Story of Clark’s Pies

The story of Clark’s Pies starts a hundred years ago in Cardiff, where Mary Clark, the mother of nine children, worked as a housekeeper for a wealthy family.  

One day, whilst making the weekly steak and kidney pie for the family, she broke the big dish she used and had to make individual pies instead.  They tasted so good her friends and family suggested she should sell a few. So with Percy, Mary’s son they started to make pies to sell to passers-by. Times were very hard, so it came as a very welcome supplement to the Clarks income.  Clark’s Pies was established in the form of a table on the pavement outside her terrace house and soon after, the first shop opened.  The pies are still sold in Cardiff today.

In 1929, Mary's son Percy decided to branch out to Bristol, establishing a shop in Old Market, Bristol and continued to make pies using his mother's secret recipe.  Six years later he moved to a new premises, 259 North Street, Bedminster, where he was better located to feed the hundreds of women and girls working at the Wills cigarette factory (now the Tobacco Factory). Stories of queues leading from the Bakehouse all the way down North Street to Raleigh Road are retold by many elderly customers in the shop.  Percy lived over the shop with his wife and four children.   

Despite his ambition to be an astronomer, Percy's son, John, started working for the business aged 15 and stayed for the next 42 years.  The business was eventually passed to John and then on to his younger brothers, Ken and then Roger Clark.

Almost 80 years since the move to the Bakehouse in North Street, Clark’s Pies is still thriving in the original North Street premises and is now run by the fourth generation of the Clark’s family in the business.  Roger's daughter, Dawn Clark and her partner Keith Prested both retired as professional ballet dancers with Scottish Ballet and moved back to Bristol in 2001.  Both took over the running of the business in 2008 just in time for the recessions…..but they survived and are looking forward to taking the business on to the next part of its journey.

Within the next 12 months we are hoping to start delivering by mail order (good news for all the people requesting such a service)

The business continues to deliver daily to about 200 outlets, details of which can be found on our Where to buy [hyperlink] page.

Read more about Clarks Pies in the books 'Made in Bristol: 50 Stories of Local Enterprise and Invention' by David Bolton and also in, 'Life of Pies-in search of piefection' by Martin Tarbuck

 

 

WANT TO JOIN US?

If you are interested in joining the Clark’s Pies team, please contact Keith on 0117 9663894 for an application form.  We will get in touch should a vacancy become available.