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123, High Street

This is the large property that stands on the corner of High Street and the Saturday Market Place.

Over the years it has been extensively altered, incorporating smaller properties, including a barber’s shop and a cobbler’s when major work was undertaken in 1928.

For very many years it was known as ‘The Restaurant’.

For about 33 years the business was run by Lizzie Wenn and in advertisements from 1892 it was referred to as ‘Mrs. Wenn’s Restaurant’. Her husband James held the licence for thirteen years until his death but he was an ironmonger and it was Lizzie who ran the restaurant.

When Lizzie Wenn retired in about 1908, the management took the name of ‘Wenn’s Successors’. Certainly by that date the name of ‘Wenn’s Hotel’ had appeared on the façade, but it was not until 1961 that it was used on the licence.

1830 (William Jackman)

Confectioner William Jackman was listed here in 1830 (Pigot).

He does not appear in the records after that date and may have died between 1830 and 1837. He had help in running the confectionery business from at least one of his siblings, Mary Jackman (b. c1802 in Gayton), and she looked after his children after his death.

 c1836 – 1852 (William Parlett)

White’s Directory for 1836 lists William Parlett, a confectioner, at this address. He was also listed as a chemist and druggist at Saturday Market Place. His chemist’s shop faced St. Margaret’s Church, and the confectionery and restaurant part of the business, run by his wife, extended round the corner into High Street.

He had been born in Lynn in about 1792 and was baptised at St. Margaret’s church on 28th March 1793. His parents were William and Elizabeth Parlett, and his father was a draper on the High Street c1802 and 1806 (Poll Book).

On 27th November, 1834, William married Mary Jackman at St. Nicholas Chapel in Lynn. William and Mary had one child, William Thomas (b. c1836 – d. 1859, aged about 23). The family were recorded at the premises in 1841, and included William Jackman’s daughters Mary Alice (b. c1826 – m. Edwin Orfeur Johnson in 1851), and Margaret (b. c1831 – m. Edward Alabaster in 1853 – d. 11/08/1866, aged about 35).

On 2nd January 1844 Mary Parlett placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘123 High Street, Lynn. Mrs. PARLETT begs to return her sincere thanks to her Friends and the Public, for the liberal support she has hitherto received, and respectfully invites their attention to her annual show of THELFTH CAKES, the quality of which, having in former years obtained great celebrity, she looks forward with confidence to secure that kind patronage it is her study to deserve. N.B. A choice supply of Foreign Fruit constantly on sale.’

William and Mary Parlett ran their businesses from here until 1852, when they moved to Railway Road. William continued to practice as a chemist until his death on 8th May, 1864, aged about 72.

Within a few weeks of her husband’s death, Mary Parlett died, too, aged about 70.

1852 – c1857 (Ann Webb)

Ann Webb had worked as a confectioner here under Mary Parlett, and she took over from her in 1852. On 8th October, 1853, she placed the following advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘A. WEBB (Late Parlett), No. 123, HIGH STREET, LYNN. Begs to inform her patrons that she has commenced baking Muffins, and would feel happy in receiving orders for the same, when required. She also takes this opportunity of stating that she will receive Foreign Fruits of the finest quality as they arrive in season.’

Ann had been born in Swaffham in about 1831, and she came to Lynn with her brother William (b. c1834) who became an apprentice chemist under William Parlett.

In 1856, Ann married Robert Garwood Whincop (b. c1831 in Great Yarmouth), an upholsterer, and she gave up her work as a confectioner to move with Robert to 32, Norfolk Street.

Ann Whincop died in 1917, aged 86.

1857 – 1861 (Charles Wooldridge)

The next person to take over the business was Charles Wooldridge, who had been born in Bexley Heath, Kent in about 1831. He married Matilda Ann Mayes (b. c1824 in Cromer) in 1850/1 and they were living in Lewisham in 1851, where he was working as a baker assisted by his brother Alfred (b. c1833 in Bexley Heath). They stayed in Lewisham until after the birth of their son William Thomas in 1857 and then came to Lynn. Robert and Matilda had another child Selina Susannah, who was born in Lynn in 1859. Sadly, Matilda died following the birth and the infant died in June 1860.

