209 Kilburn High Road, and the Hillman family

We were very sad to see the closure of the long standing Hillman Butchers on Kilburn High Road at the end of September 2020. The business had been up for sale since 2018.

Most of you would have noticed, on the shop awning, the claim “a family run business since 1848”. In the shop, a number of historical pictures were on display. None of them of the Kilburn shop. Michael Hillman who worked there until late 2016 said that the business did not start in Kilburn.

Although we cannot back the claim that the business started in 1848, the business definitely existed in 1896 as “Heilemann Chelsea Butchers”. The Heilemann family changed its name to Hillman and Hilton after the 1st World war. The family owned 29 butcher shops acrosss the whole of London after the 1st World War!

1896- Heilemann Chelsea Butchers -Christmas display.
Heilemann Family 1895

So what about Hillman at 209 Kilburn High Road?

There wasn’t always a butcher at 209 Kilburn High Road. Dick Weindling has dug into the archives and found out the following about the businesses run out of 209 Kilburn High Road.

  • 1890-1896 Joe Parkin Mayall, son of the famous Victorian photographer John Jabez Edwin Mayll, had a photographic studio. If you want to know more about this, Dick has written about the photographic studio. A very famous photographer!
  • 1897 to 1909- Stationery businesses under the ownership of Alex James Lone and then Alfred Balfre
  • 1911-1912 Edward Line, Butchers
  • 1913-1921 Thornton Golds, Butchers
  • 1922 Albert Hillman, Butchers started operating at 209 Kilburn High Road

So it is possible that the signage on top of the shop dates from 1922. Definitely worth saving! The Hillman family operated a butchers business at this location for 98 years! Their company “A&S Hillman Limited” was incorporated in 1931 and the registered address never changed this then. You may remember Michael, Wendy and more recently John behind the counter!.

The good news is that 209 Kilburn High Road will remain a butchers shop under the management of the Harte Family and that the Hillman Butchers name lives one in Brisbane Australia, Hillman’s Meat Company, claiming to descend from the original Hillman’s butchers tradition in England.

Signs saved from the mezzanine office on 16th October 2020.
picture revealing fireplace in the back room, original ceiling and cornices.

Update- On 21st Novemver 2020, the old shop signage was removed to reaveal an even older sign for Sewell and Field Butchers.

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