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117, High Street

No. 117 is a long, narrow- frontage shop. In earlier times there was a yard entrance between this shop and No. 118. For about 20 years, an optician had his consulting rooms and workshop here.

By 1879, Simpson & Co. had combined No. 117 with No. 116. Then, in February 1925, Nos. 115 to 117 were combined into one large shop by Ethel Letzer. The three properties were demolished, set back and redeveloped by Richard Shops in 1959.

 c1830 (Robert Dewson)

Robert Dewson, a brazier and tinplate worker was here in 1830 (Pigot). His parents were Henry and Elizabeth Dewson and he was baptised at St. Margaret’s church on 7th August, 1795. He died in 1840. He may have occupied a workshop at the rear of the premises.

 1828 – 1847 (Judah Hynes)

White’s Directory for 1836 lists John Hynes, an optician, at this address. The Post Office directory for 1846 has the name as John Haynes. It would seem that occasionally Judah Hynes may have used the name John (which was possibly his middle name) and that his family name may have been Hyner – his father being Hynes Hyner (b. c1762).

Judah Hynes is listed as John at High Street, but with no number, in 1830 (Pigot), and was certainly trading in Lynn two years earlier. In the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal for Friday 31st October 1828, the following court report appeared:-

‘At Lynn Borough Sessions: John Wedderburn, a person of gentlemanly exterior, was indicted for stealing a gold-mounted eye glass, from the shop of Judah Hynes, optician. He was found guilty and sentenced to seven years transportation’.

In 1841, Judah Hynes was living here at No. 117 with his wife and their family. Judah was born in Exeter, Devon in about 1792. After coming to Lynn he met and married Elizabeth the daughter of one of the leaders of Lynn’s small Jewish community, Hart Groomsfelt Jones (see No. 10, High Street). Judah and Elizabeth had ten children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Rebecca (b. c1827). 2) Martha (b. c1829 – m. John Henry Cummins in 1857). 3) William – traveller in pictures 1861 – (b. c1831 – m. Elizabeth). 4) Annie (b. c1832). 5) Rachel (b. c1834). 6) Caroline (b. c1835). 7) Ellen (b. c1835). 8) Henry, a marine store dealer with his aunt in Devon 1871 (b. c1836 – d. 1871, aged 35). 9) Catherine (b. c1839). 10) Jane (b. c1839).

An advertisement in the Cambridge Independent Press for Saturday 25th November 1843, confirms that he commenced his business in Lynn in about 1828:-

‘Preservation of Sight. Mr. J. HYNES, Theoretical and Practical Optician, from his Establishment, 117, High Street, Lynn, Respectfully intimates that he has been induced, from the repeated applications for his professional assistance, to make arrangements enabling him to visit Cambridge periodically. Mr. HYNES may be consulted at his apartments, at Mr. C. Freaks’, stationer and bookseller, 6, All Saints’ Passage. From his extensive practice as an OPTICIAN, he is enabled to offer advantages to all persons of defective vision, hitherto unavailable in this country. His celebrated EYE-PRESERVERS, which are all manufactured by competent workmen at his Lynn Establishment, under his inspection, have stood the test of public approval for the last 25 years, and have gained for him testimonials of approbation from members of the faculty, and other scientific persons who have used them. Mr. H. invites an early inspection of his PRESERVERS, (as his stay will be limited), mounted in gold, silver, tortoiseshell, and blue steel frames. Concave, convex, and cataract glasses, to suit all sights. N. B. The Goggles, to prevent the vision from being directed obliquely (commonly called “squinting”) are invented by Mr. Hynes. JUDAH HYNES, Licensed Hawker, No. 908, B.’

In 1847 Judah Hynes suffered financial problems and was declared bankrupt in October that year. He probably left Lynn at or very soon after that date. His daughters Martha and Rebecca were lace workers in Nottingham in 1851, and the former married John Cummins in the city in 1857.

