The Old Post Office Bakery

Old post office bakery

 By Alicia Green

If you happen to be walking down Landor Road and smell something delicious then you will have picked up the scent of the Old Post Office Bakery. Pastries, cakes, bread and other mouth watering delights are baked here every day, to sell on site and at shops and markets across London. I tried their heavenly pains au chocolat for the first time last year and have been religiously starting my weekend with one ever since. Try them warm with a cup of coffee; you won’t regret it!

The bakery started life in a squatted post office on Lyham road in the early 1980s when Karl Heinz Rossenbach, the founder, used an abandoned oven and a mill made from washing machine and coffee grinder parts to bake loaves for local businesses. Thirty years and four locations later, it is now run by Richard Scroggs and John Dungavel and is a valuable part of the community. I met up with Richard one Sunday morning to find out more about the bakery.

As I arrive at 10am, Daniel, one of the full time bakers, is just clocking off after a hectic baking nightshift. Looking round the peaceful bakery, it is hard to imagine the hive of activity Richard describes it being just hours before: ‘It’s like a crazy choreography. Everybody is dancing round each other with trays crashing and steam coming out of the ovens for eight to ten hours at the weekend. It takes special people to become bakers because they have to be really dedicated to it. It means incredibly hard work and long hours; you only get breaks when the production allows it. The thing about baking is that you have to produce everything at top speed because you want it to be fresh on the day.’

For Richard and John it is very important that bread remains accessible to everyone and is treated as a necessity, rather than a trendy luxury. Whilst the majority of their produce is certified organic, they also produce a cheaper non-organic range to ensure that all budgets are catered for. Vegetarians will also be pleased to note that there are delicious meat-free sausage rolls, feta and spinach slices and vegetable-filled pasties to choose from too. This honest approach to baking is also reflected in the set up of the bakery itself, as Richard explains’

This honest approach to baking is also reflected in the set up of the bakery itself, as Richard explains: ‘Most bakeries, as they expand, tend to move their production to an industrial unit. But part of our ethos has been to keep everything onsite. We didn’t want to be off on a bleak industrial site, we wanted to be part of the community. A real, living, bakery on a London street.’ And the bakery is part of the community in more ways than one. Richard was an integral member of the group who campaigned to turn abandoned land on Pulross Road into a community garden, playground and sports pitch in the late 1990s; it is now known as PAPA’s park ( The PAPA head office was also situated in the Old Post Office Bakery basement for a couple of years. Currently, the bakery is planning to introduce a new ‘Windmill loaf’ made from locally grown wheat, proceeds from which will go towards the up-keep of Brixton Windmill.

Having lived in the area since the 1970s, Richard has seen Brixton and (London) change dramatically over the years. Thirty years ago there were whole areas that were completely empty and derelict,’ he explains. ‘People started to come in and squat in those places and make their own communities in and around Brixton. I was living in a squat in Stockwell where we had six Georgian mansions, all squatted. There were about 60 of us living in there and there were lots of people living in vehicles and caravans in the back garden. You could do what you wanted with and from nothing. There isn’t the space to do that now in London because money has been poured in; it has gone up in the world. The heart of Brixton is still the same though – it is still a very diverse place.’

Whilst competition has been springing up over recent years, in the form of Tesco and Sainsbury’s, independent businesses like the Old Post Office Bakery keep going thanks to customers who appreciate the quality and variety of products that Brixton has to offer. Richard talks proudly and animatedly about this side of Brixton, reminding me of how lucky I am to live nearby. ‘People are attracted to Brixton because it is so diverse, with such a mish-mash of cultures; it is a really creative place because of this. For example, if you look at Atlantic Road, you have got a traditional British fishmongers, the Arabic butchers, the guy selling his reggae tapes and the African supermarket… It is a really special place and Lambeth council should do something to keep it that way.’

You can buy produce from the Old Post Office Bakery at Oval, Venn Street and Brixton Farmer’s markets as well as from the bakery itself on 76 Landor Road. For other locations and further information, check the website:

old post office bloke



  1. I can definitely say their pastries are the finest I have ever had, but please do not descend to the Sunday Brixton Farmers Market to try them. Just take my word for it.

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