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Nos. 100 and 100½ HIGH STREET

This was a wide-fronted shop, with rear access via a narrow alleyway off Baker Lane. For many years it was in the same freehold ownership as the little shop at No. 99, and the premises were linked, with the building behind No. 99 being used as a large grocery warehouse.

From 1867 through to 1972, this was a grocery store. Charles Barrett had it for 44 years and then it became a branch of David Greig.

The old premises were three storeys in height. The street frontage had huge display windows at the time of Barretts and Greigs. There was a shop entrance towards the left and an entrance that went through to the back and the warehouse on the far right. At first floor level were three large sash windows, and above, at second floor level, were three smaller sash windows. The old premises were demolished and rebuilt in the 1970s.

1830 (Joseph Peeps)

Joseph Peeps, a baker and flour dealer, was at No. 100, High Street in 1830 (Pigot).

Joseph’s father was Thomas Oughton Peeps, a mariner, who had been born in Brancaster, Norfolk, in about 1775. Thomas Peeps came to Lynn and married Mary Dennis in about 1800. They had at least six children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Mary (b. c1802). 2) Joseph – see below (b. c1804 – d. 1858, aged about 54). 3) Henry (b. c1808 – d. 1856). 4) Jemima (b. c1811). 5) Edward (b. c1813 – m. Susanna Smith – d. 1890). 6) Ann (b. 1817 – m.  William Robinson).

Joseph was living with his parents in Bridge Street, Lynn in 1841. He only appears twice in the directories, the second listing being in 1850 (Slater), when he was at Windsor Place, where he was living on his own in 1851. He died in 1858, aged about 54.

 c1836 (John Turpin)

White’s Directory for 1836 lists John Turpen, a hairdresser, at this address. The more usual spelling of his name was Turpin.

His parents were John (b. c1747 – d. c1803) and Martha (b. c1750 – d. c1812) Turpin, who had six children:-

1) William (b. c1771). 2) Mary Ann (b. c1733 – m. Rev. John Bird Culham – d. 1860 in Canada). 3) John (b. 1778 – m. Sarah Westwood in 1802 – d. 1849). 4. Lydia (b. 1779). 5. Thomas (b. 1781 – d. 1784). 6. Mary (b. 1786).

John Turpin jnr. married Sarah Westwood in St. Margaret’s church, Lynn on 18th July, 1802. They had at least two children, both born in Lynn:-

1) John, a hawker in Exeter in 1851 (b. c1817 – m. Elizabeth). 2) Harriet Ann (b. c1821 – m. James Mennie in 1843 – d. 1881, aged 60).

In 1841, John and Sarah Turpin were ‘brethren’ at the Framingham Hospital in Lynn. John died in 1849 and Sarah died in 1860/1.

 c1839 – 1840 (Herbert Godwin)

Herbert Godwin, a hairdresser, was listed here in Pigot’s directory for 1839.

Born in Pinchbeck, Lincolnshire in about 1810, he and his wife Mary had one child, Herbert, who was born in Lynn in 1839. The family left Lynn in 1840, and Herbert took a job as a policeman with the City of London Police. In 1841, the family were living in Cripplegate, London.

In 1842, Herbert was persuaded by a police informer, Thomas James Reynolds, to commit a burglary at a City marine store owned by Mrs. Sarah Lewis. The plot involved Reynolds planting a bag of metal in the shop just before closing time. Godwin then called at Mrs. Lewis’s house and asked if she had purchased any metal from a man that evening. She said that she had not, but Godwin confronted her with the bag hidden behind the counter and promptly arrested her. On the way to the police station, Godwin asked for her keys saying that he would give them to her son. He then went back and entered her house with Reynolds and they took a cloak, timepiece, shawl, apron and other items. Both Godwin and Reynolds were convicted at the Central Criminal Court and sentenced to 15 years transportation.

Godwin was put onto the convict ship ‘Emily’ which sailed from Sheerness on 25th June, 1842, arriving at Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) on 24th November. It is not known what happened to him after his arrival at the convict settlement.

1851 (Henry Spencer)

Henry Spencer, a general fancy dealer, was listed at No. 100½, with his wife Eliza and their son Joseph in the 1851 census. His fancy repository was listed at High Street, but with no number, in Slater’s directory for 1850. His shop may have been elsewhere and this was where he lived. By 1863 (Harrod) his shop was at No. 18½, and in 1865 (Kelly’s Post Office Directory) he was listed at No. 19. More information about him and his business will be found at those addresses.

