Why Hills Bookshop is still so fondly remembered in Sunderland

Hills Bookshop in Waterloo Place, Sunderland, just before it closed.
Hills Bookshop in Waterloo Place, Sunderland, just before it closed.
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You loved it and would be over the moon if it was still here.

That’s Hills Bookshop in Waterloo Place, and it was a favourite for avid readers in Sunderland.

Angela and Janine Foster, of Sunderland, examine the magic eye images in Hills in December 1994.

Angela and Janine Foster, of Sunderland, examine the magic eye images in Hills in December 1994.

Some of you even spent hours in there wandering into imaginary worlds between the pages.

We shared a post about it on social media and around 30,000 of you took an interest.

But what did you have to say about the place? Lots! More than 130 of you left comments.

They included Victoria Wooton, who remembered “the train upstairs filled with children’s books”, while Lindsay Wooton reminisced about the “red and gold leather backed Heidi book. Loved that book, my pride and joy”.

Ready to serve in Hills, the bookshop which holds happy memories for so many of you.

Ready to serve in Hills, the bookshop which holds happy memories for so many of you.

Vicky Adams recalled the “kids sitting in the car bookcase!”, and also remembered: “the calligraphy pens for me!”

Julie Johnson Baker said: “Worked there from leaving school until it closed, 24 years. So many great friends and so many happy memories xx.”

Emma Homes told us: “My first job! Saturday girl aged 16 and stayed for five years. I loved working there with the books and art supplies. Staff were lovely. So sad it’s no longer there.”

Eileen Cassley said: “I used to take my two children there every Saturday to spend their pocket money.

An older view of Hills Bookshop, which was a Sunderland institution.

An older view of Hills Bookshop, which was a Sunderland institution.

“My son and daughter loved sitting in the corner reading the books and choosing the one they wanted to buy.

“The assistants were always helpful and kind and kept the books to one side if I didn’t have enough money till the next week. Happy memories.”

Paul Green said he “loved the little Observer books on nature. So simple, yet so educational. And costing around 7 shillings and sixpence, great value”.

Jackie Walton said: “It used to be my favourite shop in the town. Spent hours in there with my parents, deciding which books to spend my pocket/birthday/Christmas money on. Still a book fiend now.”

Sharon Adams chipped in and told us: “This is where I used to take my oldest daughter Bethany to get her Dr Seuss & Spot The Dog books every birthday & Christmas xx.”

Lilian Potts gets our thanks for telling us: “Loved this book shop, especially upstairs. My two children loved to go in school holidays or visits to town. Spent many happy times in there. So sad it closed.”

Pam Todd remembered getting book tokens on school prize day.

“Loved taking mine in to buy books. Wouldn’t have had books without them, sadly. Loved the smell of new books.”

Kim-Marie Hajsadr commented: “Got all my school books from here and my favourite author Enid Blyton’s books, Famous Five and Secret Seven.”

Yvonne Wilkinson “loved this shop, especially the stationery section. Used to get Hills book vouchers from school as a prize for good work”.

Georgia Smithsonova recalled “spending a fortune on Pilot pens, sketchbooks, scalpels and a full array of pencils from 6B to 4H for my BTec at Shiney Raaaaaarr”.

Janice Becas listed her memories as “Enid Blyton books, set of oil crayons, fountain pen, a Parker pen - the list goes on. Time stood still when I went in there.”

Victoria Mcardle Miller remembered: “Buying a Munch Bunch book every Saturday morning till I had full set, about 40 in total. Still got them today x.”

Debbie Dixon said: “This is my childhood, amazing memories. My dad owned the shop until it closed.”

And Steven Malt said: “Helping dad by delivering books to the library.”

Helen Christine Squires said: “Went in there a lot. Loved books and ink pens!!”

While Emma Holyoak commented: “I remember going in here for my stamp collection.”

Joanne Martin told us: “I loved all the different pencil rubbers you could get. So many different shapes and smells.”

There were dozens more comments as well, and we thank every one who took the time to share their memories.