Charles married Rebecca Piper in 1862, and left Lynn at about the same date. In 1871 he was a baker on the Mile End Road. He later moved to West Ham, where he died in 1905, aged 76.

c1863 – 1876 (Simon Claxton Luckly)

Simon Claxton Luckly was a baker and confectioner with premises at Providence Row in 1854 (White). By 1858 (Kelly) he was at No. 92, High Street, and moved here in about 1863. More details about his family will be found at No. 92.

On 21st October 1876, the following notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘IMPORTANT NOTICE. Valuable Freehold Premises For Sale in LYNN. All those Freehold Premises situated in High Street and the corner of Saturday Market Place, consisting of Large Confectioner’s Shop with plate-glass Front; Bar and Refreshment Rooms, FULL LICENSED for the Sale of Wines, Spirits, etc; commodious Baking Office, Large Oven, etc; together with all the Stock, Fixtures and Fittings, which may be taken at valuation. For price and particulars apply to S. C. LUCKLY on the premises, 123, HIGH STEET, LYNN. Satisfactory reasons for selling.’

Simon Luckly moved to Bristol, where he died in 1906, aged 76.

1876 – 1909 (James Wenn) (Lizzie Wenn)

The purchaser of the premises was James Fiddaman, a well-known local hotelier, who owned and ran his eponymously-named hotel at 11, Norfolk Street, together with a successful wholesale wine and spirits business.

James Fiddaman immediately leased out the premises to James and Lizzie Wenn, who refurbished them throughout before re-opening.

On 14th April 1877, the following notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘THE RESTAURANT, 123, High Street & Saturday Market Place, KING’S LYNN. J. WENN having succeeded to the business lately conducted by Mr. Luckly, begs to state that the premises, which have undergone great improvement, are now open with a new and varied stock of Confectionery, Wines, Spirits, And Other Refreshments of the Best Quality. A Convenient Luncheon Room. SOUPS, SANDWICHES etc. Agent for Henry Kirke White’s celebrated Lincolnshire Star Pork Pies. WEDDING CAKES ARTISTICALLY ORNAMENTED. Wedding Breakfasts, Picnics and Ball Suppers Contracted for and Supplied. Bread and Muffins sent to any part of the town. AGENT for HORNIMAN’S PURE TEA.’

James Wenn was first and foremost an ironmonger, and there is no indication that he became involved in the confectionery and restaurant business until he bought the premises here. Indeed, it appears that this was Lizzie Wenn’s business. In the Lynn Advertiser on1st September, 1883, he advertised his ironmongery business:-

‘JAMES WENN, 123 High Street, King’s Lynn. Implement Manufacturers, Ironmongers and General Commission Agents. Attends Lynn Corn Exchange on Tuesdays. Specimens of Electro-Plated Goods.’

James Wenn had been born in Downham Market in about 1834. His parents were Wardle and Mary Wenn. Wardle was a waterman in 1841 and the family were living in Downham at that date. Wardle and Mary had five children:-

1) Lucy (b. c1826 – m. 22/10/1852 to David Collins, a Lynn butcher – d. 1887, aged 61). 2) Maria (b. c1829). 3) John (b. c1832). 4) Thomas (b. 1833 – m. Harriet Haley Webb in 1861 – d. 1898, aged 65). 5) James – see below (b. c1834 – m. Lizzie Hibbert in 1874 – d. 1889, aged 53).

James worked as an ironmonger in Downham for some years, but was staying in Lynn in 1871, with his sister Emma and her husband David Collins, who ran a butcher’s shop at 21, Norfolk Street.

In 1874 James married Lizzie Hibbert, née Jackson. Lizzie’s parents were William Jackson (b. c1813 in Lincoln, a farmer, and his wife May. James and Lizzie did not have any children.

On 20th January, 1884, James Fiddaman died, but a clause in his will provided for an extension of the lease to the Wenns for a further ten years.

On 13th December 1884 the restaurant side of the business was advertised:-

‘Christmas & New Year Season. James Wenn, THE RESTAURANT 123, HIGH STREET & SATURDAY MARKET PLACE, LYNN, Supplies the best Wines, Spirits, Ales, Stouts, &c., at the Lowest Possible Prices. British and Foreign Cigars – A large stock always to hand. Luncheon Rooms. Confectionary in all its branches.’

