Hillier Parker May and Rowden

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Hillier Parker May and Rowden were commercial property consultants and agents based in London, UK. The company was founded in 1896. It was bought in 1998 by CBRE Group.[1]


William Hillier and Thomas Parker began business at 101 Regent Street W1, in 1896.[2] The company moved to 99 Regent Street W1 in 1906; to 27 Maddox Street W1 in 1921; then to 77 Grosvenor Street W1 in 1940. [3] An office was opened in Scotland in 1957 and in Australia in 1970. [4]

Initially the firm built its reputation as an agent and advisor on shop property. HPM&R advertised shops, factories, business properties, residential and agricultural estates, mortgages, trust funds and securities. Some of the newspapers that carried HPM&R property ads were The Times, Kent & Sussex Courier; Liverpool Daily Post; Bedfordshire Times and Independent; Lancashire Evening Post; and Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald.[5] HPM&R advertised in The Times and The Telegraph once a year that it had "done business in the following towns" followed by a nationwide list. [6]

In 1904, the first F. W. Woolworth Company director arrived in Britain. A partner of Hillier Parker waited on the quayside at Liverpool for the liner to arrive. The first branch of Woolworth's in Britain opened in Liverpool at a site found by Hillier Parker. Hillier Parker acted for most of the major multiple retailers including Marks and Spencer, [7][8] Tesco, British Home Stores and the John Lewis Partnership. It helped develop shopping parades between the wars; then was involved with the shopping centre boom in the 1960s to 90s.

The commercial property market reached a height of activity in 1970-3. By 1970, HPM&R routinely took seven full pages of advertising in the principal journal for commercial property, Estates Gazette. [9] The company survived the 1973-5 contraction of the commercial property market. In 1975, the Government-imposed freeze on commercial rents ended [10] and business began to recover.

The peak of the boom in 1986 turned to slump in 1991 and this affected new builds of shopping centres; new space went down from 5 million sq ft in 1991 to less than 1.2 million sq ft in 1993. When conditions improved, Hillier Parker May & Rowden took advice about shopping centres to clients in continental Europe and the Far East.[11]

Between the wars: 1919 to 1939

In this period the business of the firm expanded into other property sectors. It was commissioned to value the properties of John Lewis (department store);[12] Brooklands motor track; [13] and London Air Park. [14] It advertised the freehold site of Devonshire House, Picadilly, in 1922 [15]. It auctioned Gamages Department Store of Oxford Street in 1931. [16]

In 1922, HPM&R began to issue annual reports about conditions in the commercial property market. These were quoted in the property columns of The Times and The Daily Telegraph.[17]

Post-war 1946 onwards

Shopping centres

The purchase of Burlington Arcade by Prudential Assurance Company in 1954 was negotiated through HPM&R.[18] The Barton Arcade in Manchester was sold by HPM&R in 1957. [19]

From 1960, HPM&R gave advice to over 100 local authorities and New Town Corporations on development schemes for town centre shopping. For example, in 1974, HPM&R was appointed planning consultant, project manager and letting agent on behalf of Banbury Borough Council for the Castle Centre in Banbury Town Centre (now named Castle Quay Shopping Centre).[20] [21] Tunbridge Wells Borough Council was advised throughout the development of Royal Victoria Place, opened in 1992. [22][23] HPM&R advised the 1970 development of the town centre for Hartlepool, County Durham. [24]

HPM&R acted as consultant on town centre shopping (and in some cases, also letting agent) to the New Town Corporations for Hythe, Hants;[25] Peterlee, County Durham; [26] and Grangemouth, Falkirk. [27]

During this period, Hillier Parker acted for most major property companies on shopping centre development. The company provided retail planning and leasing services for Lend Lease, the developer of Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent. It advised on the development of Eastgate Shopping Centre in Inverness, and the Brunel Centre in Bletchley.

Further examples of the variety of projects were: Victoria Street, London; Bentalls, Kingston; Peterborough Town Centre; Albert Dock, Liverpool;[22] Welwyn Garden City Town Centre; [28] Broadway, Bradford; [29] Northfield, Birmingham; [30] New Conduit Street, King's Lynn; [31] Fareham Town Centre; [32] Nicholson's Walk, Maidenhead; [33] Mander Centre, Wolverhampton; [34] and St Nicholas Way, Sutton. [35]

In 1975, the company was the development consultant and letting agent for the Army & Navy store and a quarter mile of arcaded shopping in Victoria Street, London.[36]

By 1996, HPM&R managed 30 shopping centres, including The Pavilions in Birmingham on behalf of Royal Insurance Asset Management. [22]

HPM&R produced a review of its retail operations in 1986: some of the locations named were the Whitgift Centre in Croydon;[37] and the Queensgate Centre in Peterborough. HPM&R advised Thamesdown Borough Council in Swindon in 1994 for a factory outlet shopping centre proposed for the old Great Western Railway site. [38]

A survey of commercial rents in Oxford Street's four million square feet of retail space by HPM&R was published in 1976.[39] The HPM&R British Shopping Centre Developments review was first published in 1965 and supplements were produced annually. [40]

Offices and Industrial

In the postwar period HPM&R was extensively involved in the office and industrial sector. Examples of the variety of instructions for the office and industrial departments are listed below.

