Eric Hinds, former Chairman of F. Hinds Jewellers, has died, aged 97.
Born in 1926, he briefly worked in the family business in 1943 and then joined the RAF until the end of World War Two. He re-entered F.Hinds on demobilisation in 1947, working first as an assistant in the Edgware Road shop.
Eric was joined by his younger brother Roy three years later. When their father Frank died in the early 1960s, they ran the business together for several decades until the next generation joined in the 1980s, with Eric and Roy complementing each other.
Eric was President of the National Association of Goldsmiths from 2001-2003 and was a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers for many years, which reflected the family’s roots as longcase clockmakers in Stamford in the early and mid-1800s before the first Hinds jewellery shop opened in London in 1856.
He continued to swim daily and to play golf into his nineties. He also had an eclectic mix of passions throughout his life – curling, classical music, photography and wine.
When Eric joined the business, F.Hinds was a small chain with 16 branches; by the time he retired completely in 2018 it had been transformed into a national retailer with 116, although he had stepped back from a day-to-day role several years earlier.
During his time, there were two head office relocations, first from Hammersmith to Shepherd’s Bush and then to Uxbridge. The company also bought several of the freeholds of its shops, was one of the first retailers of any type in the UK to install computerised tills in the late 1970s and went online as early as 1997.
His brother Roy said, “I could not have wished for a better brother, both as a brother and to work with. Eric was invariably good humoured and was a great source of wisdom.
“We worked so well together for over half a century. His first thought was for the welfare of our staff and he was always quick to call a store to congratulate them when they’d had a good week.
“We will all miss him and his roaring laugh, but have innumerable fond memories.”