Discover Our Story

Meet the MacGibbon Family

Sydenham Bakery is currently owned by Paul and Sheryl MacGibbon who purchased Hans’ share in 2019. They are both active in the running of Sydenham Bakery with Paul as head Baker and Sheryl running the office and financials. Paul’s knowledge of baking dates back to when he was 15 years old or even before if you see his dress up costumes!! His apprenticeship was served through Sydenham Bakery at a young age and he has been part of the company on and off since. He has travelled the world working in Australia as a baker and England as a chef. Sheryl who has also travelled the world has a background in law and accounting. They have two amazing children – Thomas and Natasha who also, when not involved in sport, help out at the bakery.

Back to The Beginning

John Kuipers, seen here, left Holland in 1958 to start a new life in Christchurch, New Zealand. He arrived with £30 in his pocket and a determination to pursue his love of baking.

Sydenham Cake Kitchen

After working in a Linwood bakery for two years, he realised his dream of owning his own bakery, purchasing the Sydenham Cake Kitchen at 458 Colombo Street on 1 September 1960.  The cake kitchen had previously been known as Matthews and had opened back in 1910.

Refurbished Cake Kitchen

John began in 1961 with little money and a big loan. Turnover in the first week was £120 and within four weeks it was up to £240 a week. With one shop assistant, Connie Sharp and a part-timer in the bakehouse, Beverley Brewer, John worked long hours starting at 2 in the morning and finishing at 5 at night.

Sydenham Bakery The Staff

Hans, John’s son, joined the staff in 1978 and Paul MacGibbon began as an apprentice in 1982. The following year, with the bakery bursting at its seams, John purchased the present site at 424 Colombo Street.

Tragedy Fire

Tragedy struck in 1985 when a fire took hold and completely destroyed the bakery at 458 Colombo Street. Within 24 hours the staff were operating from premises at Sandyford Street.

The New Sydenham Bakery

Within 18 months a new bakery was set up at 424 Colombo Street and business returned to normal.

A New Era

In 2002, at the age of 65, John decided it was time to retire and Hans took hold of the reins.

Partnership Formed

Paul then joined Hans in partnership in 2008.