20th July 2001




Jonathan Elvidge, the former Hull telephone engineer who made his fortune as founder of The Gadget Shop, is to have his achievements recognised by the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside.


The 37-year-old businessman is to receive an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration at the university’s awards ceremony at Hull City Hall on Friday 27th July 2001.


The honour comes almost exactly ten years after Mr Elvidge opened his first branch of The Gadget Shop in the Princes Quay shopping complex in Hull.


In ten short years The Gadget Shop has grown to become the UK’s 50th fastest growing private company (Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 Survey 1999) with a turnover of almost £40 million and 38 stores countrywide including a new megastore on London’s Oxford Street.


Mr Elvidge left school before completing his A-levels to become a telephone engineer with the Hull Telephone Department (now Kingston Communications). However, frustrated at the lack of unusual gifts in shops, he opened his first branch of The Gadget Shop in March 1991 without any previous retail experience.


The Gadget Shop employs 500 staff across the group and displays 1,200 products in stores and on the web site (


"This award came as a complete surprise and I’m thrilled that the university has chosen to honour me in this way,” said Mr Elvidge.


“The company’s growth has been phenomenal and we’ve come a long way from my first shop in Hull ten years ago.”


Others who have been honoured by the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside include Michael Parkinson, the astronaut Michael Foale, Lord Rix, Lord Puttnam, John Godber, Maureen Lipman, Baroness Castle and Sir Norman Foster.


Among those receiving honorary awards this year are Mike Maloney, Lincoln-born chief photographer at Mirror Group Newspapers, and Bishop James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool and former Bishop Suffragan of Hull.


For more information contact: Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

University of Lincolnshire & Humberside (tel: 01522 886042)