- Forest of Bowland
Janet Simpson, a unique woman, born 26th July 1941 in Inskip - Lancashire, was the only child of Alf and Maggie Simpson. Growing up for Janet on a Lancashire family farm was not easy in the 40’s and 50’s, it meant helping with daily chores as well as early morning starts for the local village school.
However, farm life taught Janet practical skills, including how to drive a tractor at the age of 10, but also, under the experienced eye of her mother Maggie, cooking and baking.
Janet picked up these skills in abundance and practised them for a further ten years from 1961 at The Dog and Partridge in Chipping, where Janet worked her way up from General Assistant to Chef. It was around this time the family took over the tenancy at Gibbon Bridge Farm, Chipping and later grasped the opportunity to purchase the farmhouse, the barn and a portion of the land. However, farming still proved to be harsh with little reward.
New opportunities arose when Janet’s mother, Maggie, opened a stall on Blackburn Market selling homemade cakes, pies and pastries, all baked in the farmhouse at Gibbon Bridge. This enterprise went so well the family bought a shop and Janet left the Dog & Partridge to assist in it’s running. As the business expanded to include outside catering so did Janet’s business skills, together with a realisation that teamwork played an important part in business success.
It was the network of loyal friends, family (especially Aunty Bell and Aunty Evelyn) and employees that supported Janet and her mother through the difficult years after her father, Alf, died in 1977. It was also the time when Janet, with strong encouragement from Maggie, began to have ideas for the future and the seeds of The Gibbon Bridge Hotel were sown.
When Janet does manage to get away she likes to visit close friends in South Africa. Whilst there, to rejuvenate her batteries, she takes time out at The Hydro in Stellenbosch; a unique natural health spa situated in the Idas Valley, a National Heritage Site.
If you want to find out further information on how Gibbon Bridge developed, please contact us Tel 01995 61456 and request a copy of our commemorative brochure.