In 1926 picture show proprietor and baker, Albert Augustus Smith, built the Majestic Theatre and a year later constructed a shop (café) and five-roomed dwelling next door called the Majestic Café.1 The façade of the café reflected that of the theatre. Apart from purchasing refreshments, customers could view seating plans for theatre performances.2 In 1929, Smith added a bakehouse behind the theatre,3 thus offering fresh bread in the cafe.4
A A Smith was a colourful character who was involved in a series of crimes and was eventually jailed in 1935 for attempted murder (See further information below). Reginald A. Paget subsequently bought the café and bakery in 1935.5 Paget’s bakery was spotlessly clean with a small area for people to enjoy morning and afternoon teas. Paget’s specialty in 1939 was sausage rolls, but he also won prizes at the Gloucester Show for best bread.6 The café continued to offer seating plans for viewing.7
Business was difficult during WW2 and bakeries were no exception. In 1943, Paget and other Gloucester bakers declared there would be no hot cross buns on Good Friday due to a shortage of manpower.8 Bakers’ hours were regulated at the time so as not to have an advantage over other bakers. In 1944 Paget was fined for baking bread early when his son was sick and the business had a contract to supply service men coming through the town.9
In 1946 Paget sold the business but it remained a bakery passing through several hands including Roy Sweeny and Norman Hebblewhite.10 The bakery was later sold and has since operated as a real estate agency, bookshop and travel business.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Building application 1/1927. Viewed at Gloucester Museum.
2 Gloucester Advocate, 28 October 1927, 2.
3 Gloucester Advocate, 15 June 1928, 3.
4 Gloucester Advocate, 15 February 1929, 2.
5 NSW Land Registry Service Book-No: 1734-123.
6 Gloucester Advocate, 18 July 1939, 7.
7 Gloucester Advocate, 8 February 1938, 2.
8 Gloucester Advocate, 20 April 1943, 3.
9 Gloucester Advocate, 15 September 1944, 2.
10 NSW Land Registry Services Bk-No: 2416-917; Gloucester Advocate, 10 Dec 1946, 2.