Judah and Elizabeth had settled in Shoreditch by 1861, when he was still working as an optician. Their daughters Annie and Ellen were living with them and working as milliners.

In 1871, Judah and Elizabeth were living in Exeter, where he had a rag store business. They then returned to Shoreditch where they both died, Elizabeth in 1880, aged 86, and Judah in 1881, aged 89.

1848 – c1851 (Henry Roman)

Henry Roman placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser on 12th February, 1848:-

‘117, High Street, Lynn. HENRY ROMAN, Cabinet, Chair, and Sofa Manufacturer, Upholder, etc., etc. Begs respectfully to announce to the Gentry and inhabitants of Lynn and the Vicinity that he has taken the Shop and premises, lately occupied by Mr. Hynes, Optician, where he intends carrying on the above Business in all its various branches, and trusts by strict attention to orders and by using none but well-seasoned materials, combined with strictly economical charges, to meet that share of patronage which it will be his constant endeavour to merit. COFFINS of EVERY DESCRIPTION. February 4th, 1848.’

Henry was the son of Henry and Ann Roman and was baptised on 20th September 1824 at St. Margaret’s church. He moved from Pleasant Row in Lynn, where he was boarding in 1841 to No. 117, High Street. However, he was here for a very short time and was lodging in All Saints Street in 1851.

c1851 – 1879 (Sarah Simpson)

Living here in 1851 was Sarah Simpson, a spinster aged 48, born in Lynn. With her was her widowed mother Elizabeth, born in Gateshead in about 1771, and two of her nieces, Jane and Charlotte Goose, 26 and 21 respectively, both born in Downham Market. In 1846, Sarah had her shop at No. 19, where she was listed as a milliner and straw hat maker in the Nine Counties Directory for that year. Then she moved to No. 14, High Street, where she is listed in Slater’s Directory for 1850. The business must have been moved to this address either later that year or in early 1851, the census being taken on the night of 30th March that year. Sarah Simpson’s business is listed here in White’s Directory for 1854.

By 1861, Sarah had recruited another of her Downham nieces, 27-year-old Sarah Goose. In 1871, Jane, Charlotte and Jane Goose were still assisting their aunt and their sister Clarissa, a dressmaker. Clarissa died in 1873, aged 34.

On 2nd May, 1874, Sarah Simpson placed this advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘MISS SIMPSON has much pleasure in announcing that on and after Monday, May 4th, she will shew a first class stock, including many novelties in the following departments: STRAW, CHIP & FANCY BONNETS, LEGHORN, CHIP & STRAW HATS, MILLINERY, FLOWERS AND FEATHERS, RIBBONS, MUSLINS, Costumes, Jackets, Overskirts, Crinolines, Stays &c., Apprentices wanted’.

The business was listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1875 under ‘Simpson, Sarah (Miss), Milliner, 117, High Street’.

Sarah died in 1878, aged 77, but the shop continued under the Simpson name, as Simpson & Co., with Sarah Goose taking over the reins.

1879 – c1893 (Simpson & Co.) (Sarah Goose) (Jane Goose)

In 1879, the directory entry indicated that the business had expanded into No. 116, High Street. The business was listed in the directory for 1883, and on 20th October that year the following notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘116 & 117, High Street, October, 1883. It gives us great pleasure to inform you that our purchases for the coming season comprise every variety of the LATEST & MOST FASHIONABLE NOVELTIES IN MILLINERY, FELT AND BEAVER HATS, FLOWERS, COSTUMES, JACKETS, MANTLES & DRESSMAKING CARRIED ON BY EXPERIENCED HANDS. THE SHOW ROOMS will reopen TUESDAY, October 25th, when the continuance of your patronage and recommendation, together with the favour of an early visit will oblige. SIMPSON & CO’.

In April, 1889, Jane and Sarah Goose altered No, 116 into a luncheon and tea room, but this does not appear to have been a success. The following year, they withdrew from No. 116, whilst retaining No. 117 as their millinery shop.

