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Nos. 110 and 110a/b, High Street

The shop was large, with spacious living accommodation above, a rear yard and warehouse. For forty years or more, this was a grocery and wine store. Then for twenty-five years it was a furniture shop. In 1889, the premises were refurbished by Trenowath Brothers and became a drapery store. They also owned No. 109 and the business operated as two departments of the same store.

The fire at Jermyns store directly opposite on Monday 27th December 1897 spread across the street and quickly destroyed Trenowath’s shop.

The buildings were rebuilt and opened again later that year. The design was much admired, and whereas Jermyns’ new store was suffering deterioration and premature failure of the facings by the 1960s, Trenowath’s has survived to this day and still looks very stylish. A datestone above the parapet reads: ‘REBUILT 1898’. Below this the fascia reads, in gold lettering on a red background: ‘THE LYNN DRAPERY EMPORIUM’.

c1822 – 1855 (Brame Bullock)

Brame Bullock, a grocer, was listed at High Street in Pigot’s directory for 1822. He was almost certainly at this address, being listed here in 1830 (Pigot). White’s Directory for 1836 lists him as a grocer, tea dealer and wine and spirit merchant.

He seems to have specialised in the wine and spirit side of the business and stocked a selection of foreign wines. In September 1844 he advertised ‘Ports of various quality’ from 30s per dozen and ‘Sherries direct from Cadiz’ selling from 30s to 36s per dozen bottles. He announced that he was bottling Ports of the 1840 vintage, saying that ‘these wines bear a close affinity to the produce of 1834, with scarcely so much sweetness, and will, in the course of a short time be highly desirable.’

Born in Scole in south Norfolk in about 1790, and baptised at Billingford on 25th May 1794, Brame’s parents were Robert and Elizabeth Debenham Bullock.

Brame lived most of his life in Lynn and married Sarah Ann Cobb there on 29th June, 1818. They had at least six children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Elizabeth, servant to an Army Major in 1851 (b. c1820 – d. 1906, aged 87). 2) Henry Brame, a photographer – see below (b. 1820 – d. 1871, aged 51). 3) Margaret Ann, a teacher in 1871 (b. 1822 – m. John Ebenezer Wakefield in 1861 – d. 1893, aged 71). 4) Frederick, a grocer – see below and No. 100, High Street (b. 1828 – d. 1888, aged 60). 5) Charles, a clergyman in Greenwich in 1881 (b. c1829 – m. Hester Savory in 1866 – d. 1911, aged 82). 6) Edwin, a photographer in 1871 (b. 1833 – m. Sarah Anne Berry in 1858 – d. 1913, aged 79).

Frederick concentrated on the grocery business, while his father continued to run the wine department. Brame was still living at No. 110 in 1861 but he moved to Lansdowne Road, Lambeth, where he died in September 1865, aged 76. Sarah Ann died in July 1864, aged 74.

1855 – c1861 (Frederick Bullock)

Frederick Bullock served his apprenticeship as a grocer in Portsmouth and stayed to work there as an assistant for a few years before moving back to Lynn to take over the family business on his father’s retirement in 1855. While his father continued to run the wine business, Frederick built up the grocery side, advertising in the Lynn News on 1st January 1858:-

‘F. BULLOCK, 110, High Street, Lynn. At the close of another year, begs respectfully to tender his warmest thanks for the very liberal patronage with which he has been honoured, and which to him is a sufficient proof that the system of business that he has adopted is becoming largely appreciated. It is now beginning to be understood that, so far from the London trader possessing any advantage over his country brethren, the reverse is the fact – owing to the enormous expenses attendant upon a town establishment. This is always evident upon a fair comparison of prices of articles of known qualities – other circumstances (such as knowledge of the Markets and command of Capital) being equal. From those who still entertain a doubt upon the subject, F. B. would simply request the favour of a trial, feeling no fear whatever of the result.

His stock consists of; TEAS, selected with the greatest care, from 2s 8d per lb; COFFEES, of the choicest growth, fresh roasted every week, from 1s per lb; SUGARS always on sale at Market Prices, and SPICES of every description. His selection of FOREIGN FRUITS, fancy and otherwise, has this season given unqualified satisfaction. He also invites attention to the largest and best-selected stock of ITALIAN GOODS in the district, with PROVISIONS of the best quality, consisting of Stilton, Cheshire, Gloucester, Edam, and other cheeses, bacon, lard and butters. Walker and Walton’s British wines, fancy biscuits and every other article usually sold by the trade. At the threshold of a new year F. B. most respectfully solicits the attention of families to the above extensive assortment of goods, while to Innkeepers and large consumers he is prepared to offer peculiar advantages. 1st January 1858.’

