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108, High Street

In April, 1861, following the death of the owner Samuel Pridgeon, the premises were sold and a detailed description appeared in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘Old Established Business Premises, HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN. To Be Sold By Auction, by Messrs. Cruso & Son. Lot 1. All that MESSUAGE and SHOP, with the warehouses and premises thereto belonging, and large yard at the back thereof, together with two COTTAGES in the said yard, situate on the West side of High Street, in King’s Lynn, for many years past occupied as a Draper’s shop by Mr. Samuel Pridgeon, deceased, the late owner. Lot 2. All that MESSUAGE, with the outbuildings and premises thereto belonging, and large yard at the back thereof, situate in High Street aforesaid, and adjoining Lot 1, now used as a public-house, and known by the sign of the Red Mount Tavern. The tenant of this lot is under notice to quit at Lady Day. The above property is situate in the best part of High Street and is well suited to retail trade. The cottages at the back of Lot 1. May be readily converted into warehouses or adapted to other purposes required by business.’

Of particular note is the mention of the Red Mount Tavern. There are few references that relate to this public-house, and it is not clear which part of the premises at 107 it occupied.

The living accommodation extended to eight rooms, including the kitchen (1911 census).

A branch of the Post Office was here for several years, but the directory entries do not always include the shop number and the precise dates cannot be given with any certainty. The first mention of a High Street Post Office is in Harrod’s directory for 1863, but with no number or name of the postmaster. The 1868 directory, again by Harrod, gives Mr. Henry Brame as the postmaster, but his identity had not been confirmed. A Henry Brame Bullock (c1821 – 1871), the son of Brame Bullock, grocer at No. 110, High Street, does not fit in with the dates because he had left the town by 1861.

When William Henry Taylor had this shop between 1861 and 1910 he was appointed as a sub-postmaster, the branch post office being accommodated on the premises. This is recorded in directories and in newspaper articles. Running the post office became a family affair, with William’s son Frederick taking over as sub-postmaster in 1910, and William’s daughters becoming post office clerks (1901).

The premises were burnt down in the High Street fire of 27th, December 1897, and W. H. Taylor moved temporarily to No. 117, High Street.

c1818-c1828 (William Read Pridgeon)

A chemist and druggist, William Read Pridgeon, had a shop on High Street between 1818 and 1828. References to him at High Street include Pigot in 1822 and an advertisement in the Norfolk Chronicle on 4th July, 1829. Neither gives a number for his shop. However, he left Lynn in 1828 or 1829, which is when his brother Samuel (see below) moved in at No. 108. There is some likelihood, therefore, that Samuel moved in to his old shop.

William Read Pridgeon was the brother of Samuel Pridgeon (see below) and the uncle of Richard Panton Pridgeon (see No. 101, High Street), and of William Read Pridgeon (see No. 103, High Street). He was born in about 1794 in North Runcton. His parents were Samuel Pridgeon (c1762 – 29/03/1829) and Mary Read (c1761 – 1848). Samuel was a farmer. William married Margaret Adams at St. Peter’s church in Wisbech on 3rd August, 1817.

Having left Lynn, William Read Pridgeon ran a chemist’s shop at Staith Street, Wells for a few years, but by 1838 he had moved to Great Coggeshall in Essex.  While at Wells, William Read Pridgeon had a dispute with a local printer and stationer, Henry Neville that landed him in court. William refused to pay a debt due to Henry Neville and the latter took action to recover the amount due. William Pridgeon took exception to this and made an effigy of Henry Neville, to which he attached a libellous placard and paraded it around the town before setting light to it on the Buttlands. William Pridgeon later apologised to Henry Neville and agreed to pay all his prosecution costs. The court imposed a nominal sentence of a fine of one shilling.

William Read Pridgeon lived in Coggeshall for the rest of his life. Margaret died in 1845, and he died in 1871, aged 76.

c1829 – 1861 (Samuel Pridgeon)

Samuel Pridgeon (c1798 – 1860) was one of two brothers who had High Street businesses in the 1820s and 1830s. He was a linen and woollen draper and was here from at least 1829, when his name is listed as a supplier of hose in the Norfolk Chronicle of 4th July that year. No number is given, but both Pigot’s directory for 1830 and White’s Directory for 1836 list Samuel Pridgeon, a linen and woollen draper at No. 108. His brother was William Read Pridgeon (1794 – 1871) – see above.

