Saturday, 4 February 2017

New owners bring Homemade Heaven to Hills Bakery

Above: Sarah and James Morton are the new owners of Hills Bakery in Kirkgate. They are pictured with their sons Noah, seven, and Seth four. Working from home, Silsden-born Sarah, a member of the famous Lampkin families (her parents are Alan and Eileen), has built up a substantial reputation with her Homemade Heaven business, supplying shops, cafes, pubs and other catering outlets in the district.
Now she and James, a printer, are expanding the business by taking over Hills Bakery, which they will run together. They will retain the long-established and renowned Hills name and plan soon to install their own bakery on the premises, in order to underpin and develop their home-made credentials. Bread was last made at Hills some 25 years ago when production was moved to Ilkley. Sarah and James also intend to introduce a delicatessen section.    
Hills was started in 1969 by Paul and Wendy Harding-Hill, who bought Roy Biltcliffe's bakery at the top of Aire View as well as the Kirkgate business. They transferred the oven and equipment to the Kirkgate shop, and baked there until 1991 when they acquired The Loafer in Ilkley. In the 1980s, they also ran a baker's shop at the former Co-op in Dradishaw Road.
Above: Hills Bakery has been a mainstay presence in Kirkgate for nearly 50 years. This picture from a few decades ago is by courtesy of Silsden Camera Club. Paul and Wendy, who still live in Silsden, retired after selling the Kirkgate business in 2005 and helping the new owner for a couple of years. The shop has had four owners since the Hills, including now the Mortons, who have taken over from Jane Henry. Interestingly, Wendy Hill was a student at Keighley Technical School when Sarah's father was a prefect there.    
Above: Kirkgate in the early 1900s, before the house at the junction with Aire View became a shop. Later photographs of the Kirkgate shops between the Aire View and New Road junctions feature in my post of January 6th, 2013.