Frederick Bullock had an arrangement with the confectioner Charles Smith (see No. 50, High Street) for the supply of ginger nuts, advertising on 5th March 1859:-

‘To those who have not already tried them. The Rheims and Paris GINGER NUTS. The immense quantity of the above celebrated GINGER NUTS sold by F. BULLOCK, 110, High Street, Lynn, during the Mart, is a convincing proof that they are – as represented by the maker – the very best ever offered to the public. To ensure a continual and fresh supply, F. Bullock has entered into an arrangement with the maker, Mr. C. SMITH, to have them sent to his establishment regularly twice a week. Price 10d. None are genuine except those purchased at the above establishment, or of the maker at No. 1, Nelson Street.’

By 1868, Frederick Bullock had moved the business to No. 100, High Street.

Henry Brame Bullock

Brame’s son Henry became a photographer and was working from No. 110 for some years. In 1852 he advertised:-

‘The New Photographic Process by the Collodio-iodide of Silver. Mr. H. B. Bullock continues for a limited time to take Portraits by the above process. The advantages offered are A CORRECT LIKENESS, superior in many respects to the Daguerreotype, at about one-fourth its cost, and THE POWER OF MULTIPLYING COPIES, by which from a single sitting of a few moments, and at a trifling additional expense, a whole circle of friends may be supplied. The pictures being on paper, may be coloured and worked up as Miniatures in the highest perfection. Instructions given in the Collodion and Talbotype processes. King’s Lynn, 110, High Street.’

Henry was recorded as a lodger at an address in central Oxford in 1861 and may have been staying there for a short time – possibly in connection with his business. By 1871, at the age of 50, Henry had retired and was living at Burwash in Sussex with his elder sister Elizabeth. He died a year later.

Edwin Bullock

Edwin, the youngest of the children of Brame and Sarah Ann Bullock, was baptised at St. Nicholas in Lynn on 18th December, 1833. He trained as an apprentice to a Lynn watchmaker and was working as such in Pontefract in 1858, the year he married Sarah Anne Berry at St. Dunstan’s in the East in London. In 1861 he and Sarah were living in Knutsford, Cheshire, where he had established himself as a photographer in the High Street. He returned to Lynn a few years later.

In June 1865, Edwin opened a new studio in St. James Street, placing the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC ESTABLISHMENT. St. JAMES STREET, LYNN (Opposite the Old Tower). E. BULLOCK begs to inform the clergy, the gentry and residents of Lynn and its neighbourhood that it is his intention to open as above on Monday, June 5th, when he respectfully solicits their patronage. E. B. has, at great expense, erected a commodious glass house on the most improved principle, replete with every convenience for the accommodation of visitors; and having had considerable experience in some of the leading photographic establishments in London and Manchester, will be able to offer first-class photographs in every branch of the art. PRICES WILL BE STRICTLY MODERATE. It is also his intention to carry on, in conjunction with the above, the WATCH-MAKING and JEWELERY business, and by strict attention and superior workmanship, he trusts to meet with a share of public support.’

In 1871 he was living in St. James Street, Lynn and employing one boy in the business. He later moved his photographic business to Lowestoft, where he died in 1913, aged 79.

c1861 – 1886 (James Green)

One of only a few cabinet makers on the High Street during this period was James Green. One of his brothers was Thomas Green, the haberdasher and outfitter – see Nos. 6, 21, 22 and 44 High Street. Their father was Benjamin Green, a deal porter.

For ten years or more James Green had premises at No. 72, High Street and is listed in White’s Directory of 1854 at that address and was there in 1861. After that date he moved to No.110, and was here in 1871. More details about his family may be found under No. 72, High Street.

On 10th April, 1869, the following notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘Novelties in Furniture. GREEN’S MANUFACTORY. For good taste and superior workmanship and moderate charges. English and Parisian Paper Hangings and Decorations. All the best productions in Window Curtains, Chintzes, Cretonnes, Damask etc. GREEN’S MANUFACTORY, 101, High Street, King’s Lynn.’

The number is clearly wrong in this advertisement and it should have read 110, High Street.