HPM&R was one of three companies that managed the property of City Centre Properties Ltd (formerly Chesham House Regent St Limited) in the 1950s.[41]

In 1958, HPM&R managed the lease of the newly built Wingate House, Shaftesbury Avenue, London. The principal tenant was the Egg Marketing Board.[42]

HPM&R was the development consultant for the building of the office of Barings Bank at 8 Bishopsgate in the 1980s.[43]

HPM&R was the valuer for Great Portland Estates[44] and acted for Grosvenor Estate Commercial Developments. [45]

Grosvenor House in Reddich, a 6 story office block of 54,000 sq ft, was sold in 1976 for more than £1m.

At Stockley Park near Heathrow, HPM&R represented Marks & Spencer, Quotron, Fujitsui, ADP and EDS in connection with their rent reviews.

HPM&R advised IBM on the acquisition of their office at Wickham Road, Fareham Parkway.[46]

The Ark, Hammersmith, of 14,300 sq m, was let and managed by HPM&R for Securum Property Holdings.

99 Bishopsgate, London EC2, was managed by HPM&R for Hammerson Plc.

Guilford Business Park was managed on behalf of The Crown Estate.

Saltaire Court, an office block in Edinburgh, Scotland, was completed in 1991. It was built following advice from the Scottish office of HPM&R, with Scottish Metropolitan, on the site of the former opera house facing Edinburgh Castle. 200,000 sq ft, Saltaire Court was sold to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for £53.1m.

The Baltic Exchange at St Mary Axe EC3 was sold by HPM&R to Trafalgar House after it was damaged by the 1993 Bishopsgate bombing. The sale was unusual because repairs were to cost £10m; the buyer to pay for the property and repairs. [22] [11]

In 1974, HPM&R acted for the Sunderland Corporation in a £2m scheme to redevelop the Grand Hotel in Sunderland.[47] HPM&R was one of two letting agents for Tollgate House, a new 17-story office block in Bristol, in 1975. [48]

HPM&R gave advice to the then Nuclear Electric Plc in the early 1990s to facilitate the change of use of Bankside Power Station to the Tate Modern art gallery.[22]

The Investors Chronicle Hillier Parker Rent Index for commercial property was produced from 1965.[49] [50]

Specialist departments

In 1996, HPM&R had 700 UK staff. Of these, a quarter were employed in property management, valuation, rating, building surveying and research. Shell Pensions Trust, IBM Pension Fund and Nuffield College Oxford invested in property using HPM&R. [11]

In the 1980s, an interest was acquired in Landauer Associates, with offices in New York and other American cities. It was sold in the early 1990s. Hillier Parker became part of Oncor, a worldwide association of real estate firms. [22]


In 1998, Hillier Parker May and Rowden was acquired by CBRE. Thus, after 102 years, the name of Hillier Parker May and Rowden ceased to exist.


Two senior partners who played a major part in expanding the firm in the interwar and immediate postwar period were Stanley Edgson and Douglas Overall. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography records that Stanley Edgson was a "dynamic personality and first class auctioneer, who was the main driving force behind Hillier Parker's spectacular success during the inter-war years. As an auctioneer he was well known for his rich turn of phrase, such as ‘the pleasure of offering from this rostrum".[51]

The portrait of Douglas Overall, senior partner, is in the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.[52]

Bryan Richards, charterered surveyor, who won the George Medal for tackling a wartime bomb in a dance hall, joined HPM&R at the age of 21.[53]

