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No. 107, High Street

This shop was affected by the High Street fire of 27th December, 1897, but did not require complete demolition. It was repaired and refurbished by Home & Colonial Stores and did not have to be rebuilt to the set-back line established by the Borough Council. Consequently, it stands forward of No. 108. The shop has a good frontage and had access to a long narrow yard with outbuildings.

c1822 (John Webster)

John Webster, a leather currier was listed on the High Street in Pigot’s directory for 1822. There were no numbers in that directory, but it may well be that he was at 107 because his son Luke was here from at least 1830 (Pigot).

 c1830 – c1875 (Luke Webster)

Luke Webster followed his father John into business as a currier and leather cutter, and was first recorded here in Pigot’s directory for 1830.

He was born in about 1806, and was baptised at St. Margaret’s church, Lynn on 12th March that year. His mother’s name was Ann. On 30th January, 1830, Luke married Jane Sumter in Norwich. They had six children:-

1) Louisa (b. 1831 – d. 1897, aged 66). 2) Jane (b. 1833 – d. 1910, aged 76). 3) Emma (b. c1835 – m. John Sherwood Gaine on 09/04/1869 – d. 1897, aged 61). 4) William (b. 1836 – d. 1842, aged 6). 5) Jonathan George – see below (b. 1842 – d. 1892, aged 50). 6) William, a doctor (b. c1846 – d. 1919, aged 73).

The Webster family ran the business here until 1889, when Luke’s son Jonathan retired.

Although the business was not advertised in the newspapers, it was listed in successive directories from 1836 (White) to 1890 (White), inclusive. (Note: Jonathan Webster must have booked the entry for White’s directory before deciding to move out in late 1889).

On 24th March 1866, a notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser concerning the estate and effects of George Henry Burrell, currier and shoemaker (see No. 22, High Street). In a formal deed that was the equivalent of a bankruptcy, George Burrell conveyed all of his estate and effects to Luke Webster and another Lynn currier, John Gower Saunders. They were to act as trustees to administer the estate for the benefit of John Saunders’ creditors.

Jane Webster died in June 1859, aged 53, and afterwards her two unmarried daughters acted as housekeepers to their widowed father.

By 1875 (Kelly) Luke’s son Jonathan had taken charge of the business. Luke died on 13th May, 1880, aged 74.

After Luke’s death, nobody lived on the premises, and there are no census entries for this address for 1881 to 1911, inclusive.

1880 – 1889 (Jonathan George Webster)

The family business of currier and leather seller was continued by Luke’s son, Jonathan, who was living here with his father and his sisters Louisa and Jane in 1871. The following year, on 26th April, Jonathan married Ellen Smith, a farmer’s daughter (b. 1844 in Thorpe St. Peter, Lincolnshire). He and Ellen set up home at 18, London Road, while his father continued to live here.

Jonathan and Ellen had six children:-

1) George William, a bank clerk (b. 1874 – d. 02/02/1953, aged 79). 2) Luke (b. 1875 – d. 25/07/1952, aged 76). 3) Ellen (b. 1876). 4) Frank (b. 1879). 5) Ethel Mary (b. 1880 – m. Jack Bamberg Davenport on 09/07/1921 in Manhattan – d. 03/11/1945, aged 65). 6) Lionel, a dairy farmer (b. 1885).

In addition to his London Road house and the High Street shop, Jonathan had other property interests in the town, and placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser on 13th December, 1884:-

‘ST. MARGARET’S HOUSE, LYNN. TO LET RENT FREE to 25th March, 1885. Apply to J. G. WEBSTER, 107 HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN’.

The business appears to have flourished and it is not clear what prompted Jonathan to retire at the comparatively early age of 47. On 13th July, 1889, he placed this notice in the ‘To Be Sold’ column of the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘107, HIGH STREET, Lynn. The Sale of Mr. Webster’s effects will shortly take place, and all debts owing must be presented at once. J. G. WEBSTER. July 9th, 1889.’

Jonathan Webster may have made sufficient money to afford to stop working, or it may be that he was suffering ill health. He died three years later, on 16th November, 1892, aged 50.

1889 – 1891 (Thomas J. Trivett)

On 7th September, 1889, the following notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘107, HIGH STREET, LYNN. TO LET, excellent Shop & Premises with fixtures and gas complete. Apply 18, London Road, Lynn. J. G. WEBSTER.’

Thomas Trivett took the premises and placed the following advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser on 23rd November, 1889:-

‘THOS. J. TRIVETT. Wholesale CURRIER & LEATHER MERCHANT, SADDLERS’, SHOEMAKERS’ & COACH IRONMONGER. Wholesale SADDLE, COLLAR and HARNESS MANUFACTURER, OIL MERCHANT & AGENT. 107, HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN. And at Hunstanton and Dersingham. T. J. T. has manufactured Harness for Yorkshire, Cheshire and Devon, and almost every provincial town in England. Shoemakers and Saddlers supplied with all requisites for the trade at prices equally as low as London Houses.’

