This slideshow requires JavaScript.

View all images

10, High Street.

No. 10, High Street had a wide street frontage. The entrance was to the right, where there was also access to the long, narrow Armes’s Yard in which there was a terrace of six small dwellings with three even smaller ones at the end of the yard. These were demolished as part of a slum clearance programme in 1935.

There was a large front display window which joined with a splayed widow by the shop doorway. On the first floor there were two tall sash windows to the front rooms of the living quarters, and a dormer window in the roof gave light to the attic room.

In the first half of the Nineteenth Century, the main occupier was a silversmith / jeweller / clock maker. From about 1860 to 1900, the premises were occupied by a printer and bookseller.

Jermyn & Sons acquired the premises in about 1910 and used the ground floor as an adjunct to their department store at Nos. 12 – 16. They took complete occupation of Nos. 10 and 11 in 1935 and redeveloped the site.

c1836-c1860 (Hart Jones) (Maria Rebecca Jones)

Hart Groomsfelt Jones was born in 1766 in Aldgate, Middlesex, and was living here with his daughter Maria (b. c1820 in Lynn) in both 1841 and 1851.

He had arrived in Lynn by about 1796. On 15th July, 1807, he was registered as a member of the Freemasons at their ‘Lodge of Strict Benevolence, Wisbeach’, and his profession was recorded as that of a jeweller in Lynn.

He had premises on High Street in 1822 when he was listed as a silversmith, jeweller and pawnbroker (Pigot). He may have been at No. 86, High Street, where he was listed in 1830 (Pigot).

By 1836 he had moved here, being listed as a watch and clock maker, silversmith and jeweller, at this address (White).  Also listed as living here was Robert Dexter, a master mariner.

Hart’s parents were German immigrants Moses Abraham ben Isaiah Groomsfeldt (b. 1729 – d. 17/04/1811 in Lynn) and Hannah Hamilberg (b. 1739 – d. 19/02/1814 in Lynn). Moses changed his name to Abraham Jones and moved his jewellery and silversmith’s business to King’s Lynn. Hart was his eldest son and he worked with his father before taking over the business when Abraham died in 1811.

In about 1790, Hart Jones married Rachel Miriam Abraham, and they had nine children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Elizabeth (b. c1796 – d. c1880, aged about 84). 2) John (b. 1797 – d. 18/01/1878’ aged 80). 3) James Isaiah (b. 1798 – m. Julia Lavender – d. 13/02/1870, aged 72). 4) Catherine (b. c1800 – m. Isaiah Levy – d. 26/02/1838, aged about 38). 5) Alfred (b. c1801 – d. 17/08/1882, aged about 81). 6) Julia (b. 1803). 7) Henry (b. c1806). 8) Joel (b. c1806). 9) Maria Rebecca – see below – (b. c1820).

Rachel Jones died in about 1830.

Hart Jones did not have an entry in the Nine Counties Directory for 1846, when John King was listed at No. 10. This would seem to have been an error, because in Slater’s Directory for 1850 he was listed here at No. 10 and John King was at No. 9.

Hart Jones died in 1852, aged about 86, and in September that year his business was advertised for immediate disposal:-


The old-established Business in the above line to be disposed of (immediately), carried on for a series of years by the late Mr. H. Jones.

Enquire No. 10, High Street, Lynn.’

However, the business was continued for a year or two by his daughter Maria, who was listed in White’s Directory for 1854, and who then moved the business to No. 116, High Street and stayed there until 1860. In 1861, Maria, still unmarried aged 45, was living at Douro Street, Lynn, listed as a retired silversmith.

Hart Jones was the leader of the Jewish community in Lynn. However their numbers were declining and it is thought that there were no more than about seven families in 1842 and that they had all but disappeared by 1851. Silversmithing was a very Jewish occupation but the description embraced money-lending, retail, watch and clock repairs, and glass and metal-working. Hart’s brother David Jones may also have started out as a watch retailer but he became a very successful optician in Liverpool. Another brother, Isaiah (1772 – 1856) became a dentist, founding a practice that extended across East Anglia, with branches in Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn, Norwich, Cambridge, Bury St. Edmunds. In later years there was a practice in Southampton. (Ref: Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. Edited by William D. Rubenstein, Michael Jolles, Hilary L. Rubenstein: Palgrave Macmillan.)


c1860-c1900 (John Mack Matsell) (Matsell & Targett)

John Mack Matsell, a printer and bookseller who had been next door at No. 11 between about 1850 and 1860, had moved into No. 10 by 1861.

