John Septimus Hill

"Daily Dispatch" Reporter


Alderman John Septimus Hill, a former Lord Mayor of Manchester, one of its wealthiest men and a wise and humane administrator, died vesterday.

Although he built UCP (United Cattle Products) into a big business of nearly 150 shops and restaurants, he was a most unpretentious and approachable man.

His business career was spectacular - He began as an individual purveyor of tripe, boiled and delivered by himself to local shops in Gorton.

His marriage was one of serene happiness. In 1929, unknown to him and his wife a friend entered them for the Dunmow Flitch. He said then that they had never had a day's unhappiness. He was able to repeat that tribute in 1943 when they celebrated their Golden Wedding.

Mrs. Hill died a few months later, and of their 13 children, brought up with an adopted niece, 10 survive their parents.

His "School"

Ald. Hill's Council career was distinguished by his service on trading committees, where his business acumen sas of great value to the city. At his death he was serving on the Gas, Waterworks and Transport Committees.

For many years his home in Fielden Park, West Didsbury, Manchester, was an unofficial "school" for the young Conservative councillors, who met there frequently to stage informal debates.

Ald. Hill was aged 75, and had served continuously on the City Counsil for 22 years. He attended his last meeting two months ago.

The Daily Mail, Tuesday, January 25, 1949


Britain's No. 1 tripe salesman, who, beginning as an errand boy, became head of a £500,000 company and built up a private fortune, died in Manchester yesterday.

He was Alderman John Septimus Hill, founder and until recently chairman and managing director of United Cattle Products Ltd., the meat importers and tripe dressers who own 168 shops, cafés and restaurants. He was 75.

Friends attributed to Alderman Hill the "Whittington touch."

Sixty years ago he prepared tripe in his father's tiny "factory" in Gorton and delivered it in baskets to the local shops.

Five years ago he was Lord Mayor of Manchester.

He left school when he was 10. Days spent in delivering tripe were followed by nights poring over exercise books.

The boy with the basket of tripe ended by ruling a firm which supplies nearly 6,000,000 meals a year, with tripe still on the menu.

Executives of the firm last night recalled that in his hey-day it was difficult to "drag him away from business."

While friends were at football matches on Saturday afternoons he would wander round his shops and on Sundays visit one or other of the 12 food factories which supply them.



We regret to announce the death, which occurred at his home in West Didsbury, Manchester, yesterday, of Alderman John Septimus Hill.

Alderman Hill, who was 75 years of age, rose from small beginnings to become head of a firm controlling 150 restaurants and shops in the North of England. He was a Conservative, and was elected to the City Council by the Withington Ward in 1926 and was made an alderman in 1942. He rarely spoke in the political debates in the Council, but he took an active part in the work of some of we more important committees, being twice chairman of the Transport Committee and chairman of the Gas Markets, and Traffic Congestion committees. He was also a member of the General and Parliamentary and Waterworks committees. He was Lord Mayor during the municipal wear 1942-3.

He was born in Ardwick in 1873. After an apprenticeship to his brother, a pork butcher, he started a wholesale tripe business in Withington in 1894. A few years later he opened his first retail shop, and in 1911 founded, with his brother, Lancashire Cattle Products, Ltd., which later became United Cattle Products, Ltd.

Since the death of his wife, who was taken ill during his Mayoral year and died shortly afterwards, he had had only indifferent health.

Manchester City News, Friday, January 28, 1949


The Lord Mayor and Corporation of Manchester on Wednesday paid the city's last respects to one of its most colourful sons, Alderman John Septimus Hill, the poor boy who hawked tripe, became a rich man and first citizen of the city he loved.

His apprenticeship over, he knew enough about the business at 21 to start a wholesale tripe concern in Withington. That was in 1894. A few years later he opened his first retail shop, and in 1911 founded, with his brother, Lancashire Cattle Products Ltd. The firm became United Cattle Products Ltd., the giant £500,000 U.C.P. which today owns 161 restaurants, cafes and shops.

Asked about his success, Alderman Hill was wont to deny that he was a clever man, "But," he would add, "I thank God for a fund of common sense and good health."

A Conservative, Alderman Hill was sent to the City Council from Withington in 1926 and returned again and again from that Ward for the next 20 years. Most of his work was done behind the scenes as chairman of the Transport, Gas, Markets, and Traffic Congestion Committees. He was also a member of the General and Parliamentary and Waterworks committees.

No Lord Mayor had a busier or more exciting year. During 1942 and 1943 Alderman Hill worked wnceasingly among the welter of Manchester's war-time activities. In that crowded twelvemonth the poor boy from Ardwick entertained their Majesties, the King and Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Princess Royal, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt (here shown above during her visit), Mr. John G. Winant, the American Ambassador, Dr. Benes, and Madame Maisky, wife of the Soviet Ambassador.

He and Mrs. Hill brought up a family of eight sons, five daughters, and an adopted niece. Ten of his children survive him.

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