The millinery shop is not listed in 1890(White), nor in 1892(Kelly), although in 1891 Jane and Sarah Goose were living at No. 117, still jointly in charge of the millinery business.

Jane Goose died in 1893 at the age of 67, and it may be that the business closed soon after her death.  Sarah died in 1904 at the age of 69.

1897 -1898 (W. H. Taylor)

W. H. Taylor’s shop at No. 108 was destroyed in the fire of 27th, December 1897. He moved his business as printer, stationer, bookseller and post office, to No. 117 while his shop was being rebuilt.

c1900 – 1911 (Adcock & Son)

By 1900 the shop was occupied by Adcock & Son, tobacconists, an advertisement appearing in the Lynn Advertiser on 30th August that year.

This was a Norwich cigar and tobacco manufacturing family business, with local retail outlets. Daniel Adcock (b. Lewisham c1806), founded the business, probably in Clerkenwell in the 1830s. He was married to Bethia Selina Smith at St. Martin Vintry, on 5th March, 1832. Bethia died in 1844, and by the late 1840s Daniel had moved to Norwich. In 1854 (White) his business was listed at Ber Street Gates in the city. He married Melissa Womack Shalders in Norwich in 1849. They were living in West Pottergate Street in 1851, along with two of the children from Daniel’s first marriage:-

1) Theophilus Smith (b. c1835 – d. 1931, aged 81). 2) Isabella Graham (b. 1842).

Daniel and Melissa had five children, all born in Norwich:-

1) Emmeline (b. 1850 – m. Augustus Frederic Scott, an architect, in 1882 – d. 1939, aged 88). 2) Lillian Melissa (b. 1853 – d. 1902, aged 48). 3) Ernest Daniel – see below – (b. 1856 – m. Florence Ilott in 1883 – d. 1936, aged 80). 4) Edward Oberlin, a fruit grower (b. 1862 – m. Elizabeth Lucy Davis in 1884 – d. 1924/5, aged 62. 5) Rosa Melinda (b. 1865/6 – m. Alfred William Clarke in 1906 – d. 1937, aged 71).

Daniel and Melissa moved to Press Lane, Upper Hellesdon, Norwich, where they lived for the rest of their lives.

In 1881, Daniel, who was already 75 years old, had a tobacco manufactory that employed 47 people. His son Ernest was working as a photographer and his younger son Edward was assisting him in the tobacco business. Daniel appears to have continued to manage the company until just before his death on 06/02/1894, aged 88. Melissa died on 06/12/1905, aged 81.

The two sons changed their business interests, Ernest moving into the family business and Edward becoming a fruit grower.

Both brothers lived for some years on or just off the Newmarket Road, Norwich. Their neighbours were some of the wealthiest men in the city, including wool and silk merchants, retired bankers, a stockbroker, an architect and a solicitor. The family were well connected – in 1911, Alfred James Munnings (later Sir Alfred), the artist, was staying with Edward Adcock at his house in Newmarket Road, Norwich.

Adcock & Son flourished as a business under Ernest’s management. In 1896 (Kelly), the business was at No. 1 London Street and Market Place in the centre of the city, with branches at No. 5, Back of the Inns and No. 28 Pottergate. In 1937 (Kelly) it was at Nos. 8 & 10, Exchange Street, Norwich and they had three retail shops at No. 5 Back of the Inns and No. 32 Pottergate in Norwich and at No. 112, High Street, King’s Lynn. They had moved along the street to that address in about 1911.

1911 (C. G. Barrett & Co.)

In February, 1911, William Winkley advertised the premises to let and they were taken by C. G. Barrett & Co.

The business had first appeared on High Street in about 1891, at No. 86, where more details will be found.


In February 1925, Nos. 115 to 117 were joined into one shop by milliner Ethel Letzer. More information is given about her business at the combined address.