Apart from this advertisement, no records for Thomas J. Trivett have been found, and he seems to have been here for a short time only.

1891 – 1894 (Unknown)

The next occupant appears to have been a butcher. On 5th May, 1894, the premises were again offered to let in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘No. 107, HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN. TO BE LET, an excellent Shop and Dwelling House, in the best part of High street, lately occupied by a butcher, and suitable for that or any other business – Apply to W. M. Bennell, Market-place, King’s Lynn’.

1894 – 1898 (Eastman’s Ltd.)

The premises were re-occupied by a butcher, who was here in 1896, when the following notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser on 28th March that year:-

‘No. 107, HIGH STREET, LYNN. To Be Let. The above premises, centrally situated; now occupied by a butcher, but suitable for any business. Immediate possession. Apply to W. M. Bennell, Market Place, King’s Lynn.’

Eastman’s Foreign Meat company had a branch here for a few years at about this date, and it may be that they opened in 1894, when the premises were advertised to let. However there seem to be few records of the business being here, apart from a reference in the reports of the High Street fire of 27th December, 1897. The following extract is from the account of the fire in the Lynn News & County Press for 1st January, 1898:-

‘The shop occupied by Messrs. Eastman Ltd., butchers, the next shop to that occupied as the branch post-office, caught in the upper portion, but the damage caused did not seem to be extensive, the flames being speedily extinguished.’

It may be that the company decided not to re-open after the fire.

c1898 – c1972 (Home & Colonial Stores) (Allied Suppliers)

Home & Colonial Stores were at No. 105, High Street for about four years, from about 1894 until at least 1898. They were fortunate to survive the ravages of the High Street fire in December of that latter year – No. 106 (Hamson Bros.) being almost untouched and No. 107 being the last shop on the west side of the street to be completely unaffected.

The store moved to No. 107 sometime between 1897 and 1900, when it was listed in Kelly’s directory. It seems likely that Eastmans did not re-occupy the premises after the fire and that Home & Colonial moved here in 1898.

The roots of the business lay in Liverpool, where Julius Drew, a tea buyer, opened a shop in 1878, and where he met John Musker, a local grocer. They formed a partnership and moved to London, where they opened their first shop in Edgware Road in 1883. Their vision was to identify a potentially huge market for the establishment of multiple stores, specialising in tea and other groceries. In 1885 they formed the Home & Colonial Trading Association, which sold tea, butter, margarine, sugar, bacon, ham, cheese and eggs. The greatest proportion of their profits was made on the sale of tea and margarine, the latter being made by the Dutch company Antoon Jurgens. The business was a phenomenal success, expanding rapidly across the south of England. In 1888, the business was restructured and Home & Colonial Stores Limited was formed. The principal architect of this restructuring was the solicitor William Slaughter, one of the founding partners of the renowned law firm of Slaughter & May. William’s sister Elizabeth Slaughter had married Julius Drew’s elder brother Reginald George Drew in 1882, and William and Julius had a close personal relationship. William became the first chairman of the new company and this, inter alia, allowed Julius and John to withdraw into semi-retirement.

Under William Slaughter’s chairmanship, the company continued their rapid expansion across the south of England, and then up into Birmingham, Leeds and the north during the 1890s.

Home & Colonial Stores became one of the largest and most influential businesses in the UK food industry. By 1900 there were over 100 stores and this had increased to 500 within three years. Between 1924 and 1931, Home & Colonial merged with other store chains, including Liptons, to form a company with over 3,000 branches, and formed Allied Suppliers to supply the whole group. In the early 1960s, the old title was dropped and the stores were rebranded under the name of Allied Suppliers, although H & C (Retail) retained the name, as did many high street stores, including King’s Lynn’s. Home & Colonial Stores were still at No. 107, High Street in 1966 (Kelly).

In 1972, Allied Suppliers were bought by James Goldsmith’s company, Cavenham Foods. Following further acquisitions, Allied had become part of Argyll Foods and, by 1987, Safeway Ltd.

Julius Charles Hendicott Drewe

Born Julius Charles Hendicott Drew in Pulloxhill, Bedfordshire, on 4th April, 1856, he was later to change his name to Drewe.

His parents were the Rev. George Smith Drew (b. 22/10/1819 in Louth, Lincs. – d. 21/01/1880 in London), and Mary Abelle Peek (b. 1823 in Paris – d. 1880). They had married on 20/05/1845. George and Mary had eight children:-

1) Mary (b. 1848). 2) Reginald George (b. 1848 – m. Elizabeth Slaughter in 1882). 3) Edith (b. 1849). 4) Adamadiah (b. 1850). 5) William Francis, a Staffordshire pottery manager c1881 (b. 1853 – m. Marie Meigh in 1877). 6) Julius Charles – see below (b. 1856 – d. 1931). 7) Anna (b. 1859). 8) Evelyn Sophia (b. 04/04/1862 – m. Charles Pinkerton in 1882/3 – d. 1941, aged 79).