Henry was born at St. Andrews, Holborn, London, in about 1806. His parents were John and Frances Spencer. His wife Eliza was born in Thorpland, Norfolk, in about 1814. They had two children:-

1) Joseph (b. c1840 in Fetter Lane, London). 2) George – see Nos. 18 & 19, High Street (b. c1842 in London, Middlesex – m. Maria Howston in 1870 – d. 1872, aged 30).

George Spencer joined his father’s business and was working as an assistant at No. 18, High Street, in 1861.

Henry retired from the business and was listed as a ‘proprietor of houses’ in 1871. His wife, Eliza had died a few weeks earlier, on 12th February.

Henry died in 1877, aged 71.

c1841 – 1864 (Samuel Hastings)

Samuel Hastings was a tailor who became a confectioner and toy dealer. In 1841 he was living here with his wife Rosetta and gave his occupation as tailor. The first directory entry for him is in 1846 (Kelly), when he had given up tailoring and taken up the confectionery business.

Born in Pentney in about 1780, Samuel married Rosetta Perry at King’s Lynn on 18th April, 1802. Rosetta had been born in Lynn in about 1786. They had six children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Robert Perry, a tailor & draper in Surrey (b. 1803 – m. Eliza Hastings 26/11/1831 – d. 1894, aged 91). 2) James (b. c1805). 3) Charlotte (b. 1806 – d. 1806-1810). 4) Henry (b. 1809 – d. 1809). 5) Charlotte King (b. 1810 – m. George Russell 14/07/1832). 6. Harriott (b. 1817).

In 1850, Samuel is listed as both a confectioner and toy dealer (Slater).

Samuel and Rosetta had a close relationship with Edward and Mary Knight. Mary was Samuel’s niece, the daughter of his brother Thomas Hastings (b. c1789) and his wife Ann. Edward (b. c1811 in Flushing, Cornwall, was a tailor. He and Sarah were living at Mitre Street, Lambeth, London, when their daughter Sarah Rosetta was born in 1837. The family then moved to Lynn, and were here at No. 100, High Street in 1851. Edward may have been working for another Lynn tailor at that date, and he is not listed in the trade directories until 1863 (Harrod), when he was at 34, New Conduit Street.

Mary Ann Knight (née Hastings) died in Lynn in 1856/7 and Edward married Susan Ann Smith (b. c1827), a governess, in 1858. It would appear that after the death of her mother and her father’s re-marriage, Sarah Knight lived with her grand uncle and aunt, Samuel and Rosetta Hastings. In 1861, Sarah was helping in the business and was listed as Samuel and Rosetta’s granddaughter. She stayed on to live with Rosetta at Queen Street (1871) after Samuel’s death, and married James Littlewood in 1875. Sarah died in 1909, aged 72.

Samuel Hastings is listed in Kelly’s directory for 1865 as a confectioner and toy dealer, but he had died in 1864, aged about 85. Rosetta, with Sarah Knight’s assistance, kept the business going until 1867. Rosetta died in 1873, aged 86.

1863 (R. Buxton) (at No. 100½)

A notice in the Lynn Advertiser on 24th October, 1863 announced:-

‘R. BUXTON, Milliner and Dress Maker, begs to announce to her friends and the public that she has removed from 100, High Street, to No. 2, Railway Road, opposite Market Street, Lynn, where she intends carrying on her business in all its branches, and respectfully solicits their continued support. N.B. – R. B. has just returned from London.’

It would seem that R. Buxton had part of the premises sometimes referred to as No. 100½.

1863 (William Andrews)

An advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser for 14th November, 1863, for William Andrews’s clothing business gives his address as 100 & 101, High Street. More details about his short stay in Lynn will be found at No. 101.

1865 (Joseph Charles Moretti) (aka Guiseppe Cassera Moretti)

The watch, clock and barometer maker and jeweller Joseph Moretti was listed here in 1865 (Kelly). If he traded from this address it could have been for only a very short time because he was facing bankruptcy proceedings at this date and gave up the jewellery business. More details about his family anf business will be found at No. 65 and No. 39, High Street.