He is listed in both Kelly’s Directory of 1875 and the Post Office Directory 1879, as cabinet maker and upholsterer. At census time in 1881, there were ten Greens living here; James, his second wife, Susannah, five daughters and three sons. James is listed as an upholsterer employing three men and four boys. One son was a carpenter, another was an upholsterer. On 12th November, 1881, he advertised in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘To Parties About to Furnish and the public in general James  Green is now offering a large portion of surplus stock at Greatly Reduced Prices 110, High Street, King’s Lynn’.

Advertising in the Lynn Advertiser on 29th April, 1882, he proclaimed:-

‘PAPER-HANGERS!  PAPER-HANGERS! James Green, 110, High Street, King’s Lynn, Has a large new and varied stock, at very LOW PRICES. Also is now selling a large stock of NEW AND SECOND-HAND FURNITURE (VERY CHEAP)’.

James Green is listed in the Post Office Directory for 1883, but he retired from business in 1886. The following notice had appeared in the Lynn News & County Press towards the end of 1885 and again on 2nd January 1886:-

IMPORTANT NOTICE. The whole stock of the best made furniture of JAMES GREEN, 110, High Street, King’s Lynn, is now being sold to the public at a great reduction in price, as he is Retiring from Business next year.’

However, he was still giving notice that he was ‘retiring next year’ in August 1886.

1886 – (Trenowath Brothers) (Tomson Trenowath) (Harry Trenowath)

The premises were bought by Messrs Trenowath Bros. and at first accommodated Walter Trenowath’s removals and paper hanging business, while his brother Tomson’s drapery shop operated from No. 109 next door, which was their uncle Edward’s old shop. Walter moved his business out in 1889 and the premises were completely refurbished and refitted to suit the requirements of Tomson’s drapery business. Tomson moved in moved here from No. 109 in March, 1889.

Details of the Trenowath Brothers’ partnership are given at No. 109, High Street, and more details of Walter Trenowath, his side of the business and his family, will be found at Nos. 73 & 74, High Street.

In 1891, Tomson was living on the premises here at 110, High Street, with his wife Ada and their young son Willy. Tomson Garner Trenowath had married Ada Edith Woods (b. 1867 in Hornsey, London) at Kensington in 1890. They had seven children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Willy (b. 1890 – d. 12th August 1915). 2) John Garner (b. 05/05/1892 – m. Ruth Charlotte Chase in 1927 – d. 1975). 3) Dorothy Maud (b. 26/06/1894 – m. Archibald G. Facer in 1920 – d. 1977, aged 83). 4. Harry Tomson – see below (b. 1895/6 – m. Doris L. Bennell in 1926 – d. 1962, aged 65). 5) Frederick – one of twins (b. 1899 – d. 1966 in New Zealand). 6) Albert – one of twins (b. 1899 – died in infancy). 7) Constance Edith (b. 06/02/1903 – d. 1993, aged 90).

Tomson had started out as a draper at No. 144 Norfolk Street before moving to the High Street premises.

There were few advertisements for Tomson Trenowath’s drapery business but Walter’s advertisements, under the name of Trenowath Brothers, usually included a mention of the drapery department.

On Monday December 27th, 1897, a huge fire broke out at Jermyn & Perry’s large drapery store on the other side of High Street, spreading quickly to Jermyn & Sons furniture department directly opposite Trenowaths. When the whole front of Jermyn’s two stores fell into the road, the fire began to ignite the buildings opposite. Before long, Messrs Trenowaths’ drapery shops at 109 and 110 had also been razed to the ground. Next to Trenowaths, at No. 108, was W. H. Taylor’s stationer’s and printer’s shop, where he also ran a sub-post office, and this burnt down too.

Within two days of the fire Trenowath Brothers’ drapery business was operating again from temporary premises at No. 36 High Street, the furniture side having previously moved into Nos. 73 & 74 High Street, opposite to Norfolk Street.  After the fire, Tomson’s heavy drapery, including curtains and towelling, were sold from Walter’s shop.

The burnt-out properties were rebuilt quickly, opening in September, 1898. However, the Town Council imposed a building line that set the new shops back about seven feet. Tomson Trenowath was not satisfied with the compensation offered by the Council and demanded that a value be established by the appointment of an arbitrator. The rebuilt shop carried the words ‘THE LYNN DRAPERY EMPORIUM’ in gold lettering on a red background on a fascia at parapet level, above which was a datestone reading ‘REBUILT 1898’.

