Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,165 pages of information and 245,632 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Hillsdown Holdings

From Graces Guide

1975 The company was founded by Harry Solomon and David Thompson as Hillsdown Holdings, a holding company for a number of their investments. The name came from Thompson's house - Hillsdown.

As the business grew, the Principal areas of activity became:

  • fresh meat and bacon;
  • poultry, eggs and animal feeds;
  • food processing and distribution;
  • furniture manufacturing;
  • stationery and office equipment;
  • property;
  • specialist operations.

1976 Acquired a majority of Colloids (Widnes)

1977 Acquired Wilkinsons Furniture

1981 Hillsdown acquired Lockwood Foods, a canned foods business. Also acquired W. Steel and Co, maker of the Z-bed, and Cooper, Dennison, Walkden, stationery supplier.[1]

1982 Acquired from Imperial Group its UK chicken and egg, animal feed and meat trading operations, including Allied Farm Foods, Buxted Poultry, Eastwood Thompson and J. B. Eastwood[2]

1983 Acquired TKM Foods, producers of Smedley's and holders of a majority interest in Anglo European Food Group, makers of Harvest poultry and Harvest frozen foods.[3]. Acquired FMC.

1985 Acquired Christie-Tyler, furniture makers[4], Walker and Homer, Needlers and Pyke, as well as 3 ice cream producers: Hortons, Classic and Lewis Brothers. Lockwoods and Smedley's were the country's largest producers of canned foods; Smedley Foods and Harvest Frozen Foods had a growing share of the frozen food market.[5]

1986 Acquired Blue Bird Confectionery as basis for developing its confectionery interests[6]

1986 Bought various food businesses from Beecham Group

1988 Sold the Nitrovit feed mills to J. Bibby and Sons.

1990 Acquired Premier Brands which included Typhoo and Cadbury's drinks.

1991 Established Haywards Foods as a subsidiary

At the end of 1994, acquired Lyons Biscuits Ltd.

1997 The biscuit businesses were brought together as Horizon Biscuit Co.

1999 Hillsdown Holdings was bought by the private equity company Hicks, Muse, Tate and Furst.

Christie-Tyler was spun out as a separate company; the poultry unit, including Buxted Chicken was closed and the brands sold off; the food business, including Hartley's Jam and Cadbury Drinking Chocolate, was renamed Premier Foods.[7]

2000 Hicks, Muse, Tate and Furst acquired Burton's Gold Medal Biscuits, and merged it with Horizon, Hillsdown Holdings' biscuit business, [8] to form Burton's Foods

Lyons Biscuits became part of biscuit manufacturer Burton's Foods Ltd.

2002 Bought Nestlé's ambient foods business and merged it with Premier Foods.

2003 Acquired Ambrosia and Brown and Polson from Unilever. Also acquired Weetabix

2004 Premier Foods was listed on the London Stock Exchange.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1981 Annual report
  2. The Times, Jul 09, 1982
  3. 1982 Annual report
  4. The Times Aug. 14, 1985
  5. 1985 Annual report
  6. The Times Sept. 13, 1986
  7. The Times May 11, 2004
  8. The Times, December 31, 2003