My name is Valerie Skitmore and I live in Clacton-on-Sea in Essex.
I was born in Sunderland in 1929, my parents were Henry Kilburn Hardy and Maisie Hardy. My grandparents were Frederick and Edith Brass.
I am writing because I have read, with interest, the article in the Sunderland Echo (March 21) about Hills Book Shop.
Although I lived a very short time in Sunderland, I have always felt a great attachment to the city (especially the football club!).
A relative arranged for a copy of your newspaper to be sent to me once a week and that is how I was able to read your article about Hills.
I know that my maternal grandfather (Frederick Brass) was employed for many years at the book shop.
I’ve always had the feeling that he was possibly the manager at one time. My mother used to tell that when she was younger that her father always brought her a book and chocolate home when he finished work and returned home on a Saturday evening.
Although I was only seven years old when my grandfather died, I have a very clear memory of him.
He was a very kind and gentle person and one who took a great interest in books of all types. His early death, at 54 years, was a great loss.
I was sorry to read that Hills eventually closed in 2008.
I can recall exactly where the shop was.
My husband and I visited Sunderland whenever we were in the North East (my parents lived in Redcar).
My father’s mother lived in one of Wearside’s ‘Little Palaces’ and we would go and visit her. (I have a copy of the book ‘The Sunderland Cottage’, which I have found very interesting).
Whether what I have written is of any use to you I do not know, but I felt I wanted to add a little more information to the excellent article which was in your paper.