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Sale of butcher’s shop to end five-generation link

The sale of one of London’s oldest independent butcher’s shops will finally end an historic five generation link with the Hillman family.

Situated in bustling Kilburn, Hillman Butchers is part of a business founded by current owner John Hillman’s great-great-grandfather in 1848.

Hilton Smythe is marketing the business – complete with new 20 year lease – at a reduced asking price of £249,950.

Mr Hillman, who joined the business at the age of 16 under the tutelage of his father Michael, is now looking forward to a well-earned retirement.


“It’s been a fantastic experience and I’ve enjoyed dealing with our suppliers, catering customers and the general public, many of whom I’ve come to count as friends over the years,” he said.

“My children are all pursuing other careers so, without another generation of the Hillmans to pass on my expertise, it seems an ideal time for me to hang up my apron.”


Mr Hillman, who operates the business with the help of five full-time staff, generated a turnover in excess of £1.5m last year – with further scope to generate further profits.

Hillman Butchers offers a wide selection of quality meat, poultry and game, with speciality cuts available on request.

It predominantly supplies catering customers – with more than 150 loyal accounts – and its delivery vans are a familiar sight across the city.

Around 80 per cent of turnover comes from its catering accounts and 20 per cent from retail trade. The majority of catering customers, which include many top central London restaurants, are situated within a five mile radius.

Mr Hillman said the business is able to offer a much wider range to its retail customers due to it catering business.

The butcher, well-known for its quality bacon, joints, steaks, burgers and award-winning sausages, also sells such items as smoked chicken, salt beef, chicken liver, duck breasts, venison, guinea fowl, and foie gras.

It has further diversified to sell eggs, a wide array of cheeses plus sauces and oils.

“We are able to offer the general public such a wide range because we supply to restaurants, pubs and hotels which makes Hillman Butcher’s a much more attractive prospect for any new owner,” he added.

The business, which has a distinctive gold and black frontage, is in the heart of busy Kilburn High Road which attracts a great deal of footfall due to a great mix of independent retailers and major brands.

There is also parking for two delivery vans directly outside.

The shop currently closes on Sundays and Wednesday afternoons so there is scope for a future owner to extend the opening hours and increase profits.

It is currently run without any an advertising campaign, website or social media promotion – all of which could raise its profile and generate fresh business opportunities.

The Hillman family – which once ran 36 outlets across London – has operated this particular butcher’s shop on Kilburn High Road for more than 60 years.

The vibrant high street, which follows the route of Roman Watling Street, still forms one of the main routes in and out of the capital.

Kilburn, which sits between South Hampstead and Queens Park, is surrounded by the more affluent areas of West Hampstead, Cricklewood, Maida Vale and St John’s Wood.

Nearby attractions include Abbey Road recording studios – made famous by The Beatles – and Lords Cricket Ground while celebrity residents past and present include actor Hugh Laurie, singer Lily Allen, Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne, former professional cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins and supermodel Kate Moss.

The building is in current good repair and has undergone recent work to the roof and re-pointing to brickwork.

Three delivery vans are included in the sale along with several display chillers, a large selection of butchery equipment, wrapping and packing equipment and stainless steel preparation tables.

To the rear, there is a small office, a mezzanine storage area, a preparation area, shelving and covered store area.

It is centrally located between two mainline railway stations, Brondesbury and Kilburn High Road. The nearest tube station is Kilburn on the Jubilee line.


Mr Hillman added: “My father Michael, who passed away two years ago, worked here until he was 83 and, like me, he absolutely loved the profession and dealing with our customers.

“We have many loyal customers and while it will be a wrench to sell the business because of the history but I’m looking forward to retirement and spending more time with my family.

“This business will provide its new owner with a great opportunity to build on our excellent reputation to create even greater success and cement its position on Kilburn High Road for many more years to come.”


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