Shaftesbury's Gold Hill
Shaftesbury's famous cobbled street, Gold Hill, and the Hovis connection
Gold Hill is a steep cobbled street in the town of Shaftesbury in Dorset. It will be recognizable to many people who have never set foot in Shaftesbury as the view looking down Gold Hill appears on the cover of many books about Dorset and rural England as well as on calendars and chocolate boxes.
At the end of our independent walking holiday The Wonders of Wessex and on our 2 or 3 centre based Hart of the Cranborne Chase you will enter the town of Shaftesbury via this magnificient cobbled hill, lined with thatched cottages.
Gold Hill really came to the nation’s attention when it was used as a setting for a television commercial. In 1973, Hovis produced what was to become an all-time classic TV advert, a delivery boy freewheeling down a cobbled ‘northern’hill, the accents in the advert made viewers believe it was somewhere in Yorkshire. The advert was directed by Sir Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator) and includes Dvorak's 'New World' symphony rearranged for brass and has been voted one of Britain's favourite advertisements of all time.
In 1982 Hovis got further mileage out of their advert by finding the original boy and bringing him back to Gold Hill for the presentation of a cheque towards the restoration of the cobbles. A large ‘Hovis loaf’ was placed at the top of the hill to collect further funds for restoration work.
The original boy on the bike, Carl Barlow said: "It was pure fate that I got the part as the Hovis boy. I was down to the last three, and it turned out that one of the two boys couldn't ride a bike, and the other wouldn't cut his hair into the pudding bowl style - it was the Seventies after all. As the only boy who could ride a bike and would cut his hair, I got the part."
The British bread brand founded in 1886 has signed Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton as a brand ambassador. Pendleton spent six hours recreating the iconic 1973 'Boy on a bike' TV advert.
Gold Hill was also featured in John Schlesinger's 1967 film of Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd.