Records show that James Birch began making Eccles Cakes in a shop opposite Eccles Parish Church in 1796.
In 1810 he moved to larger premises across the road. The photograph on the left shows this shop with its sign " Eccles Cake Makers Removed from across the way".
These premises still exist today on Church Street but are now home to a dry cleaners' shop.

When James Birch moved to bigger premises across the road a former employee, James Bradburn, took over the original shop.
In 1835 Bradburn had the shop rebuilt - the premises shown on the photograph on the right.
There was great rivalry between the two shops.
Bradburn's sign was in direct challenge to his former employer's sign: this was the "Original and Oldest Established Eccles Cake Shop, Never Removed".
This shop was demolished in the late 1960s to make way for the Eccles Shopping Precinct.

There is an excellent account of the history of Eccles cakes by Evelyn Vigeon, "The celebrated cookie shop", in The Manchester Genealogist, 1993, Vol.29, No.1, pp.33-50. 

This website was last updated in March 2020
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