It’s a cliché to call something ‘end of an era’ or ‘milestone’ and Keith Hoskins has already talked about changes to come over the course of the next year or so but none will have as big an
impact as the announcement of the closure of Hawkins at 2 - 8 Bucklersbury after 154 years of trading.
Peter is about to retire and head off for some extremely well-earned rest, so with a certain sadness the doors will close for the last time on the 15th January.
In 1863, George Hawkins travelled north on the recently completed railway to settle in Hitchin and opened a pawnbroker at no 8 Bucklersbury. Within 10 years, he had expanded in to no 6 Bucklersbury as well to sell clothing.
Eldest son, also George, joined the business in 1890 continuing until the 1930s when the third generation, Bernard took the helm when the derelict building at no 7 was redeveloped and absorbed into the business. Fourth
generation Ted and Richard were in charge during the 1970s, and obtained the old International Stores site at nos 4 and 5. By 1990, Peter took control and acquired the former TSB premises at no 2 so giving the store its current profile of around 8000 sq ft.
Peter has been an outstanding champion for Hitchin – an active member of Hitchin Chamber of Commerce , one of the original founders and Directors of HTCI, Chairman of Hitchin BID during the first five year term, a big supporter of Hitchin Festival hosting the Box Office, a business studies mentor at local schools and a guaranteed supporter of so many Hitchin causes and organisations; he has earned his retirement. Selfishly, many of us will mourn Hawkins very much – Peter’s efforts and wise counsel will be sorely missed- and it will be a measure of the town that he did so much to help build, as to how it responds to changing circumstances.