Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry looks back at childhood in Bath
Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry has revisited her childhood in Bath as part of a new BBC television programme which is being shown tomorrow night.
The 77-year-old, who grew up in the city and attended both the Bath High School and the Bath College of Domestic Science, has filmed a two-part show which looks back at her life growing up and making her way in the world of cookery during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
During filming she went back to her old school, which is now the Royal High School, to see how food technology is taught today, and spent time looking through the archives at the Guildhall to find hospital records of the time she fell seriously ill with polio at the age of 13.
She also went on the River Avon to reminisce about the hours she would spend there with her father, as well as paying a visit to Bath Spa University, which was formed from the domestic science college, to meet with vice-chancellor Professor Christina Slade.
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Mrs Berry said she had enjoyed the opportunity to revisit all the places she had grown up with, including her childhood home, in College Road, Lansdown.
She said: “It was lovely. I was born and brought up in Bath and do go back regularly because my brother Roger Berry still lives there.
“It (the school) is now awfully grand. I went to see what changes have been made and it felt very strange walking through the front door in Hope House.
“What great facilities they have there and how things have changed. They had a Bake Off in the school which you will see in the programme and it was lovely. There were some keen cooks of course and they have a very good home economics department.”
It was at the Bath High School that Mrs Berry first discovered her passion and talent for cookery and, under the guidance of teacher Miss Date, she decided she wanted to make it her career.
She continued her training at the Bath College of Domestic Science, before working her way up to a post as cookery editor of Housewife magazine and later Ideal Home.
She still has fond memories of Miss Date and has recently been contacted by another of her favourite teachers, Miss Boulton, from the games department, who still lives in Bath and the pair are planning to meet up soon.
Mrs Berry also had praise for Prof Slade and the staff at the Royal High School for the relationship they had with their students and pupils.
She said: “I was really delighted to meet Christina and I thought it was wonderful that she was so approachable. She was delightful, very interested and fun.
“Many of my principals at school or college, obviously I was younger then, but they were stern.
“It was the same at the school, they were all absolutely delightful, much more friends to pupils than being strict.”
Mrs Berry, whose father Alleyne W S Berry was Mayor of Bath in 1952, is a regular visitor to Bath and has seen many changes over the years, but is always pleased to see that it has retained its charm.
“The city is still just as beautiful,” she said. “I think it is amazingly difficult for the visitors to know the one-way system. I think that is very difficult, and the parking.
“It is such a beautiful city and has drawn all the wonderful shops because it is a great tourist city. But it is lovely to see the buildings are looked after. And it has wonderful restaurants. It just has everything to offer.”
The first episode of The Mary Berry Story will be shown at 8pm tomorrow night on BBC2, followed by the second episode on Tuesday, February 5.