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The shopping centre generally known as Hilldene Shops is the main shopping area in Harold Hill, strictly speaking the shops are centred on Farnham Rd with some in Chippenham Rd, but its called Hilldene shops and probably always will be. It was the last group of shops to be completed on Harold Hill apart from the Briar Rd shops which were rebuilt following the demolition of the prefab estate in the late sixties and early seventies and the construction of that distinctive part of Harold Hill often referred to as the Briar Rd Estate or the "flowers" Estate because all the roads are named after flowers.
By mid November 1954 the LCC had recieved 4,000 applications for the lease of the shop units in the Hilldene shopping centre. The 4,000 were then taken down to approximately 350 and of these it was noted that 65 of them were tobacconists.

Some of the first tenants were;
Smith's - House Furnishers.
Harodene - Credit Drapers and outfitters.
Browning's - Newsagent, stationer and confectioners.
The Westminster Wine Company - Off Licence.
Sparks - Fruiterers & Green Grocers.
R. F. Hawkins (Butchers) Limited. - Butchers.
Messers Davey & Taylor - Despensing Chemists.
Stanton Radio Ltd. - Radio. Electrical and Music Stores.
Eve Lynn - Ladies and Gentlemens Hairdressers.
Michael Stitcher - Gentleman's Hosier and Outfitters.
Regal Dry Cleaners Ltd.

The above were on the first list made up of those that aquired lease's
to shop units on 18th November 1954. Thanks to Don Tait for this info.
The photos below were taken from various commercial sources they are all probably from the early 1960's and 70's, The last one looking down Farnham Rd from the church was taken in 1958.

Looking from East Dene, Hilldene Cafe (Maple Leaf Cafe) and the Pet shop opposite including a parrot. I dread to think how much time I frittered away in this cafe playing pinball in the mid sixties. At that time it was run by a lovely couple, Bob and Connie. They had three kids, Derek, Carol and Bob Jnr. Derek and Carol worked in the cafe but Bob Jnr played very little part in the business affairs. Carol entered into a failed marriage with Ray the son of the LCC caretaker of the flats, Mick.                                                            Del Smith