115 – 117

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No. 115, 116 & 117 High Street

In early 1925, Nos. 115 to 117 were combined into one large shop by Mrs. Ethel Letzer. She stayed here until 1944 when Richard Shops opened a branch here. They demolished the old buildings in 1959, setting back their new store in line with Nos. 108 to 114.

1925 – 1944 (Ethel Letzer)

In 1925, Ethel Letzer opened her new ladies’ fashion shop here, having moved from No. 120, announcing:-

‘115, 116, 117, High Street, King’s Lynn. ETHEL LETZER Announces the Opening of the above PREMISE on FEBRUARY 14th. Great Window and Saloon Show. COSTUMES, DRESSES, “WOOLIES”, COAT-FROCKS, JUMPERS, COATS. MILLINERY for PRESENT WEAR.’

Ethel Letzer had her own workrooms where she produced new fashions and modified customers’ own dresses. Soon after opening here, she advertised:-

‘REDUCE WAIST and HIPS – with the New Girdle. Don’t torture yourself trying to reduce! Mould your figure to slender, boyish lines quickly – easily – comfortably – with the famous MADAME X REDUCING GIRDLE that makes you look inches thinner the moment you put it on! And takes off 1 to 3 inches in the first week!’

She was the exclusive stockist for ‘Madame X’.

Ethel was born in Sheffield in about 1881 and worked as dressmaker before her marriage to Sydney Henry Letzer in about 1901. Sydney was a motor engineer born in King’s Norton, Warwickshire on 16th October 1876. His great grandfather was Johannes Letzer, born in 1786 in Zierikzee in the Netherlands.

Ethel and Sydney had two children:-

1) Harold Sydney (b. 11/03/1902 in Dersingham, Norfolk – m. Kate Smith in 1928 – d. 12/02/1959, aged 56). 2) Vera Ethelwynn (b. 10/05/1903 – m. George Moulson on 16/06/1927 – d. June 1982 in Sheffield).

The business flourished in spite of the depression but declined during the Second World War, closing in 1944.

Sydney and Ethel retired to Clarendon Road, Sheffield, where he died on Christmas Day 1949, aged 73. Ethel moved to the Heigham Hall Nursing Home in Norwich, where she died on 23rd April, 1950, aged 69.

1944 – 1988 (Richard Shops)

Richard Shops opened a branch here in 1944. Part of the clothes retail giant United Drapery Stores, founded in 1927 by Jack Lyons (see also John Collier at No. 110) there were branches of Richard Shops across the country.

In 1958, Richard Shops became part of the Allders Group and then, following a number of mergers, splits and takeovers, by 1992 was part of Sears plc. Sir Philip Green acquired Sears and transferred Richard Shops to the Arcadia Group in 1999 and all the remaining branches were closed.

The Lynn store had closed by 1988.

 1988 (Tracy’s)