About Us

The Corner House Bakery was probably a bakery at the turn of the last century. It was run by the Johnson family who also used the premises as a café and whose name still appears on the marble slab at the entrance.

The records indicate that it was a bakery in 1907 and the likelihood is that it was used as such for some time before that date. At the time there were a number of bakeries in the town but only two that baked bread on their own premises. Johnsons and Pryers 

Eric and Queenie Soothill, whose name the company now bears, had previously owned a bakery in Chandlers Ford. Eric, who was originally from Yorkshire, had met Queenie in a holiday camp on the Isle of Wight where she worked. After their original business venture unfortunately failed, they saw The Corner House Bakery up for sale whilst visiting Fareham in c1950. It was still only one of 5 or 6 bakeries in the area, before the advent of supermarkets and during the time that Fareham was truly a market town.

Anthony Jenkins, the current owner went to work as an apprentice in 1956. There were three members of production staff and four shop staff. Eric Soothill was not in the best of health and in 1963 expressed his wish to retire. Under his guidance four members of staff collectively made him an offer for the business which was duly accepted and so became a Limited Company.

From 1966 Mr Jenkins, in partnership with Mrs Soothill , ran the bakery and Janet Jenkins, Anthony’s wife managed the shop.

Mr Soothill sadly passed away in 1974 and his wife much later in 2001.

In 1993 Soothills expanded and opened a shop in Locks Heath where they baked bread and savouries on the premises and ran a successful cafe.

Mr Jenkins continued in production until his retirement in 2016 but still carries on to this day working behind the scenes. His daughter Angela Moyse has now taken over as Director of the company.

In 2023 the opportunity arose to take over the very popular 'La Boulangerie' bakery in Portchester.  Mr Drake, the previous owner worked at Soothills as an apprentice in the late 1960's and opened his own bakery in Portchester in the early 1980's.  It was never felt that the 2 bakeries were in competition with each other, in fact, quite the opposite, they were always borrowing ingredients from each other and sharing ideas.  Mr Drake and Mr Jenkins remain the best of friends to this day.

The start of 2024 saw the family take the difficult decision not to renew the Lease on the shop at Locks Heath and they closed the shop on 3rd February.   Stuart, our longest serving member of staff started at Soothills in 1982.  He went to work as the baker at Locks Heath in early 2000, where he remained until the closure and is now back at Fareham baking his delicious bread. 

A special mention should be made for the great many loyal and reliable members of staff that served the company for almost the entirety of their working lives. Very few remain but their efforts are not forgotten.