The design of the new premises was a handsome addition to the High Street, being much admired by local people and visitors alike. Following the rebuilding, a blank wall was built on the gable between Nos. 108 and 107. Trenowath Bros. negotiated a licence from the Council to use this wall for advertising purposes (illus. right). This would indicate that Trenowaths still owned No. 108, although they were not occupying it at that time. In Kelly’s Directory for 1900, the business is listed as:-

‘TRENOWATH BROTHERS (By Royal Appointment), general drapers, dress and mantle makers, costumiers, milliners, hosiers, glovers &c., & ladies’ outfitters. The Emporium, 109 & 110, High Street.’

Tomson Trenowath had planned for his eldest son, Willy, born in 1890, to take over the drapery store. Willy was sent to train at Boning Brothers drapery store in King Street, Great Yarmouth and then to Peter Jones in London. He was ready to take over the drapery store when the First World War broke out. Willy and his brothers John Garner (Jack) (born 1892) and Harry Tomson (born 1896) enlisted but tragically Willy was killed at Gallipoli in 1915. Jack would have been next in line to take over from his father. He was a trained railway engine fitter with no interest in the drapery business. He spent some time sheep farming in New Zealand. However he did become a financial partner with Harry. The youngest son, Frederick (born1899), emigrated to New Zealand and did not return, even after his father’s death in 1926. This left Harry, still recovering from his traumatic experiences in the Great War, including the death of his brother, to take over the day-to-day running of the drapery store on his own. Like many businesses in the town at this time, Trenowaths was struggling to survive, but this was exacerbated by Tomson’s inability to recover from the loss of his eldest son Willy and his consequent loss of interest in the business.

Harry Trenowath gradually built up the ailing business, eventually expanding into No. 108. The first time that ‘The Emporium’ was advertised at Nos. 108 to 110 was sometime between March and September 1922. However, his father Tomson stayed on as nominal head of the business, and continued living at No. 110. It was not until 1923, a year after his brother Walter had died, that Tomson

retired from managing the business and he did not move out of the house at No. 110 until 1925. He lived at ‘Trelyn’, Nursery Lane, South Wootton for the last few months of his life and died on 18th April 1926, aged 70.

In Kelly’s Directory for 1928, the listing is in Tomson’s name, rather than that of Trenowath Brothers (although by the date of publication, Tomson had died and Harry was in sole charge).

Harry married Doris Louise Bennell, the daughter of Lynn confectioner Frederick William Bennell (see No. 114, High Street) 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 (b. 22/05/1930 – m. Edward Robert Hitchcock in 1953).

Harry Trenowath took on the task of turning the drapery business around following its decline during and after the Great War. Although his elder brother Jack was a partner in the business he played no part in the day-to-day management. Turning the business back into profit was made doubly difficult as the Great Depression took hold in the inter-war years. Harry began to advertise the ‘Emporium’ on a regular basis and thereby create a distinctive identity for the drapery half of the Trenowath Brothers’ business.

The business continued at ‘The Emporium’ premises of 108 to 110 High Street until June 1932. Jack decided to go his own way, dissolve the partnership with his brother Harry, and take his share of the capital out of the business. He established a market garden business in South Wootton.

The announcement of the dissolution of the partnership with Jack, and of Harry’s move to Norfolk Street appeared in the Lynn Advertiser on 17th June 1932.

Harry continued in the drapery business but could not afford to stay on in High Street and moved to smaller premises at 146 Norfolk Street. This was the shop which had been James Bycroft’s ironmongery business, taken on by Arthur Trenowath when the former retired. The premises had been vacated by Arthur after the Norfolk Street fire of 1896. It may be that Arthur, or Trenowath Brothers, retained ownership of these premises and that Harry was able to lease them.

Harry and Doris lived at 124, Gaywood Road, Lynn in later years. Harry died on 9th February, 1962, aged 65. Doris married Frank Harold Hatton in 1965, and died in December 1992, aged 89.

1932 – 1953 (Fifty Shilling Tailors)

The Fifty Shilling Tailors opened a branch here in 1932. The retail chain was a part of Prices Tailors Ltd., founded by Henry (later Sir Henry) Price.

Born in Leeds in 1877, Henry Philip Price started work in a clothing shop aged 12, earning just 2/6 (12½ pence) a week. He was apprenticed as a hosier and a tailor and became the manager of the Grand Clothing Hall in Keighley, Yorkshire, at the age of 19.