External links

List of Partners and Offices. http://www.pjc.me.uk/hillier-parker/partners.html


  2. Luncheon Menu, Savoy Hotel, 20 May 1988. Hillier Parker Archive, 34 Geralds Road, High Wycombe, HP13 6BW, UK. Menu
  3. The Birmingham Post, Saturday, December 30, 1939. Page 2. Courtesy of britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk. Used with permission. Announcement
  4. "Austrialia office open". Estates Gazette, 21 March 1970, front page
  5. http://www.nationalnewspaperarchive.co.uk
  6. The Property Boom (1967), Oliver Marriott, pp. 15–16.
  7. Estates Gazette, Jan 9 1960 p48
  8. Estates Gazette Feb 13 1960 p329
  9. HPM&R ads, Estates Gazette, March 21 1970 p1377,1379,1381,1383,1385,1387,1398
  10. "Rent freeze ending". Estates Gazette, Jan 4, 1975, p11
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Hillier Parker Magazine. Hillier Parker Archive. 34 Geralds Road, High Wycombe, Bucks HP13 6BW, UK
  12. "John Lewis Properties Limited." Times, London, England, 12 May 1936
  13. "Brooklands (Weybridge) Limited." Times, London, England, 25 June 1936
  14. "GENERAL AIRCRAFT LIMITED. (Incorporated under the Companies Act, 1929.)." Times, London, England 9 Oct. 1934
  15. Hillier, Parker, May & Rowden,." Times, London, England 5 Apr. 1922
  16. Auction Of Gamages (West End), Ltd." Times, London, England, 15 July 1931
  17. Peter Scott, The Property Masters (1996), p. 41.
  18. OUR ARCHITECTURAL CORRESPONDENT. "Burlington Arcade Freehold Bought." Times [London, England] 17 Sept. 1954
  19. OUR PROPERTY MARKET CORRESPONDENT. "Shops Arcade Sold For £200,000." Times [London, England] 9 Dec. 1957: 5
  20. a Correspondent. "Commercial and Industrial Property."
  21. Gerald Ely. "Shopping mall for Staines." Times [London, England] 21 Mar. 1977: 25
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 Centenary Brochure 1896 - 1996. Hillier Parker Archive, Phil Jones Computers Ltd, 34 Geralds Road, High Wycombe, HP13 6BW, UK. Cover and senior partner's statement
  23. "Tunbridge Wells, Victoria Place. Hillier Parker marketing the site". Estates Gazette, Jan 19, 1985, p147
  24. "Hartlepool town centre". Estates Gazette, Feb 14, 1970, p806
  25. "Hythe New Town centre, 20 shops". Estates Gazette, Feb 27 1960 p436
  26. "You too can have a shop at Peterlee New Town". Estates Gazette, Jan 3, 1970, p2
  27. "You too can have a shop at Grangemouth New Town". Estates Gazette, Jan 31, 1970, p547
  28. "10 shops & supermarket and 45,000 sq ft office space, Welwyn Garden City". Estates Gazette, Feb 13 1960, p349
  29. "Bradford, Bridge House Broadway". Estates Gazette, Feb 27 1960
  30. "First climate controlled shopping, Northfield, Birmingham". Estates Gazette, Mar 7, 1970, p1158
  31. "King's Lynn, 15 shops and supermarket". Estates Gazette, Mar 21, 1970, p1381
  32. ""Fareham Town Centre. 6 acres, 60 shops, 20,000 sq ft office". Estates Gazette, Feb 1, 1975 p515
  33. "Nicholson's Walk, Maidenhead, letting agent". Estates Gazette, Jan 12, 1985. Inside front cover
  34. "Mander Centre, Wolverhampton". Estates Gazette, March 14, 1970, p1294
  35. "Maybrook Properties. St Nicholas Way, Sutton". Estates Gazette; Feb 16, 1985, p623
  36. "Taxation and other disincentives are seriously inhibiting private property interests in the United Kingdom, and the attention of the media." Times, London, England, 11 Apr. 1975
  37. "Whitgift Centre". Estates Gazette, Mar 13 1965 p967
  38. Nick Nuttall Environment Correspondent. "Factory shops store up trouble." Times, London, England, 4 May 1994: 6
  39. Derek Harris Commercial Editor. "Tourists aid sales boom in Oxford St." Times London, England. 21 Dec. 1976
  40. "British Shopping Centre Developments supplement 1985. Russell Schillier". Estates Gazette, Feb 23, 1985, p708
  41. "CITY CENTRE PROPERTIES LIMITED (Formerly Chesham House (Regent Street) Limited)." Times, London, England. 13 Aug. 1955: 10
  42. Our Property Market Correspondent. "Egg Board's New Building." Times, London, England. 20 Oct. 1958
  43. "New City office: This is a model of the 24-storey building to be." Times, London, England 10 Mar. 1978: 22
  44. Matthew Bond. "Unreal time for valuers and investors in real estate." Times [London, England] 12 June 1990: 27
  45. Gerald Ely. "Commercial and Business Market." Times, London, England, 23 Aug. 1976: 8
  46. "IBM advised by Hillier Parker". Estates Gazette, Feb 23, 1985, p708
  47. Gerald Ely. "£2m plan for derelict hotel site." Times, London, England, 11 Mar. 1974: 8
  48. Gerald Ely. "Monopoly daner in land Bill." Times, London, England. 28 Apr. 1975: 11
  49. www.andrewbaum.com/uploads/publications_and_papers_8_1_1.pdf
  50. Journal of Property Investment & Finance. Industrial Property. Volume 23. Number 4. 2005
  51. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/51906
  52. http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp141109/douglas-overall
  53. "Bryan Richards." Times, London, England, 20 Feb. 2002: 38

Further reading

  • Marriott, Oliver (1967). The Property Boom. Hamish Hamilton. 
  • Scott, Peter (1996). The Property Masters. E. & F.N. Spon. 
  • Whitehouse, B. P. (1964). Partners in Property. Birn, Shaw. 
  • (1991) Retailing: Shopping, Society, Space. David Fulton.