Samuel was born in Lynn in about 1798 and did not marry. He lived on the premises until his death on 6th December, 1860, aged about 62. He was living here in 1841 with his niece Mary, born about 1804 in Lynn, and two assistants, Edward Trenowath and Pearson Cadman, he was also in the directories for 1846 and 1850. In 1851 Samuel and his assistants, Edward Trenowath and William Boyce (see No. 17a, High Street), were still living here. There is no entry for this shop number in White’s Directory for 1854.

There does not appear to have been anyone living on the premises in 1861. In January of that year, his stock was advertised for sale by tender, with a closing date of 4th February, and was bought by Edward Trenowath (see No. 109, High Street) who held a sale on the premises later that month. No. 108 was sold by auction at the Duke’s Head Inn on 18th April (see particulars above) and appears to have been bought by William Henry Taylor.

In later years, the Trenowath Brothers were to join this shop with their other premises at Nos. 109 and 110 (see below).

1861 – 1910 (William Henry Taylor)

William Henry Taylor, a printer, stationer, bookbinder and music seller, born in Surrey in about 1830, was here for almost 50 years. His first listing is in Harrod’s Directory for 1863. He also ran the depository of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and was secretary to the Lynn Choral Society (Harrod, 1868).

His father was William Taylor, who was also a printer and publisher, who had premises at No. 13, High Street, where more details of his family may be found.

On 28th January, 1857, William Henry Taylor married Jessy Scott at All Saints church, South Lynn. Jessy had been born in Lynn in about 1824, and her parents were David Scott, a deal porter (b. c1785 in Montgomeryshire – d. 1863), and his wife Margaret (b. c1784 in Durham – d. 1857). The Scott family was living in Checker Street in 1851.

William and Jessy were staying at No. 13, High Street in 1861, and it would appear that he was working as a printer compositor for his father. However, by December of that year William senior had died and William Henry was running his own business at No. 108.

William and Jessy had three children, the first two being twins:-

1) Frederick Scott (b. 1862 – d. 29/08/1930, aged 67). 2) Margaret Ellen (b. 1862 – d. 1927, aged 64). 3) Louisa Maria (b. 1865 – d. 1928, aged 65).

The family were living here in 1871, when William employed one man and two boys. One of William Taylor’s apprentices was Alexander Curson, brother of Bullen Curson (see Nos. 113 and 18, High Street). Having served his apprenticeship, Alexander Curson went on to work for Mr. J. C. Bird (see No. 9, High Street), becoming foreman at Foster & Bird before setting up on his own account.

On 24th August, 1872, W. H. Taylor placed an advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser for sewing machines:-

‘WEIR’S 55s Sewing Machines; Equal to any £10 machine’.

The children never married and the family were all together here in 1881, when William employed three apprentices, and Frederick was working for him as a printer. By that date William had taken on the job of sub-postmaster and he is listed as such in White’s Directory of 1890. There are similar entries in later directories and there seems to have been a sub-post office at No. 108 until at least 1916. In 1891, William’s daughters Margaret and Louisa were assistant book sellers in the shop. On 14th May, 1892, he advertised for an apprentice in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘APPRENTICE wanted for the Printing. No premium. – Apply, W. H. Taylor, High Street Post Office’.

Jessy Taylor died in 1894 at the age of 67.

William was in charge of the High Street Post Office at the time of the second big Jermyn’s fire in December, 1897. The fire spread across Union Lane, setting fire to Mr. Count’s chemist’s shop and the Lynn Advertiser of Saturday 1st January, 1898 describes the subsequent events:-

‘The flames leapt the narrow lane between Messrs. Jermyn and Sons and Mr. Count’s, and the chemist’s shop and premises were soon numbered with the things that have been and are not. Mr. Count and his family made a hurried escape, and a number of valuable papers, including prescriptions, were taken across to the High Street Post Office (Mr. W. H. Taylor’s) for safety by Mr. Taylor’s son. This was a well-meant but mistaken policy, as will be seen a little further on’.

