A site was chosen, and in 1951 Frank Roberts received his building license to build on a two-and-a-half-acre site on the Northwich bypass opposite the new primary school.
His son Alan Roberts oversaw the new bakery night shift that produced the first loaves on the new premises.
The bakery was the most modern in Cheshire, and the two companies, Roberts (Lostock) Ltd and Middleton’s Bakery, were brought together under one name.
Frank Roberts and Sons Ltd with, of course, the same management. Frank had three boys, two of whom, Alan and Bernard, were part of the business, and David was still at school.
Alan was starting to take a more important role and would soon run the business. Bernard oversaw the grocery side of the company. About this time, the bakery’s name was changed to The Red Rose Bakery.
Frank Roberts took the business onwards and upwards. As well as the Red Rose Bakery and Frank Roberts and Son’s grocers and provision merchants, they also owned Prices Stores at Hartford.
Frank became a senior Freemason and was involved in all aspects of local government.
He was a member of the Northwich Rural Council, Mid Cheshire Education Executive, a governor of Rudheath Secondary Modern school and the County primary schools at Byley, Allostock, Comberbach, Northwich Victoria Road and Darwin Street school.
He was described as a man of great personal charm with a real zest for life and tireless in charitable work.
On May 5, 1954, when he was just 54 years old and had attended a meeting of the Mid Cheshire Education Executive at Northwich, Frank Roberts left early to travel to Manchester with members of his family and business associates.
They were to visit the Grocery Exhibition at Belle Vue. Three cars were used for the trip, two driven by his sons Alan and Bernard.
On returning from Manchester, at a point on Manchester Road near the Smoker Inn, his vehicle was sadly involved in a head-on crash with a car containing Macclesfield people traveling in the opposite direction.
Frank, his wife, and youngest son David were taken to Altrincham General Hospital, where sadly, Frank died.
His grave is in St John’s church Lostock, seen bearing the names of his wife Jennie, Alan is commemorated and a son who died as a child in 1923.
One of the people in the other car also died in the crash. Frank’s wife Jennie and son David recovered. Jennie died in 1959 at Knutsford Cottage Hospital whilst living at 65 Westfield Drive, Knutsford.
Alan Roberts took the helm at the bakery after his father’s death as it continued to grow with the name Frank Roberts and Sons Ltd.
He served as chairman and managing director of the company for 32 years. In 1951 he had moved to Knutsford after marrying his wife, Muriel; later, he became an urban district councilor.
By the 1960s, the company produced 90,000 loaves a week and had 50 vehicles to transport them.
In 1986 he had suffered a severe stroke and stood down from the business; he was married to his new wife, Helen.
They moved to the United States, first settling in Illinois before moving to New Mexico, where he died in 2004.
A memorial service was held at St John’s Church, Lostock, on Friday, July 16, following Alan Roberts’ death at the age of 79 in May.
Already working for the company, having joined in 1976, the new generation consisted of Alan’s son Mike, Bernard’s daughter Julia, and in 1984 David’s daughter, Lindsay.
The bakery continued to expand, remaining a family concern. In 1988 Little Treats Bakery was added, baking and decorating delicious gingerbread and iced treats.
In 2000 a vast cooling tower was built as another iconic building. Vehicles held at the traffic lights can now watch the bread going around and around within the huge glass windows with the aroma of freshly baked bread wafting out.
When local family firms join multinationals and are altered or sold off, firms like Broadhurst and ICI disappear or lose their respected and unique identity; Frank Roberts and Sons Ltd have remained a family-owned firm.
The family still sit on the board, and as the business has grown, professional-managerial expertise has been introduced into senior management.
Small shops and supermarket shelves have superior quality products bearing the name Roberts Bakery.
So, what Robert Roberts started in his little shop at 1 Wellington St, Castle is now a multinational and highly respected business, still based in Northwich and still under the control of his descendants.
The company also contributes significantly to the local community and charitable organizations.
Thanks to Lindsay Occleston nee, Roberts and Alan Hughes for their assistance.