Almost certainly Hull’s oldest jewellers, Henry Hird Limited has been run by members of just two families since it's opening in 1852 and has become a well-known and respected firm which provides good old fashioned service from people who care.
Founding the shop in the early 1850’s, originally on Cumberland Street in Hull, Henry Hird found a growing market for luxuries in the bustling port of Hull. Fisherman from as far away as Devon and Kent migrated to the Humber joining the local seamen who earned good wages from their trawling expeditions to the rich fishing grounds of the North Sea and Icelandic waters. This familiar clientele, who would often visit the shop to buy trinkets for their wives or girlfriends whilst home from sea, gave rise to the nickname “the trawlerman’s jeweller”. The business, which was by then being run by the founder’s son, Henry Cook Hird, relocated to it’s current premises on 270 Hessle Road. After his father’s death in 1921, the owner recruited Phyllis Price to help him serve the many customers who would come from Hull and farther afield for the renowned customer service.
Phyllis’s son, David Whincup also joined the firm in 1956 when, despite the post-war austerity, the demand for engagement and wedding rings had never been higher! Following the death of David Whincup, after 40 years of service, the business then passed into the hands of his sister Yvonne Smith who was working as a nurse but nearing retirement. Yvonne, who recalled happy childhood memories of visiting the jewellers, was keen to take over at the helm of the busy shop. Although there were fears that trade would suffer when thousands of people were re-located from the Hessle Road area, the firm’s reputation meant that loyal customers would keep returning from far and wide and the shop continued to thrive.
Today, Henry Hird Limited is run by Yvonne Smith’s son Philip who first started to help in the shop aged just 10. Philip started to work full time in the jewellers at the age of 21 when David Whincup became ill, and became the firm’s sixth owner when he took over from his mother Yvonne in 2005. Philip’s passion for his trade and commitment to outstanding customer service is also shared by long-standing members of staff Philip Gray and Sandra Cole.