The newspaper account goes on to describe the effects of the fire spreading across High Street to Mr. Taylor’s premises:-

‘After a time, when it appeared that the general work of destruction was over, it was observed that Messrs. W. H. Taylor’s stationers and printer’s shop (where the business of a branch post-office was carried on) was in flames. The fire came bursting through the lower portion of the premises; and when the end wall of Messrs. Trenowath’s premises fell immediately afterwards it was observed that the interior of Mr. Taylor’s was one mass of flame. Before long the building was gutted and now it has altogether disappeared, the part left standing being subsequently demolished. Whether the papers taken to the post-office for Mr. Count were destroyed or lay buried in the ruins, we cannot say. Anyhow, when Mr. Taylor realised the danger in which his own premises stood, he rushed in and secured various packages of postal orders, stamps, etc., to a large value and removed them to a place of safety. Then, apparently, in the general excitement and bewilderment which prevailed, he seems to have forgotten them. The packages were afterwards discovered right away behind the premises, and were taken to the Police Station.

W. H. Taylor immediately found temporary accommodation and placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser on 31st December. 1897:-

‘W. H. TAYLOR, Printer, Bookseller, Stationer, etc., has secured TEMPORARY SHOP ACCOMMODATION at 117, HIGH STREET, when all orders will be carefully attended to. He has also obtained premises which he hopes to have ready in a few days with new type and material for his printing trade. In the meantime he will be able to deal with any orders he may be favoured with. W. H. T. desires, on behalf of himself and family, to take this opportunity of thanking all correspondents for their kind sympathy, as at a time like this it is quite impossible to reply otherwise to the many letters received. A small and inexpensive Dwelling House required, as near High Street as possible. Apply as above.’

The rebuilt property was set back with the others affected by the fire as the Corporation pursued a policy of widening High Street. In Kelly’s Directory for 1900, William Taylor is listed as:-

‘printer, stationer, bookseller, book-binder, artists’ material dealer & stationers’ sundries & depository of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Post Office, 108, High Street’.

In 1901 William and his three children were all working in the business. Frederick was a bookseller and librarian and Margaret and Louisa were both clerks to the sub-postmaster.

William Henry Taylor appears to have continued to run the business beyond the normal retirement age, and was listed here in Kelly’s directory for 1904, when he would have been about 75. He died on 9th November, 1910, aged 81.

 1910 – 1922 (Frederick Scott Taylor)

William’s son Frederick took over the business after his father’s death and placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser on 2nd December, 1910:-

‘F. S. TAYLOR begs to announce that he will carry on the Old-Established Business of his late Father, W. H. TAYLOR, at the old address, 108, High Street, King’s Lynn, and takes this opportunity of thanking the many Customers and Friends who have so faithfully supported him during his long business career in the Town, and solicits the favour of their support in the future, and invites their inspection of and entirely NEW STOCK OF GOODS SUITABLE FOR CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. F. S. TAYLOR, Printer, Bookseller and Stationer, SUB-POST OFFICE, 108, HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN.’

He was listed here in 1912 (Kelly) as:-

‘Frederick Scott Taylor, bookseller & stationer to his Majesty the King, printer, bookbinder, artists’ material & picture postcard dealer; depository of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Post Office, 108, High Street’.

Frederick continued the business for another twelve years although it appears to have been running at a loss in later years. When his father died in 1910, his effects were valued at £1,184 but Frederick left just £42 when he died at Framingham’s Almshouses on 29th August 1930, at the age of 67.

1922 – c1934 (Trenowath Brothers) (Harry Tomson Trenowath)

For some years, the drapery department of Trenowath Brothers business had been at Nos. 109 & 110 High Street, under the management of Tomson Garner Trenowath (b. 1856 – d. 1926). He was still in control when they expanded into No. 108 following the retirement of Frederick Taylor in 1922, but he retired just a year later, leaving his son Harry Tomson Trenowath in charge.

