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No. 1, High Street.

The premises on the corner of High Street and Saturday Market Place were in use as a single unit as No. 1 High Street until being combined with No. 2 by John Thew in about 1839.

In 1871, Thew & Son, now under the control of John Dyker Thew, expanded into Nos. 3 and 4, High Street, occupying the whole corner block from No. 1 to No. 4 until 1923 when they moved into new purpose-built buildings in Purfleet Street. After that date the premises were split into four individual shop units once more.

(See separate accounts for Thew & Son at both Nos. 1 -2 and Nos 1 – 4, High Street).

c1836 – 1839 (Edward Parlett)

White’s Directory for 1836 lists Edward Parlett, a plumber, glazier and painter, at this address, and he was still here in 1839 (Pigot).

Born in Lynn in about 1801, Edward was the son of William and Sarah Parlett. He married Maria Charlotte Worby (b. c1796 in Carbrooke) on 24th November, 1829, but she died in Watton in July, 1833, aged 37.

Edward married Sarah Garland in Runton on 16th June, 1836, and they had three children:-

1) Edward William – an organist – (b. 1837 – m. Lydia Rebecca Burrage in 1856). 2) Sarah Ann (b. 1839 – d. 06/04/1840, aged eight months). 3) John Garland – a house painter – (b. 16/09/1843 – m. Sophia Coker in 1869 – d. 1886, aged 43).

In 1838/9, Edward Parlett  ran into financial difficulties and was declared bankrupt, the following notice appearing in the Norfolk Chronicle on Saturday 16th February, 1839:-

‘The Court of Relief of Insolvent Debtors. The following Prisoners, whose Estates and Effects have been vested in the Provisional Assignee by order of the Court, have filed their Schedules, are ordered to be brought up before a Commissioner on Circuit to be dealt with according to the Statute at the Borough Gaol of King’s Lynn in the County of Norfolk, on the ninth day of March next, at the hour of ten in the morning precisely:

EDWARD PARLETT, late of No. 1, High Street, King’s Lynn, in the County of Norfolk, formerly of Watton, in the same County, Plumber, Glazier, Paper Hanger, and Decorative Painter.’

Edward Parlett moved out of No. 1, High Street, and in 1841was living in one of the yards near here, with his wife Sarah (b. Lynn c1803) and their son Edward William (born Lynn in1837).

In 1846 (Kelly), Edward Parlett was listed at No. 95, High Street. The family had moved to No. 38 New Conduit Street by 1851 and were living in Norwich in 1861. Their elder son Edward became an organist and their younger son John (born Lynn c1844) followed his father’s trade.

Edward and Sarah returned to Lynn and were living in Purfleet Street in 1871.

Edward died in 1873, aged 70, and Sarah died in 1882/3 aged 79.

c1839 – 1923 (Messrs. Thew & Son)

From about 1839, No. 1 had been incorporated into the premises of Messrs Thew & Son, printers and publishers of the Lynn Advertiser, at first with just No. 2 and then later, from 1871, with Nos. 2 to 4.

No. 1 became a separate shop unit again after the sale of the premises occupied by Thew & Son and the Lynn Advertiser at Nos. 1 – 4 in 1923.

(See separate accounts for Thew & Son at both Nos. 1 -2 and Nos 1 – 4, High Street).

1925 – 1926 (William Walton Lowe)

On 7th May 1924, the premises formerly occupied by Messrs. Thew & Son at Nos. 1-4 were sold to Ernest Smith who converted them into separate shops with offices on the upper floors. He applied for permission to alter the front of No. 1, High Street in July, 1924.

The first record of anyone trading at No. 1 after Thews had moved out comes from Kelly’s Directory for 1925, with the listing of William Walton Hope, a grocer, at this address. However, this seems to be an error because in a Lynn Bankruptcy Court report in 1926. William Walton Lowe, a fruit grower from Walpole St Andrew, was reported as having opened a general store here on 7th March 1925. This venture was doomed to failure right from the start because he was already heavily in debt from his fruit growing concern at Walpole. To start up his High Street business he went further into debt, borrowing £50 from a friend as working capital. The bankruptcy hearing concluded on 13th May, 1926.

