Date Published 07 February 2020
If you live in Erith, it's very likely that you have walked or driven past the Hovis Bakery many times.
Did you know that Harry Groom opened his first bakery ‘H.L Grooms' in West Street Erith in 1886, and the bakery was so successful that in 1906 he moved to the much larger premises in Belmont Road?. This new site provided room for stabling of the horses that pulled the bread vans, as well as a forge for the coach makers and farriers.
Between 1926 and 1937 a further ten sites were opened throughout the South-East. In 1957 the site became part of British Bakeries and now it makes bread for the Hovis brand.
The bakery is still going strong after it's very humble beginnings in West Street, but unfortunately the name Groom seems to have been all but forgotten. This man built a very successful business and contributed to providing employment for people within the Erith community (probably in their thousands over the years) and we shouldn't allow his hard work and determination to be forgotten. It's an amazing legacy to leave behind.
Now that we know his story, every time we smell the baking bread/hot cross buns perhaps we should remember Mr Harry Groom as an inspiration. Great things have and do happen in our little town called Erith.