1867 – 1877 (Frederick Bullock)

Frederick Bullock opened a grocery shop here in 1867. His first advertisement appeared in the Lynn Advertiser on 11th May that year and extolled the qualities of ‘The Half-Crown Packet’ of Black Tea. He was listed in the directories for 1863 (Harrod) and 1875 (Kelly) and was living here in 1871. Frederick Bullock was born in Lynn in 1827 and was the son of Brame Bullock and his wife Sarah Ann. Brame was a grocer who had the shop at No. 110, High Street for over forty years. More details of the family will be found at that number.

Frederick trained as a grocer at Portsmouth where he was working as an assistant in 1851. Soon after that date, his father Brame retired from business and Frederick returned to Lynn to take over the shop at No. 110. Frederick moved the business along the street to No. 100, probably when his father left Lynn. Harrod’s directory for 1868 lists him at No. 101, High Street but this must be a numbering discrepancy. He never married and had given up the grocery business by 1881, moving to a smallholding in Farringdon, Hampshire, where he died in 1888, aged 60.

1877 – 1921 (Charles Barrett)

Grocer Charles Barrett was here for 44 years, and became one of the best-known residents of Lynn. Sporting a distinctive full beard, he used his image to front a sustained and effective advertising campaign for his business. He named No. 100, High Street ‘Bluntisham House’, after his birthplace in Huntingdonshire.

Charles Barrett was born in 1846, and after leaving school he moved to Lynn, where he was apprenticed to grocer Charles Ibberson snr. at No. 57, High Street. He started his own business at 97, Norfolk Street in about 1871. He placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser on 24th November, 1877:-

‘CHARLES BARRETT, Grocer and Provision Merchant, King’s Lynn, has pleasure in heartily thanking his many friends for their kindness in supporting him during the last six years at 97, Norfolk Street, and at the same time wishes to make known to them the fact that he has purchased the Stock-in-Trade of Mr. F. BULLOCK, 100, High Street, near to the General  Post Office, where he will commence on THURSDAY, the 28th day of NOVEMBER, 1877, with a well selected stock of Teas, Coffees, Spices, Provision and Italian Goods, and intends to sell at such prices as will merit a continuance of patronage so kindly given while in Norfolk Street. P.S. – C. B. will give as heretofore strict and personal attention to his business,’

His parents were farmer William Barrett (b. 02/03/1816 at Downham in the Isle of Ely) and his first wife, Ann Beldam.  William and Ann married in Bluntisham in 1839, and had eight children, all born in Bluntisham:-

1) Margaret (b. 1840 – d. 1859, aged about 19). 2) Joseph, a farm worker (b. 1841 – d. 1862, aged 20). 3) William, proprietor of ‘Mandrake Embrocation’ a patent medicine, in 1891 (b. 1843 – m. Emma – d. 1915, aged 72). 4) Pulsford, a farm worker (b. 1845 – d. 1867, aged 22). 5) Charles – see below (b. 1846 – m. Elizabeth Scott in 1871 – d. 1921, aged 72). 6) Joshua – by 1911 he was the proprietor and sole manufacturer of ‘Mandrake Embrocation’ – (b. 1849/50 – m. Margaret). 7) Millicent Phoebe (b. 1854 – m. George Albert Smith in 1876 – d. 1948, aged 94). 8) Clara Ann (b. 1857 – m. Charles Culpin in 1881 – d. 1894, aged 37).

William’s first wife Ann died in 1878 aged 62. He then married Annie Eliza Mason in 1881 and they had one child, Florence Beatrice (b. 1881 – m. Maurice Lincoln in 1902 – d. 1864, aged 83).

William Barrett died in 1898, aged 82.

In June 1871, Charles Barrett married Elizabeth, the daughter of Isaac Scott, a lighterman. Elizabeth was born in 1847. Charles and Elizabeth had seven children:-

1) Charles Pulsford, a confectioner in 1921 (b. 1873 – m. Elizabeth Lincoln in 1896 – d. 1958/9, aged 85). 2) Elizabeth Edith Scott (b. 1874 – d. 1921, aged 46). 3) Florence Augusta (b. 1878 – m. John Fountaine Stratton in 1903 – d. 1966/7, aged 88). 4) Edward Charles (b. 1879 – killed in the Boer War). 5) Arthur Edwin, auctioneer and valuer (b. 1881). 6) Alfred Charles, grocer at Tower Street in 1922 (b. 1883 – m. Jessy Greeven in 1907). 7) C. L. Barrett, a civil servant in London in 1921.