Tuesdays, which were market days in the town, were always busy and Wenn’s Restaurant catered for lunches between 12 noon and 4pm ‘available on the shortest notice’.  James Wenn was an agent for Horniman’s Tea.

James Wenn died on 31st August, 1889, aged 53 and his widow Lizzie continued running the restaurant for a further 20 years. She was living on the premises in 1891 with a barmaid and restaurant assistant staying there, too. On 14th December, 1895, Mrs. Wenn placed the following advertisement in the Lynn News:-

‘CHRISTMAS 1895 CHRISTMAS. Mrs. JAMES WENN, The Restaurant, 123, High Street & Saturday Market Place, King’s Lynn, is offering a high-class stock of Brandy, Whiskey, Rum. Gin, Hollands & Liqueurs, Port, Sherry, Champagne, Sparkling Hock, Sparkling Moselle, Claret, British Wines, Burton Ales and Dublin Stout. British and Foreign cigars, etc., A Liberal Discount for Cash. Nottingham Bottled Ale of Splendid Quality. Ratcliffe and Jeffery’s Celebrated Stout. DINING and LUNCHEON ROOMS. Confectionery of every description. Finest French Coffee as in Paris. A Splendid Assortment of Goods suitable for Christmas Presents.’

Lizzie Wenn retired from business in 1909, the following notice appearing in the Lynn Advertiser on 24th June, 1910:-

‘WENN’S SUCCESSORS. The Restaurant, 123, High Street, Lynn. Commodious Luncheon, Dining and Tea Rooms. Also Ladies’ Private Tea Room – Side Entrance. Wines, Spirits, Beers, etc., of the Finest Quality. Agents for Wm. Younger & Co. Ltd’s. Celebrated Scotch Ales. L. Clarke, Manageress.’ 

The next two licensees at Wenn’s were sisters Beatrice Evelyn and Gertrude Mary King. They were daughters of Arthur Robert King, the manager of Lacon, Youell & Kemp’s bank at 65 High Street. Arthur King spent much of his time, when not on duty at the bank, acting as the genial ‘mine host’ at Wenn’s. Indeed it would seem that he had taken a lease of the premises. More about Arthur King and his family may be found at No. 65.

For the last few years of his life, Arthur King lived at Wenn’s and he died there on 17th April, 1923, aged 68.

In January 1923, the premises were sold upon the direction of the surviving trustee of the late James Fiddaman’s estate. The purchaser was Mr. W. R. Sadler who paid £1,275. In September that year the premises were sold again, this time being bought by Mr. Benjamin Culey for £2,350. In 1924, the proprietor was Mr. E. C. Mitchell.

Great changes occurred in 1928, with purchase of the premises by the brewers’ Messrs. Greene King & Sons, who commissioned the Bury St. Edmund’s architects Messrs. Mitchell & Naish, to draw up plans for a complete refurbishment. Two cottages, one of which had been used as a barber’s and the other as a cobblers shop, were taken down and the whole building extended. There had only been three bedrooms in the old Wenn’s and five new ones were added, making for at least some hotel accommodation to justify the name. The ‘snug’, smoke room and lounge bars were on the ground floor at the front, with a large window looking out over the Saturday Market Place corner. The main entrance was from a recessed doorway on the Saturday Market Place frontage, with a hotel entrance alongside giving access to the two upper floors. On the first floor was a large modern kitchen and a big dining hall. Two of the bedrooms and a public sitting room were also at this level. The top floor accommodation comprised the remainder of the bedrooms.

The licensees were Mrs. Mable Evelyn Rush and her husband Preston, who held the licence for some fourteen years. Mabel Rush was the first president of the Lynn Ladies’ Licensed Victuallers’ Association. She moved from Wenn’s to the ‘Crossways Hotel’ in Valingers Road, where she died in January 1940.

Later licensees included:-

Harry Hugh Clarke (1938).

Edgar Leslie Gardner (1951).

Derek Norman Gardner (1952).

Peter Oliver Leech (1956 – 1963) – see No. 101, High Street (Ryder & Crosskill).

Frank Chapman (1963 – 1967).

The premises were offered for sale in January 2013.