Mystery of the missing historic Hovis signs in Petworth

Hovis House, Petworth, which is now the Hungry Guest cafe
Hovis House, Petworth, which is now the Hungry Guest cafe

AN APPEAL has been lodged after the district council refused an application to remove historic signage from a Petworth food shop and bakery.

But, bizarrely, the signage is not even displayed on the shop, after one Hovis sign had disappeared over time, and another was removed.

Chichester District Council refused the application on behalf of the South Downs National Park, and said: “The unjustified removal of the Hovis signs results in serious harm to the external character and appearance of The Hungry Guest, a building statutorily listed as being of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, and also to its wider townscape setting.”

The planning application which was refused stated ‘it is 1990 that we first see the two vertical Hovis signs’, but it is believed the signs were there some time before that, when the building was Hazelman’s Bakery from 1915.

Petworth Town Council responded to the application with neither support or objection, but did state: “As the signs are of significant interest to the town, it has been requested that they are returned to the town council so that they can be repositioned elsewhere in the town.”

Yet it seems nobody knows where the signs are.

A previous owner had sought planning permission for the building, and one of the conditions in granting that permission was the signs had to be put back after the renovation.

However the signs did not reappear, and the current owner is seeking permission to remove the condition from planning consent.

The building has a long history dating as far back as 1600.

For the last 100 years the unit had been used primarily as a bakery and was Todman’s Bakery before 1915, and Hazelman’s Bakery from 1915 for the next 75 years.

It then became a convenience store called Petworth Provisions from 1990, and was split up into five units and renamed Hovis House in 2007.

Then in 2011, the five units were unified and joined to Gustav House, and the buildings became the Hungry Guest, to form a food shop with a bakery and patisserie.