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Thread: Hemglas Vans

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Nottingham, UK
    Posts
    1,133

    Default Hemglas Vans

    Around 1989-1990 there were this mobile van going around various streets in our area, spending around five minutes in a certain street then moving onto the next one. They were like a portable version of Iceland or a bog-standard frozen food store, and sold things like ice cream (in a tub unlike the 99s that were sold by Mr Whippy vans); ice lollies and things like that. I suppose that as we now have online delivery of our groceries, especially by specialist supermarkets like Iceland, it almost similar concept, except that one purchased things in a similar way to the ice cream vans. Straight from van to freezer.

    We had a monthly leaflet from Hemglas delivered through our letterboxes and it told us what sort of frozen food was available, and the dates and times and where the van would be - in our area, I think that it was fortnightly or every three weeks on Friday afternoons, a bit like a village bus timetable. I believe that in other areas, the times and days varied. I know that they served Nottingham inner-city areas, but did they exist in other areas? I can't be certain but I believed that Hemglas originated from Sweden (although they spelt it with two S at the end). I believe that their British base was in the North East or somewhere else up north.

    The tune that the vans played were very familiar and you could hear it half a mile away - I believe that there was also a radio advertising campaign at that time (Gem and Trent had them) which used the same tune and had a jingle that sounded like a kids' nursery rhyme or something. A neighbour of mine used to spoil her son by buying half the contents of the van when it came around. As my parents almost always bought ice cream from the supermarket they often said that they didn't need Hemglas, but my father did get something from their vans once or twice.

    Was Hemglas a Nottingham only thing, or did other parts of Great Britain have these vans in their area? I thought that it was odd that this service, (which I thought at the time was akin to a sub-Mr Whippy van), would provide us with times and streets of where they will be, considering the fact that they didn't always come at the same time on the same day of the week just like a bus service.

    I am sure that they were national, but I cannot find out if they actually were...
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  2. #2

    Default Re: Hemglas Vans

    We had them in Staveley, Derbyshire around the same time (1989-90 & again from 1995-98) - I hated their electronic jingle and it scared the life out of me!! Used to come around school lunch time on a Tuesday every 2 weeks and they always seemed to be in the College Avenue / Middlecroft Road area around the time I was returning to school after going home for lunch. It upset / bothered me so much I started staying in school after a few weeks. I last recall seeing Hemglas vans around 1999 (in the area around Worksop / Clowne / Barlborough & once in Leicester) and the last one I saw was on the M1 near Leicester in 2002, but I last heard the jingle on our street in Staveley in 1998, 2 weeks after my final GCSE exams. My mum used to buy from them occasionally and we had re-used for Christmas decorations - I threw it away and found an old shoe box or something to replace the Hemglas one. This was after they stopped selling in the UK.
    As to your question as to whether they were national or not, other YouTube users stated they had them in Birmingham, Cambridge and Norwich, while the Newark operation was wound up in around 1999-2000.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Nottingham, UK
    Posts
    1,133

    Default Re: Hemglas Vans

    It's amazing that I mention Hemglas vans in the Ice Cream Van thread and this thread gets its first reply as a result! Great stuff!

    Didn't know that they were still going in 1999-2000 - I am certain that they disappeared from Nottingham after 1992.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    manchester
    Posts
    617

    Default Re: Hemglas Vans

    I dont ever remember these in the northwest, i expect there will be a law now preventing people driving round and peddling there goods from a van, i believe greengrocers and fishmongers could sometimes be found doing this but again i dont remember them.
    The meek shall inherit the earth

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