Born in Lynn in about 1823, he married Louisa Dade Cole in 1848 in London. She had been born in Lynn in about 1824. They were living here with two of their children at the time of the 1861 census. They had five children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Emma Ann (b. 1850 – d. 1854, aged 4). 2) Francis John (b. 1852 – d. 1873, aged 21). 3) Florence Louisa (b. 1853). 4) Harry Arthur (b. 1856 – d. 1857, aged 11 months). 5) Nina Kate (b. 1857).

Tragically, three of the children died very young: Emma Ann (1854), Florence Louisa (1854), and Harry Arthur (1857). Their son Francis entered the business as an apprentice to his father but died aged 21 in 1873.

Louisa may have been badly affected by the loss of her children because she had been committed to the Bethel Hospital in Norwich by 1871. She died there in 1903, aged 80. The business was under the title of Matsell & Targett in Harrod’s Directory of 1868, listed as ‘printers, booksellers, stationers, music sellers, and newsagents.’ John’s business partner was Henry Targett.

Taken on as an apprentice by Matsell & Targett in 1870, was George William Watts, who had been born in Lynn in 1855/6. His father was Henry Watts (c1828-1877/8), a carpenter born in Norwich who married Charlotte Medlock in 1855. Charlotte’s mother, also Charlotte, was born in Writtle, Essex c1803 but had moved to Lynn by 1871 when she was working as a seamstress and living in Paradise Lane. She died in Lynn in 1896 aged 92. George Watts had two siblings: Eleanor Ann (1860), and Walter (1862). Eleanor and Walter both went into service. Eleanor was working as a domestic servant to a solicitor, Mr. Nunn, at the White House, Ryston End, Downham, in 1881 and Walter was working at the Rummer Inn, St. James Street Lynn in a similar capacity that year. George had gone straight from school into apprenticeship with Matsell & Targett. On completion of his apprenticeship, he left to work as a compositor for John Cornelius Bird at No. 9, High Street, where he was foreman between 1876 and 1892. George married Adelaide Eliza Engledow in 1882/3. She had been born in Lynn in 1859. They had nine children but George outlived eight of them. He died in 1933 aged 77. In 1892 he founded Watts & Rowe with Harry Bevis Rowe, the 26-year-old son of William Rowe a Lynn mariner. They had premises on the High Street before moving to St. James’ Road.

In 1881, Henry James Targett, ‘bookseller and master stationer’ was living here. He had been born in Lynn in about 1845 and married Caroline Alice P. Sarel in 1869. She had been born c1844 in Chelmsford. With them in 1881 were their children Harry Sarel, born 1870, Percy Sarel, born 1872, Maggie Sarel, born c1876, and Bertie Marsden, born 1880. Henry and Caroline had two more children, Daisy Sarel, born 1882, and Arthur Sarel, born 1886. Their son Charlie Sarel, born in 1874, died in 1880. The family had been living in St. James Road in 1871. Henry, Caroline and five of their children were still living here at No. 10 in 1891, but Caroline died in 1900, aged 56. Henry married again in 1905/6 at Wandsworth to Alice Emma James.

John Matsell died in 1898, aged 76. The business continued trading for a time under the name of Matsell & Targett but had moved to No. 9, High Street by 1900, being listed there in Kelly’s Directory for that year.

c1900 – c1909 (C. G. Barrett & Co.)

Jermyn & Perry had bought Nos. 10 and 11 by 1900, at which date they were listed in Kelly’s Directory at 10 to 16, High Street. However, they leased these out prior to incorporating them into their shop and other traders were listed at No. 10 for several years.

