The Lost Precinct Advent Calendar – #10: Hillards

Never Mind the Hillards…

The Ad of Christmas Past

A cheap and cheerful one with a shot of one of their superstores. This advertisement (which starts after a set of Yorkshire Television continuity) may have only went out in the Yorkshire Television region.

The advert is brash, down to earth, and includes the dulcet tones of the late Mike Hurley. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, his voice could be heard on most TV and radio advertisements. Also on continuity for independent local radio stations, mainly Radio Trent and Radio Aire. He also wrote his own scripts and was seen as a man of many voices.

The Shop of Christmas Past

Hillards, before the Tesco juggernaut took over, was one of a few erstwhile Yorkshire supermarket chains. They were founded in 1885, predating Wm. Morrison’s and ASDA’s formation. Their first branch, and head offices, were in Cleckheaton in the West Riding of Yorkshire. By 1951 they had 70 stores. 1968 saw its first out-of-town supermarkets in Lincoln, York and Wakefield.

Originally known as Lion Stores from its foundation by John Wesley Hillard, they adopted the Hillards name in 1970. Shortly before its acquisition by Tesco in 1986, Hillards opened their Glossop store on High Street West. It remains a well used branch and, on opening, was promoted under the phrase “A Superstore Is Born“.

Though the superstore chain has left our High Streets several years, The Gay and Peter Hartley’s Hillards Charitable Trust is active. Founded by the last Managing Director Peter Hartley, it was set up to benefit local charities throughout Yorkshire. Details of applying for funding (if anybody is reading from Yorkshire) can be seen here.

S.V., 10 December 2015.

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