Harry married Doris Bennell, the daughter of Lynn confectioner Frederick William Bennell and his wife Maude, in 1926. Harry and Doris lived at No. 108 High Street before moving into No. 110. They had one daughter, Jillian, born on 22nd May 1930.

More details about the Trenowath Brothers and their families are given under Nos. 109 & 110 and Nos. 73 & 74.

 c1934 – 1936 (Elsie May Andrews)

For a short period of time, this was a pork butcher’s shop, run by Mrs. Elsie May Andrews, wife of Thomas William Andrews, the butcher at Nos. 121 & 122, High Street, where his father Thomas Henry Andrews had the business before him. The Andrews’ ancestry is traced under No. 15, High Street, where Thomas Henry’s father had a business between about 1868 and 1884.

Elsie Andrews’ business is only listed in one directory – Kelly’s for 1934. She may have established it at a slightly earlier date.

In 1936, the premises at 108 were to be sold and on 9th March Thomas and his assistants commenced moving the equipment along the street to his shop at Nos. 121 & 122. Unfortunately, they were ill-equipped to move a large sausage machine and tragically Thomas was crushed to death, as reported by the Lynn News & County Press the following day:-

‘TRAGEDY IN A LYNN SHOP Butcher Crushed By Sausage Machine “IN THE MIDST OF LIFE …” Mr. THOMAS WILLIAM ANDREWS, a well-known Lynn butcher (and son of Mr. Tom Andrews, butcher and farmer, of Lynn), was killed in shocking circumstances shortly before 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon. Mr. Andrews was engaged with several of his assistants in moving a sausage-machine, weighing about half-a-ton, from his wife’s premises, 108, High-st, (which have recently been sold) to his own premises at the south end of the street. In lifting the machine from the counter to a small hand trolley, the floor boarding gave way and Mr. Andrews was crushed and was killed instantly. The machine caught the front and side part of his head, completely fracturing the skull. A hurried summons was sent for the police and two officers were despatched to the scene. When the machine was removed, it was clear that Mr. Andrews was beyond aid. The body was then transferred to the police mortuary. An inquiry will be conducted by the borough coroner tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. The news of Mr. Andrews’ death came as a profound shock to the many people in Lynn who knew and traded with him. He was about 43 years of age and married a Miss Bowman of Downham Market. There are three children of the marriage. Mrs. Andrews, we regret to state, is not in good health and the death of her husband has come as a terrible blow to her.

Details of Thomas and Elsie’s family will be found under Nos. 121 /122, High Street.

 1936 – 1960 (F. Winton-Smith Ltd.)

Another pork butcher opened a shop here later that year. F. Winton-Smith Ltd. was a Cambridge company with branches in other parts of East Anglia.

Frederick Winton Smith had been born in Irchester, Northamptonshire in about 1880. By 1911 he had started a small business at 26, Mill Road, Cambridge, as a pork butcher, and he and his wife Ellen were living there that year. The business expanded quickly and within a few years there were branches across Cambridge, one in Newmarket and another in London. In 1916 he was listed at 73a, Burleigh Street, Cambridge (Kelly). In November 1919, the Mayor of Cambridge formally opened a new head office and bacon-curing factory for the company at Wellington House, East Road, Cambridge.

The King’s Lynn branch had only been open for about three years when WWII started but the business appears to have survived the hardship of the war years, advertising for a shop assistant in April 1942:-

‘F. Winton-Smith Ltd., require a lady for counter work; part-time 8.30am to 1.00pm, or full time; age over 31. Apply, 108, High Street, Lynn.’

Winton-Smith Ltd., were regular advertisers in the local newspapers in the years after the war.

Frederick Winton-Smith was chairman of the Central Cinema (Cambridge) Ltd., and the Playhouse (Cambridge) Ltd. In later years, he lived at 285, Hills Road, Cambridge. He died on 14th October, 1949, at the Evelyn Nursing Home in the city, aged 69.

The business continued trading after his death and was last listed here in 1960 (Kelly). The Lynn branch closed that year, and the company went into voluntary liquidation in 1966, when it was under the chairmanship of D. Winton-Smith.

 1960 – 1970 (Legge & Son Ltd.) (Robin Legge Ltd.)

