Thursday, 14 August 2014

Hovis Hill

I was recently invited to give a talk in Gillingham in Dorset. This I found a little confusing since there is a Gillingham in Kent; the difference being that the one in Dorset has a hard 'G' whereas Gillingham in Kent is pronounced, 'Jillingham.' 

We stayed overnight in the nearby town of Shaftesbury. Now, I don't have a television, and although I am familiar with Hovis bread, I was not aware of the apparently famous television advertisement of several decades ago wherein a lad pushed a bicycle up a cobbled street. The street is called Gold Hill and in the advert it was supposed to be in Yorkshire, or, at least, somewhere 'up north'. I have since watched the advert on the internet and can confirm that the street still looks as it did then. 

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, scene of the Hovis advert.
Having ingenuously revealed my unworldliness with regard to television ads, let me tentatively display my erudition. Do you remember when the word 'Hovis' always used to be written 'HoVIS', usually with a small dash below the letter 'o'? This dash signalled that a word had been abbreviated. I have seen the same mark in sixteenth century documents. So what did 'HoVIS' originally mean? It was a trade name invented from the Latin phrase, Hominis Vis, meaning 'the force of Man'. I was lousy at Latin in school, but I did study advertising at college.

No comments:

Post a Comment