Two of Hull's oldest businesses up for prestigious city centre awards

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 9 Jan 2019

Following Hull’s year as UK City of Culture , the face of the city’s high streets and shopping arcades continues to change.

With millions of pounds having been spent on places like the Fruit Market and Trinity Market, as well as several more million being ploughed into the public realm works in the city centre, the heart of the city we call home is forever altering.

But throughout the upheaval and despite the new faces flooding in, change is not for everybody.

Two businesses that have served Hull city centre and beyond for a combined total of well in excess of 200 years have seen many changes go by - but are still going strong.

Priyanka Perera, managing director (Image: Richard Addison)

B Cooke & Son Ltd, based in Market Place in the heart of the Old Town, has “stood the test of time”, having been established 155 years ago, while Dinsdale's Famous Joke & Trick Shop in Hepworth’s Arcade has dedicated the last 85 years to bringing smiles to the faces of its customers.

The pair have both been nominated for Hull Businesses Improvement District (BID) Awards and hope to be celebrating success at a glittering awards dinner next month.

Nominated for an outstanding contribution award, B Cooke & Son Ltd provide navigational charts and publications for ships all over the world, either in paper and digital form.

The company, which started out way back in 1863, sells items that we manufacture and also runs a repair service for compasses, barometers and quartz clocks. It also claims to be the only company in the world that manufactures fully-handmade brass ships compasses.

B Cooke in Scale Lane (Image: B. Cooke & Son)

After starting life close to Queen’s Dock, they moved to premises near Scale Lane before setting up shop in their current spot in the 1950s.

But even with 155 years behind it, there are still difficult times. Priyanka Perera has been working at the company for the last 15 years, taking over as managing director 12 years ago, and says she had to oversee a rejuvenation of the business.

She said: “When I joined the business, it wasn’t trading particularly well and was under threat of closing, so when I became managing director, I had a complete change in strategy and the business has gone from strength to strength, to keep employing a team of seven local people which is important to us.

“We have stood the test of time, particularly with a diminishing fishing fleet in Hull, but our organisation is still supplying worldwide.

“We have recently done repair work for compasses from as far away from USA and Australia.”

B Cooke and Son Ltd (Image: Richard Addison)

Taking a different tack, Dinsdale's Famous Joke & Trick Shop is as much a part of Hull as the pattie butty and chip spice.

Eighty five years in to bringing joy into the lives of generations of Hullensians, the Hepworth’s Arcade store is going from strength-to-strength.

Owner, Graham Williams, has been nominated for four BID Awards including Dress to Impress for its “proper old fashioned, eye-catching windows” and Innovative Marketing to celebrate Mr Williams’ use of social media to draw in customers.

Graham Williams from Dinsdale's Joke Shop (Image: Jerome Ellerby)

Dinsdale’s is also up for the Outstanding Employee and Customer Service awards and part of the nomination reads: “Graham is passionate about this long established family business.

“He delights his customers with his old fashioned commitment to service, his dedication to his craft and his funny stories.

"Graham never fails to demonstrate tricks and amuse his customers. 85 years of dedicated service to Hull from Dinsdale’s.”

Both Dinsdale's Famous Joke & Trick Shop and B Cooke & Son Ltd have been nominated for BID Awards but entries are still open to pick your favourite shops in Hull city centre.

Hepworth's Arcade (Image: Peter Harbour)

The closing date for entries is Monday, January 21 ahead of the black-tie awards dinner at Hull Minster on Friday, February 22.

People will be able to nominate online using the form below or by submitting a handwritten entry using a nomination form.

Anyone wanting a form or more information can contact Catherine Goble in the BID office on 01482 611802.

HullBID team members will be out and about in the city centre delivering nomination forms to businesses. People will also be able to nominate online below or by clicking here.

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