For about nine years, this was the High Street receiving office for C. G. Barrett & Co.’s Steam Laundry Works at Gaywood. Their office was listed here in Kelly’s Directory for 1900, having moved it from No. 9, where they were listed in 1896. The business had first appeared on High Street in about 1891, at No. 86, where more details will be found.

They were still here in 1909 (letterhead King’s Lynn Museum 26/10/1909) but had moved to No. 117 by May, 1911.

An advertisement to let appeared in the Lynn Advertiser on 15th May, 1911, after Barretts had vacated the premises. A photograph from about this time, shows that Jermyn & Sons had taken over the ground floor shop.

Other uses listed at this date or a little later related to occupiers in other parts of the building.

c1914 (Henry John Palmer)

In 1914, Henry John Palmer was living here and was manager of a boot shop. His son Donald Charles John was baptised at St. Margaret’s church on 16th November 1914.

c1904-c1916 (Thomas Gibson / aka Thomas Borrmann) (Ellen Gibson / aka Ellen Borrmann)

In Kelly’s directory for 1916, Mrs. Ellen Gibson, a bill poster, is listed at No. 10. She would have had premises at the rear of the property which by this date was owned by Jermyns. The family were living at No. 10 when the 1911 census was taken on 2nd April. Her husband Thomas was listed as a bill poster and there was no occupation given against her name. Thomas had been included in the directories for 1904 and 1912 but no number on High Street was given. The family had been living in Armes Yard at the back of No. 10 in 1901 and it may be that the business had been operating from buildings in the yard.

Thomas Gibson was born Thomas Henrick Herman Borrmann in King’s Lynn in 1865/6 (note: there were several different spellings for his names in the various records). It appears that he adopted the Gibson name for business purposes – it was used in local advertisements but not in other records, apart from the 1911 census.

His father was Hermann Henrick Borrmann (b. 1832 in Hamburg, Germany – d. c1871, at sea, aged about 39). Hermann married Sarah Gage in 1862/3 at Lynn. Sarah had been born in Pentney in about 1840, one of the twelve children of cordwainer Thomas Gage (b. c1797 at East Walton) and his wife Frances (b. c1807 at Pentney).

By 1871, Sarah was on her own, recorded in the census as a widow. She was living in Gibson’s yard, in Purfleet Street, just behind No. 97 High Street and was working as a seamstress. Living next door was John Gibson, a widower, after whom the yard took its name at that date. The location of the cottage in which Thomas Borrmann grew up may have been significant when it came to his choosing a business name later in life.

On 22/10/1891 Thomas Borrmann married Ellen Parker (b. c1871 in Lynn) at St. Margaret’s church in Lynn. Ellen was the daughter of  mast, block and pump maker Samuel Parker (born c1829 in Lynn) and Rebecca Jane Shepperson. In 1881 Ellen may have been working for William Dixon, the manager of the Coffee Tavern at No. 98 High Street. Thomas and Ellen had seven children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Hermann Hendrick Samuel (b. 03/11/1892 – m. Florence Gent in 1911 – d. 31/12/1939, aged 47). 2) Dorothy Rebecca A. (b. 1895 – died in infancy). 3) Thomas Wilfred G. (b. 1896). 4) Edward Hendrick William – fought with Durham Light Infantry in WWI – a Lynn shopkeeper – (b.21/04/1899 – m. Ivy May Gotsell in 1920 – d. 1972, aged 73). 5) Hendrick R. D. (b. 1904 – d. 1920, aged 16). 6) Francis Leslie (b. 24/12/1905 – m. Maud Fysh in 1931 – d. 10/01/1973, aged 67). 7) Violet A. A. R. (b. 17/07/1910 – m. Sidney H. Shears in 1934 – d.1972, aged 61).

The last of these, Violet, was registered in the name of Borrman (there was some variation in the spelling) but a few months later all of them were recorded in the 1911 census as having the surname Gibson.

Thomas Borrmann / Gibson died in 1934, aged 68. Ellen died on 30/08/1944, aged 73.

1935 (Jermyn & Sons)

In 1935 Jermyn & Sons demolished the old buildings, along with the dwellings in Armes’s Yard and No. 11, redeveloping the site to provide additional showrooms and a new entrance arcade.