William was the son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Lowe (née Walton – born c1835 in Lynn) and was born in Lynn in 1862/3. Nathaniel (born 1837) was a Lynn corn merchant and another of his sons was William’s younger brother Walter Horace Lowe who had an ironmongery business at No. 5 High Street from 1889-1900. Nathaniel married Elizabeth Walton on 9th November, 1849 at St. Margaret’s church, and they had seven children, all born in Lynn:-

1) John Green – hotel caretaker in 1901 – (b. 1860 – m. Elizabeth Hannah Hackett Darnill in 1903 – d. 1937, aged 77). 2) William Walton – see below – (b. 1863 – m. Emma Jane Crawford in 1890 – d. 1941, aged 77). 3) Walter Horace – see No. 5, High Street – (b. 18/07/1865 – m. Annie Mary Brown on 10/06/1894 – d. 20/04/1949, aged 84). 4) Nathan (b. 1868 – m. Jane Ormiston in 1897 – d. 1946, aged 78). 5) Bessie Sophia W. (b. 1870 – m. Robert Ives in 1901 – d. 1956, aged 85). 6) Edmund Green – corn trade manager – (b. 1872 – m. Laura Agnes Ollett in 1898 – d. 1937, aged 65). 7) Eccles – a corn & feed merchant – (b. 1875 – m. Mary Jane Walpole in 1900 – d. 1918, aged 41).

William Lowe became a draper’s apprentice in Lynn and later ran a drapery and general stores in Walpole St. Andrew for some years before turning to fruit growing and to his ill-fated venture at No. 1 High Street.

William Lowe married Emma Jane Crawford (b. Lynn c1868) (known as Elsie) in 1889/90 in Lynn. They had two sons:-

1) Percy Walton Crawford – a railway clerk in 1911 – (b. 1890/1). 2) Reginald William John (Jimmy) – an assistant in his father’s grocery shop in 1911 – (b. 1893/4 – d. 13/12/1917, aged 23).

Reginald Lowe, known as Jimmy to his family, fought in WWI with the Machine Gun Corps, and was wounded. He was taken to the Northumberland War Hospital in Gosforth, where he died on 13th December, 1917, aged 23.

William Walton Lowe died in 1944 at the age of 81.

Emma Lowe died on 30th November, 1946, aged 84.

c1926-1929 (Gemmell & Co.)

For the next two years or so, the shop was occupied by Gemmell & Co., clothiers. They had been at No. 119, High Street from about 1890 to about 1920 but moved to No. 5 for a short time and then to No.1.

The drapery business of Gemmell & Co. was founded by George Gemmell at No. 119, High Street in 1889, and remained there until about 1916. George appears to have retired from business in about 1917, and the business was continued by his sons Duncan and Arthur under the name of Gemmell & Co.

George Gemmell died in Lynn in 1928 at the age of 71 and the business seems to have been closed that year.

More details of George Gemmell, his family and his business will be found at No. 119.

 c1929-c1936 (Smith Brothers)

After Gemmell & Co. had vacated No. 1 High Street, the owners of the property, Ernest and Alfred Smith, took possession and opened a tobacconist’s and confectioner’s shop, under the name of Smith Brothers. The business continued here until the Second World War.

 Other businesses c1926 – c1938/9

The corner premises became known for a time as Smith’s Chambers, with a number of offices being let on the two upper floors. In Kelly’s Directory for 1930/31, five occupiers are listed: the Kleen-e-ze Brush Co Ltd., the Prudential Assurance Co Ltd., (E. Newton District Superintendent), Gemmell & Co, clothiers, the United Automobile Services Ltd., and Smith Bros., tobacconists. The directory does not indicate on which floor each business was located. In the directory for 1933, Smith Bros., confectioners, are listed at No. 1. They were still here in 1937 but, in addition, the On-the-Square Library Ltd., a circulating library, was listed here and at 102, Norfolk Street.

Those here in 1938/9 (Kelly), were; Royal London Mutual, Insurance Society Ltd., (W. Fear, district supt.), Kleen-e-ze Brush Co., Scientific Poultry Breeders Association Supplies Ltd., together with the On-The-Square Library ltd., and Smith Bros, jewellers.

c1951 – c1974 (A. Smith)

No directories were published during the war years.

In 1951, A. Smith, jeweller, is listed, along with Donald E. Williamson who was living at a flat on the premises. On the upper floors were the West Norfolk Combined Area Probation Office (A. B. Richards & Miss L. Ellison, probation officers.), and the area office of the Norfolk County Council Children’s Department (Miss E. Williams, children’s officer.)

The business of Alfred Smith, jeweller, was being carried on by his son Percy, who retained his father’s initial in the shop name. More about Alfred Smith, his business and his family, will be found at No. 98, High Street.

In 1974 (Kelly) A. Smith (jeweller) is listed at No. 1, and Norfolk Probation Service at No. 1a.

c1974 – 2017 (High Street News)

2017 – (Smiths the Bakers)

On Tuesday 17th October, 2017, the mayor of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, Carol Bower, formally opened a branch shop of Smiths the Bakers. Director Sue Cobb can trace her family’s bread-making roots to the Second World War and her ancestors started the current business in 1971. They have a bakery at Hardwick and another shop in London Road. Smiths the Bakers received a Royal Warrant in 1990 and supplies bread to Sandringham House. The shop sells homemade bread, cakes and sandwiches and locally sourced jam, chutney and honey. They also make individually decorated cakes for special occasions.