A branch of the shoe retailers, Legge & Son Ltd., opened here on 11th October, 1960.

The first Legge shop was opened in Ely in 1787. Their second one was established at Hunstanton in 1938. It was decided by managing director Mr. Thomas Legge that it would be a natural link to have a branch at Lynn.

Thomas Christopher R. Legge was born on 16th August 1912 in Ely. His great grandparents were William Legge (b. c1809 – d. 1887) and Mary Ellis (b. c1816 – d. 1877). William ran the family shoe shop in High Street, Ely, where he employed three men and two apprentices in 1851. He and Mary had four children, all born in Ely:-

1) William John, a boot and shoe salesman (b. 1839 m. Eliza Guest in 1865 – d. 03/11/1880 in Eastbourne). 2) Christopher Henry – see below (b. 1840 – d. 1901, aged 61). 3) George, a music teacher (b. 1843 – d. 1910 in Eastbourne, aged 65). 4) Eliza Maud (b. 1849 – d. 17/06/1929, aged 82).

Christopher Henry was Thomas Christopher’s grandfather and he worked as an assistant to his father for many years before taking over the Ely shop from him in about 1875. Christopher Henry married Hannah Jefferson in 1873, and they had six children, all born in Ely:-

1) Anna Mary (b. 1874 – m. Frederick Oliver Sennitt, a poulterer & fishmonger, in 1899 – d. 1923/4, aged 49). 2) William Henry (b. 1875 – d. 24/06/1965, aged 89). 3) George Ellis (b. 1877/8). 4) Jane Eliza (b. 26/11/1879 – m. Ernest John Cross in 1906 – d. 1974/5). 5) Christopher Harold Richard – see below (b. 1882 – d. 1967). 6) Martha Gertrude (b. 1886 – m. Sydney Arthur Cross in 1915/16 – d. 1941, aged 56).

Christopher Henry Legge died in 1901, aged 61, but Christopher Harold did not succeed to the business immediately after his father’s death. Instead, he worked for his mother, Hannah, who was running it in 1911, with her son, then aged 29, as her assistant. Hannah lived on to a great age, but is not clear how long she continued to hold the reins of the business. She died on 11th February 1932, aged 90.

Christopher Harold married Alice M. Palmer in 1911, and they had two children, both born in Ely:-

1) Thomas Christopher R. (b. 1912 – m. Muriel A. Garey in 1939 – d. 1994/5, aged about 82). 2) Geoffrey W. (b. 17/12/1913 – d. 1978, aged about 65.

Geoffrey Legge ran the Ely business with his father, while Thomas moved to Hunstanton to develop the Norfolk branches.

The vision for the King’s Lynn branch was, in Mr. Legge’s words ‘a high class shoe salon catering for people who like tasteful, fashionable footwear of excellent quality’. The design was drawn up by the local architects Messrs. Graham Beakley & Associates. The shop front was partly faced in Italian marble, with white balustrading below the shop window and a balcony above with a white-painted iron railing. The interior décor was principally Wedgewood blue and white with gilt chandeliers and the ceiling was lined with quilted fabric. Tapestry covered couches and a deep red piled carpet completed the luxury look.

Miss Pamela Warren was appointed as the manageress of the new branch, overseen by Mrs. M. Coleman, the buyer and manageress at Hunstanton.

The following advertisement appeared in the Lynn News & Advertiser on 1st January, 1963:-

‘Ladies’ Shoe and Bootee – SALE – ROBIN LEGGE LTD. Commencing High Street, King’s Lynn – Thursday, January 3rd. High Street, Hunstanton – Friday, January 4th. All Shoes from our regular stock of the best branded makes. See Our Windows for Exceptional Bargains.’

The 1960s directories list ‘Legge’ (shoe retailers), and there are no other references to Robin Legge Ltd.

The business had closed by 1970.

1970 – 1973 (Co-operative Cleaners Ltd.)

A branch of the Co-operative Cleaners Ltd., was here between 1970 (Yates) and 1972 (Kelly), but there was no listing for this address in 1973 (Kelly).

2007 (Rolando Hairshare)