Julius left private school at eighteen and started work as a tea buyer in China. In 1878, aged 21, he opened his first shop in Liverpool. Five years later he moved to London and his business, in partnership with John Musker, expanded rapidly. Within six years, the two of them had become so wealthy that they retired from day-to-day management of the business. In the census for 1891, Julius stated his occupation as ‘living on own means’. He retired completely in 1899.

Julius married Frances Richardson on 26/09/1890 and they had five children:-

1) Adrian Hendicott (b.1891- d. WWI of mustard gas in 1916). 2) Basil (1894-1974). 3) Cedric (1897-1971). 4) Mary / Daisy (1900). 5) Frances (1907-1981).

Julius used his wealth to live in style, at Culverden Castle, Tunbridge Wells, Kent (c1891), and at Wadhurst Hall, Sussex (c1901).

Having retired from direct involvement in running the business, Julius was able to devote his time to researching the Drew family history, a subject that keenly interested him and his brother William. The research he pursued with a genealogist led him to conclude that his family was descended from aristocratic Norman stock and one Drogo de Teigne, the supposed forefather of the Drewes. He then conceived of the idea of building a castle on the home ground of his ancestor near Drewsteignton in Devon, and he purchased land close to the village. Julius then engaged the renowned architect Edwin Lutyens to design a castle. The result was Castle Drogo, the last castle to be built in England and most probably the last private house to be built completely of granite. The foundation stone was laid in 1911. In 1913, Julius added the second ‘e’ to his surname.

Castle Drogo was not completed until 1930, but Julius Drewe had little time to enjoy it because he died on 20th November, 1931, aged 75. Frances died in 1954.

John Musker

John Musker, while less well known than his business partner Julius Drewe, is of particular interest because he had Norfolk links, settling at Shadwell Court (later Shadwell Park), near Thetford, in 1895.

John was born in Bootle, Lancashire, in 1845/6. His parents were James and Mary Musker. James was a joiner, and he and Mary had six children, all born in Bootle:-

1) Martha (b. c1836 – m. Alfred Hilton, a boot and shoe maker, in 1850). 2) Eliza (b. 1838 – m. George Brierly Birtwhistle, a beerhouse keeper, in 1861 – d. 1873, aged 34). 3) James, a stonemason (b. 1843 – d. 1901, aged 58). 4) John – see below (b. 1846 – d. 1926). 5) Mary (b. 1842 – d. 1933, aged 84). 6) Isabella (b. 1848 – d. 1937, aged 87).

After making his fortune in the Home & Colonial Stores business, John Musker’s life followed a rather similar pattern to that of his partner Julius Drewe, in that he became the owner of a large estate to which he retired to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and to indulge in his hobby. In his case the hobby was the expensive one of owning and breeding racehorses. Following his withdrawal from the running of the business, John moved to Gray’s Farm near Bromley in Kent, where he was living in 1891, giving his occupation as ‘farmer’. Then in 1899 he bought Shadwell Court, an elaborate Gothic-style mansion, created for the Buxton family by the architect S. S. Teulon, who transformed the old house which dated back to the mid Eighteenth Century, and which had been altered by both John Soane and Edward Blore. The estate remained in the Musker family until the 1980s, and the stud was well known in racing circles. John’s grandson, Sir Harold John Musker, was a prominent member of the Racehorse Owners’ Association and was chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association from 1968 to 1971.

In 1907, John Musker came to the rescue of Henry Selfridge, who had run out of money for his great Oxford Street store. John Musker was happy to invest in what Selfridge described as ‘London’s first custom-built department store’, and his faith in the American’s project was amply rewarded.

John Musker married Alice Taylor on 19th January, 1870, at St. Stephen the Martyr’s church, West Derby, Liverpool. Alice was the daughter of another Liverpool grocer, Henry Taylor. John and Alice had five children, all but the eldest born in Bootle:-

1) John Henry (b. 1870 in Liverpool – d. 1902, aged 32). 2) Harold Taylor (b. 1873 – m. Margaret Gray McMonies in 1901 – d. 1946, aged 73). 3) Alice Taylor (b. 1875 – m. George Frederick Terry in 1901 – d. 1956, aged 81). 4) Maud (b. 1876 – m. James Rolston Lonsdale, a merchant in 1902 – d. 1962, aged 86). 5) Herbert (b. 1878 – m. Nora Lonsdale Berry in 1905 – d. 1947, aged 68).

The family enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. Harold Taylor Musker was a passenger to America on the Cunard liner RMS Campania on its maiden voyage on 22nd April 1893. She was the largest and fastest passenger liner afloat and crossed the Atlantic in less than six days. On her second voyage she won the Blue Riband for the fastest crossing.

The last listing for Home & Colonial Stores at this address is in 1970/1 (Yates).

1973 (Décor-Fare)

The wallpaper merchants, Décor-Fare were her in 1973 (Kelly).