A FAMILY has explained why they will be closing a historic shop that had been in Hereford for 75 years. 

M. Black & Sons, a specialist in selling jeans, has been a permanent fixture in the city since 1949. 

However, Rob and Les Black, who run the Widemarsh Street shop, have decided to retire once the lease is up, meaning it will close at the end of next year. 


"We've got a break clause in the lease, which is two or 13 years," said Rob.

"When you're already a pensioner, it doesn't take a lot of consideration because I'm 66 and my brother is 71.

"People are devastated and have asked where are they now going to get their clothes. But, unfortunately, I don't even have an answer because there's no independents I can suggest and most of the multiples like Debenhams have closed."

Hereford Times: Les and Rob Black took over their father Mark's businessLes and Rob Black took over their father Mark's business (Image: Rob Davies)

Hereford Times: Les and Rob BlackLes and Rob Black (Image: Rob Davies)

The family-run business was set up by Rob and Les' father, Mark Black.

In 1949, he started his business in a private house before moving to three premises in Widemarsh Street, finishing up at the current shop, where it has been since 1963.

"When he came out of the RAF in 1949 they offered him a rank and a house, but he had done his stint," said Rob.

"He was an electrician for a while then decided to do something for himself and sold anything he could get hold of on credit with a bicycle for a while then a little van.

Hereford Times: M. Black & Sons was set up by Mark Black in 1949M. Black & Sons was set up by Mark Black in 1949 (Image: Rob Davies)

"It was done door-to-door on trust and on credit for decades. 

"What is now the Chinese restaurant, we had for some years, as well as another shop on our side of the Herdsman.

"The building we had in the 1960s was older than the Black and White House, but they knocked it down because they wanted to make the road wider. 

"He also had one at the front of Eign Gate called Tudor House, which was a traditional ladies shop, and we've been in this building since 1963. 

""He had the vision to open with Levis when they came over in 1968 and our account was the 18th in the whole country to open.

"A year or two later we went into Lee and Wrangler and we're still doing those brands."