How a charity shop has brought a bit of Harborough history back to life

The British Heart Foundation on the High Street has meticulously repainted the former Freeman Hardy & Willis sign on the Coventry Road side of its building which had faded over time

Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 10:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 10:38 am
The British Heart Foundation on the High Street has meticulously repainted the former Freeman Hardy & Willis sign on the Coventry Road side of its building which had faded over time.
The British Heart Foundation on the High Street has meticulously repainted the former Freeman Hardy & Willis sign on the Coventry Road side of its building which had faded over time.

The past has been vividly brought to life by a charity shop in Market Harborough town centre as an historic store sign has been restored.

The British Heart Foundation on the High Street has meticulously repainted the former Freeman Hardy & Willis sign on the Coventry Road side of its building which had faded over time.

The old Freeman Hardy & Willis shoe shop used to be based there, selling shoes, boots and other footwear to thousands of local people down the decades.

The old sign had become faded before the restoration.

You can see how the building used to look on this website of old photographs: https://www.fotografikal.co.uk/olde-harborough-townHarborough District Council's conservation team, which were consulted, gave the project the thumbs up and have praised the finished work.

John O'Reilly, BHF's regional manager, said: "At the British Heart Foundation we believe that so many things deserve a second chance to be appreciated.

“So it's fantastic to see this historic sign restored to its former glory.”

He added: "In line with Government guidelines, our High Street store is currently closed to protect the public from the spread of Covid-19. “However, we are really looking forward to when we can welcome customers back through our doors to continue raising vital funds for research into heart and circulatory diseases."

Freeman Hardy & Willis specialised in boots and shoes. It was launched in 1875, at the height of the British Empire, opening stores across the UK.

Sadly, the company went into decline and its shops closed nationally in the mid-1990s.

The British Heart Foundation opened its Market Harborough branch in 1992.

Cllr Jonathan Bateman, the council's Cabinet lead on heritage and conservation, said: "This is a welcome restoration project which adds to the heritage of the historical town of Market Harborough.

“We have similar signs in the district – most notably in Market Harborough on the side of the Monks store next to the River Welland in Northampton Road.

“But it is great that this sign has been restored to complement the town centre's other historical points of interest such as the Old Grammar School and St Dionysius Church."