In May 1881, the freehold of the shop, warehouses and premises in High Street occupied by Charles Barrett, and the adjoining shop occupied by Miss Betsy Symonds (see No. 99), were sold by auction at the Globe Hotel. Charles Barrett bought the properties for £1,340.

On 20th October, 1883, the following advertisement appeared in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘Mr. C. BARRETT, Grocer, 100, High Street, King’s Lynn, agent for G. Thwaites & Co., Market Harborough AESTHETIC or FIXING POWDER. It prevents the colours running when starching or drying and makes them get up clear, bright and beautiful. It brightens and improves faded Colours. Never Wash Coloured Fabrics without Using AESTHETIC’.

In Kelly’s for 1916 the listing is for:-

‘Charles Barrett & Sons., grocers 100, & confectioners 98 High Street & Tower Street’.

It would seem that two of his sons went into the business; Charles P. and Alfred Charles Barrett. Charles jnr. was to take over the confectionary business at No. 98, High Street. Alfred Charles Barrett is listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1922 (the year after Charles Barrett snr. died) as a grocer at 21, Tower Street.

A member of staff for several years was Frederick William Divers (b. 1867 – d. 1940), who left to set up his own grocery business at 7, Blackfriars Street in the 1920s. He retired from business in about 1933, but the name continued for some years after this.

Another long serving member of staff was Henry George Easter (b. 1858 – d. 1943, aged 84). He was Charles Barrett’s clerk from about 1895 until the shop closed. He then went to work for Stratford’s ‘Army and Navy Stores’ in Norfolk Street, where he worked as clerk for twenty years. Like his boss, Charles Barrett, Henry Easter was an active member of the Stepney Baptist Chapel, serving as deacon and church secretary for 20 years.

Charles Barrett was a staunch Liberal and served on the Town Council for three years, from 1891 to 1894. He was a long serving member of the Lynn Board of Guardians, and was vice-chairman for several years until he stepped down in 1920. For almost 50 years he was a deacon of the Stepney Baptist Chapel and for some time served as a Sunday school teacher before resigning to concentrate on visiting the poor and sick of the town. In about 1914 a London grocer’s trade journal announced his death, and his family received many messages of sympathy! On 3rd September, 1884, Charles was a passenger on the 4.45pm train from Lynn to Hunstanton, along with several prominent townsmen, including Henry Plowright and Alfred (later Sir Alfred) Jermyn, when the train was derailed between North Wootton and Wolferton.

Charles Barrett died on 24th January, 1921, aged 72, just short of his golden wedding anniversary. Elizabeth died in 1938, aged 89.

1922 – 1972 (David Greig)

The King’s Lynn branch of David Greig, the tea and provision merchants, opened here on Tuesday, 30th May, 1922, and was listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1929. Their slogan was ‘The Firm that Lowers Prices FIRST’. They continued trading until 1972 when the company was sold.

The business had started in 1870, when Mary Ann, the wife of David Murray Greig, opened a shop at 3, St Mary’s Terrace, High Street, Hornsey in London. David and Mary had come to London from Leslie, Fifeshire in Scotland in 1865, with the intention of emigrating to Australia. However, Mary rather liked living in London and they decided to stay. David was a cabinet maker and he took a job with a firm in Gray’s Inn Road. Their son David was born on 19th March, 1865 and they eventually had five boys and five girls. Mary, who was a good cook, decided to augment the family’s income by selling home-cooked foods. She cooked everything herself, and this included oxtail soup sold as a jelly at 1d. or 2d. per cup, together with rice puddings and roast brisket of beef. Mary was very particular about cleanliness in the preparation of food and this became one of David Greig’s principal selling points as the business expanded.

Mary’s business grew and she started to sell fresh meats, following a customer’s request. Young David, then about ten years old, went to Smithfield Market each day to collect the meat.

David snr. eventually gave up his work and joined Mary in the business. Young David was an assistant at the shop until he was eighteen. He was ambitious and wanted his parents to open other shops, pleading to be taken on as a partner, but his father declined the request and he left to join the staff at John Barker’s Kensington store. In 1888, David jnr. having saved £50, left Barkers and leased a grocer’s shop in Atlantic Road, Brixton. In June, 1889, he married Hannah Susan Deacock (known as Annie). The Deacock family was influential in the establishment of a North London football team – later to become Tottenham Hotspur.

