Time to close the book as Hitchin’s Jerome Phillips retires at the end of the year.

Time to close the book: Jerome Phillips is retiring at the end of the year.

Time to close the book: Jerome Phillips is retiring at the end of the year. - Credit: Archant

One of Hitchin’s longest running businesses is to close after 130 years.

Phillips of Hitchin, is set to shut its doors at the end of this month when the current owner Jerome Phillips retires.

Jerome, the third generation of his family to run the antique dealers decided to retire after celebrating his 75th birthday earlier this year.

He said: “Having been in Hitchin for more than 100 years there is a pang of regret. We are closing because the next generation of the family will not be running it. It’s a pity but you can’t go on for ever, you have to look forward to the next chapter.

“I studied History at Oxford University when I was younger and I am already looking into doing a postgraduate degree. I would say I am young at heart.

“We have tremendous memories.

The first piece I ever bought was a wardrobe which turned into a bed – it was purchased by an American University.

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“We also sold a mirror by a polar explorer to the office of the then Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, so it is nice to think it’s still somewhere in Canberra.”

Situated in Bancroft, Phillips is located in a Georgian House which contains a grand front hall with elegant columns and a sweeping staircase. The building was used as a location setting for the TV series Kavangah QC, starring the late John Thaw.

Jerome added: “It was funny because when the cast had a teabreak they were all sitting around dressed as judges! I spoke to John Thaw. Everyone said he was a bit grumpy but I found him to be a perfectly pleasant chap.”

All the remaining furniture and books will be sold at auction in March 2015, while the extensive archives of the firm’s history will be donated to Leeds University for a special project on the British antiques trade in the 20th century. The property will be put on the market sometime next year.

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