

The shop at 48 Bailgate was opened in March 1944 by Fred and Nellie Bigger and originally sold hardware and ironmongery items.

Today, after being passed down through the family, the business has expanded in size and evolved to concentrate on cookware and houseware.

Biggers of Bailgate shop front in the 1950s compared with the shop front today. Photo: BofB
Biggers of Bailgate shop front in the 1950s compared with the shop front today. Photo: BofB

Passers-by throughout March will be able to enjoy the unique ‘Biggers’ window display showcasing 70 years of memorable equipment and accessories.

Biggers' Birthday window display showcases cooking equipment through the ages. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
Biggers’ Birthday window display showcases cooking equipment through the ages. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

In addition, the team are running a competition from their Facebook page challenging crafty bakers to create a Birthday cake for the window display.

The winning cake will be chosen by Nellie Bigger, who is now 92 and still plays a big part in the running of the shop.

Fred and Nellie Bigger set up the Bigger of Bailgate hardware shop in 1944. Photo: BofB
Fred and Nellie Bigger set up the Bigger of Bailgate hardware shop in 1944. Photo: BofB
Photo taken of Bailgate in the 1940s.
Photo taken of Bailgate in the 1940s.

Shop owner Andrew Madden took on his grandmother’s business 20 years ago. He said: “I am very lucky to have a fantastic team and brilliant customers. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

“My favorite part of my job is finding a successful product range. I usually have a hunch about something and it does seem to work. Like our children’s range ‘Little Biggers’, which customers often like to give another slant to!

“When I was young I always said I wanted to work at the shop and it’s something that has come very naturally. I feel its in the blood.”

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite
Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Simon Bilton worked at Biggers for 33 years and has many tales to tell about the shop. “One of my fondest memories was a disaster that had a positive result. We accidently started a massive fire at the back of the shop and it all had to be rebuilt. We ended up with a nice new extension!”

In the last year, the business has taken to online sales, blogging, and social media. Marketing Manager Kate Edgar said: “There is a great divide now between traditional cooking and modern fashionable cooking. Something that has remained consistent is that people who are passionate about cooking want to use high quality equipment.

“Something that we have found from our customers is that a larger portion of people buying quality cookware are actually men. Perhaps Lincoln is an area where more men cook and are passionate about their cooking!”