David jnr. started expanding by first creating a large shop by taking in the next door premises. He then bought a second shop across the road, before taking a large unit in a new covered arcade of shops, ‘Electric Avenue’.

By 1902, David Greig had 16 shops and he continued to expand until the outbreak of war in 1918. His son Ross Greig joined the firm, and at the end of the war his second son, Sam also came on board. A new headquarters was built in Waterloo Road, London, being opened in October, 1930. The Second World War brought tragedy, with Sam being killed in action and the Waterloo Road HQ being bombed. His wife died in 1941 and he never really recovered from these shocks, although he continued working until his death on 23rd January, 1952, aged 86. Ross took over as chairman and managing director.

By the late 1960s there were more than 220 David Greig shops across the south of England. In 1972 the business was sold to Fitch Lovell (Key Markets) to pay death duties following the deaths of some of the members of the Greig family. Key Markets was later bought by Gateway, which became Somerfield.

In 1954, Ernest Harold Boxall was appointed as manager of the King’s Lynn branch, and was living at No. 100a in 1957 (Kelly). Known as Ted, he was born in Edmonton in 1913, and his parents were Matthias Boxall (b. c1882 in Cheshunt, Herts.) and Beatrice Law. Matthias was a brass moulder (1911). His name came from his maternal grandfather, Matthias Rachell.

Ted Boxall worked as a young man for David Greig at their Wood Green Road branch in Tottenham and at other stores. He was drafted into the Northamptonshire Regiment in WWII and was injured. He spent time in hospital in Peterborough, where he met a nurse, Faith Stocks. They married in 1944. After his demob at the end of the war, Ted returned to work for David Greig and became the manager of their store at 55, Great Titchfield Street, London, close to Broadcasting House and not far from Oxford Street. In the summer of 1954 Ted was offered the managership of the Lynn branch. The previous manager had left and David Greig’s inspector, Mr. Holmes met the Boxalls, gave them lunch at Ladymans and showed them round the town and the shop. Greigs operated mainly in the south-east and London areas and the branches at Lynn, Peterborough and Lincoln were the furthest north.

At this date, a gentleman’s agreement between David Greig and Lord Sainsbury was still being respected by both companies, by which each avoided opening a competing branch where the other had a shop.

The High Street shop had three wide windows between which were two doors. The fascia bore the name ‘David Greig’ in large letters, with the letter ‘g’ in a distinctive slanting style. On both sides of the name was a thistle emblem. The name also appeared on the plinth below the middle window and over each of the two entrances. To the right of the shop front was the entrance to a passage which gave access to the warehouse and the private quarters.

The counters ran down both sides of the shop and across the back, leaving a large area for customers in the centre. The cashier’s box was located in the middle of the left hand counter, being raised up on a platform. At the back of the shop was an office, containing the safe. Above were two floors of living accommodation, including what, in Victorian times, had been servants’ quarters. It was there that Mrs. Boxall would hang out the weekly washing.

A long passageway ran down the right hand side of the shop and leading off this were staff toilets, and the warehouse, a large walk-in refrigerator and the food preparation area. The warehouse was located at the back of the shop at No. 99a which, as a consequence, was a very small unit.

On one side of the shop was the butchery counter and an area for freshly-prepared sandwiches? On the opposite counter was the usual general provisions, bacon, cheese, butter, eggs and tinned goods. Most goods were sold loose. Sugar was weighed and put into blue bags. Eggs were placed on cardboard trays and stacked in large wooden boxes. Cheeses came in huge, heavy rounds, covered with thick cheesecloth, which became extremely dirty and grimy during storage in the warehouse. But once the cloth was cut off, the cheese was in perfect and tasty condition. It would then be cut to the customers’ requirements with a wire pull on a wooden cheese board.

Butter came in large blocks and was cut into required weights by a wire. Then it would be slapped and patted into shape with a pair of wooden paddles and served up on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Once it was ready for sale, it would be finished off with the imprint of a thistle by means of a wooden mould. The David Greig symbol was the thistle, due to the firm’s Scottish origins.

At Christmastime the turkeys were plucked and dressed and hung in the shop. The floor was covered with sawdust to mop up any dripping blood. Sawdust was indispensable in those days, being used on the warehouse floor, being spread to collect up any grease or dirt, being swept up afterwards.