In 1899 at Keighley, Henry married Annie Elizabeth Craggs. Annie had been born in Shoeburyness, Essex in 1878. Her parents were Robert Craggs (b. c1841 in Bucknall, Lincolnshire), a labourer, and his wife Ann (b. c. 1864 in Bath, Somerset). They moved the family to Keighley soon after Annie was born, and she was working alongside her siblings as a spinner in a worsted mill in 1891.  At the time of her marriage, Annie had been working as a seamstress, and she and Henry set up a market stall in the town to sell men’s clothing. For a time, Henry kept his job while operating the market stall but he decided to set up on his own account, establishing Prices Tailors, which became the second biggest retail clothing chain in the world.  At its height, the business had over 500 shops and employed 12,000 people.

In 1907, Henry and Annie opened a shop in the front room of their home in Silsden, a town in the Aire Valley between Keighley and Skipton. At first all they had to sell were a few collars made by Annie, which they displayed prominently at the front of the window, with empty boxes arranged behind them.  The business gradually grew, and a private company was formed in 1919. Henry’s great inspiration was the idea of marketing an everyday suit for the working man at a price that reflected their weekly wage – £2.50, or fifty shillings in old money. The ‘Fifty Shilling Suit’ was launched and proved to be very popular. The key to his success was the utilisation of cost-saving production-line manufacturing processes. A small factory in Kirkstall Road, Leeds was opened in 1923 and greatly extended in the early 1930s. By 1928 there were 74 shops and a public company was formed. In 1931 the chain had grown to 112 shops and this had more than doubled twelve months later. Price Tailors had several other factories.

Henry Price had established a retail company called ‘John Collier’ which in 1932 started trading under the name of the ‘Fifty Shilling Tailors’. Many high streets throughout the country had an FST shop.

Annie Price died in 1936, aged 58, and two years later Sir Henry (he was knighted in 1937) moved to Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, a huge late 16th Century mansion with botanically important gardens. The restoration and management of the house, with its famous gardens created by Sir Gerald Loder (later Lord Wakehurst), became his great passion. He engaged one of the leading antiques dealers, Frank Partridge, to furnish the house and he created a magnificent collection of fine furniture and works of art. The estate was passed to the nation and is owned by the National Trust. The gardens, which extend to some 500 acres, are leased to the Royal Botanical Society, Kew and feature the Millennium Seed Bank.

In 1939, Sir Henry married Eva (Eve) Mary Dickson (b. 20/05/1908 – d. 1993, aged 84) and they were noted for hosting weekend shooting parties. Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was a friend, and Queen Mary and the Duke of Kent visited Wakehurst.  Sir Henry’s London residence was Wilbraham House, off Sloane Square.

In 1953, Price Tailors was acquired by the United Drapery Stores Ltd., (UDS) who changed the retail trading brand to that of another Price company name, ‘John Collier’. Sir Henry Price retired the following year, selling his holding to UDS.

Sir Henry Price died on 12th December, 1963, aged 86, and Lady Price died in 1993, aged 84.

1953 – 1985?  (John Collier)

The Fifty Shilling Tailors brand name was changed to John Collier when UDS took control of the business. UDS was one of the largest British retail empires. It was incorporated in 1927 for the purpose of acquiring five department stores and a credit drapery business. The UDS chairman, Bernard Lyons (b.23/03/1912 – d. 14/04/2008, aged 96) and his brother Jack (later Sir Jack Lyons CBE – but he was stripped of his titles) (b. 01/02/1916 – d. 18/02/2008, aged 82) had developed the business started by their father Samuel, an Orthodox Jew who had emigrated from Poland in the 1880s. The businesses within the huge conglomerate included Richard Shops, Allders of Croydon, Timpson, Alexandre, Brooks Brothers, Peter Pell, Arding & Hobbs, William Whiteley Ltd., the John Myers catalogue company, the John Brundell Credit Company, and Price Tailors Ltd. (John Collier).

A merger between UDS and Montague Burton was proposed in 1967 but this was blocked by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

In 1983 the UDS group was sold to Hanson plc, who sold John Collier to a management buy-out team. Two years later the Burton Group bought John Collier with the intention of closing down their rival, which they did and the name disappeared from the high street.

c1951 – c1957

In 1951 (Kelly) the Cambridge and District Cattle Breeders Ltd., were listed at No. 110b, High Street. They were here in 1954 and 1957 but the address given was 110a (Kelly).