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17, High Street                         

For over 100 years, No. 17, High was used as a chemist’s shop.

The premises were destroyed in the big High Street fire of 27th December, 1897. The following extract was contained in the account of the fire in the Lynn News and County Press on 1st January, 1898:-

‘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. Next Mr. Pegg’s, then Mr. Curson’s and, finally, Messrs. Cash & Co’s shops were involved in the general ruin. There was a good supply of water, and everything possible was done to prevent the destruction of these various premises; but the fire held on its masterful way, and by half-past nine o’clock, or within two hours of the commencement of the outbreak, they were all destroyed.

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) (No. 108) 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.

c1822 – c1830 John Turner)

John Turner, a silversmith, jeweller, watch and clock maker, was here in 1822 and 1830 (Pigot).

c1836 (John Pinder)

White’s Directory for 1836 lists John Pinder, a tailor and draper, at this address. He had been in Norfolk Street in 1822 and 1830 (Pigot).

John Whitehead Pinder married Mary Ann Hunt in Lynn on 30th January, 1834. However, he appears to have died the following year.

His widow Mary Pinder was living at 5, Victoria Street, Lynn in 1841 when she was working as a schoolmistress. In 1851 she was still at the same address but puts her occupation as ‘formerly dressmaker’.

Mary Pinder died in 1873, aged 76.

c1841-1883 (William Carter Wigg)

Three brothers from East Dereham, John Goddard Wigg jnr., William Carter Wigg and Thomas Carter Wigg, all worked as chemists and druggists in Lynn. Their parents were John Goddard Wigg snr.,(b. c1764) and Maria Carter, who married on 20th December, 1799, and had at least twelve children, all born in East Dereham:-

1) Maria Carter (b. 04/12/1800 – m. Richard Fairbrother on 28/12/1819). 2) John Goddard jnr.–– a grocer and draper at Baxter Row before becoming a chemist and druggist at 3, Saturday Market Place. King’s Lynn (b. 23/11/1803 – m. Elizabeth Fysh Plowright on 25/12/1832 – d. 08/08/1880, aged 76). 3) Hannah (b. 08/12/1805). 4) William Carter – a chemist and druggist here at No. 17, High Street, King’s Lynn (b. 06/12/1808 – m. Mary Ramer on 02/05/1832 and Elizabeth Willis in 1860 – d. 06/10/1893, aged 84). 5) Henry Carter, a printer (b. 20/12/1810 – m. Elizabeth Dack in 1843 – d. 1892 in Victoria, Australia, aged 81). 6) Anne Carter (b. 18/01/1813). 7). Goddard (b. 30/01/1815). 8) Thomas Carter – a chemist and druggist at Saturday Market Place in 1839 (b. 13/06/1817 – m. Eleanor Hart Goskar in 1841 and Emma Maria Spurin in 1884 – d.25/02/1893, aged 75). 9) Elizabeth (b. 29/01/1819 – d. 11/01/1891). 10) Sarah Carter (b. 07/01/1821). 11) Jane Wilkin (b. 07/07/1822 – d. 1851/2). 12) Edwin Carter (b. 06/11/1824).

William and his brother, John Goddard Wigg, had moved to Lynn from Dereham in the early 1830s and set up as chemists and druggists at 3 Saturday Market Place, a large shop with living accommodation. The two brothers are listed together as chemists and druggists in White’s Directory for 1836. William’s middle name came from their grandfather, the Rev John Carter of Mattishall and Dereham, a well-known Congregational Minister.

By 1841, William had left his brother at 3 Saturday Market Place and moved to these premises at 17 High Street, which had a substantial frontage to Union Lane. He was listed in Slater’s Directory for 1850 as a chemist and druggist and also as an agent for the General Insurance Company.

William Wigg’s first wife Mary Ramer was born in Middlesex. They married on 2nd May, 1832, and they had five children:-

1) William Ramer – a seaman second mate (b. 06/09/1833 – d. June 1862 in New South Wales, Australia, aged about 28). 2) Maria Carter (b. 20/01/1835 – d. 1856, aged 21). 3) Henry John – a chemist’s manager in Oxford Street, London (b. 1836 – d. June. 1889, aged 53). 4) Charles James, a grocer / wine merchant’s assistant / tobacconist (b. 1838 – m. Emma Groom on 16/08/1866 – d. 13/03/1904, aged 65). 5) Hannah (b. 1840 – m. William Howorth, a merchant’s clerk, on 03/10/1860).

Mary Wigg died in 1859/60 and in that latter year William married Elizabeth Willis, daughter of Robert Willis, who was the baker and confectioner at No. 112 High Street. Elizabeth had been born in Lynn in about 1832. She and William had two sons, both born in Lynn:-

1) Willis – a civil engineer (b. 1861- m. Jessie Emma Blackie in 1889 – d. 17/10/1950, aged 89). 2) Frank William (b. 1865 – d. 1883, aged 18).

In 1881, aged 72, William was still living here, with his 49 year-old wife and their sons, Willis, aged 19, who was working for his father as a chemist’s assistant, and Frank, aged 15, who was an apprentice engine fitter and turner. Willis was later apprenticed to Lynn’s Borough Surveyor, Enoch George Mawby, and moved with him as his assistant first to York and then to Leicester. Frank was killed at a level crossing on the Dock Railway, Pilot Street, when returning from work at Frederick Savage’s St. Nicholas Iron Works, in 1883.

William Carter Wigg retired in about 1883 and went to live at Dereham Cottage, Extons Road. He died in 1893, aged 84. Elizabeth remained at Dereham Cottage and died in 1912, aged 80.

Willis Wigg married his first cousin once removed, Jessie Emma Blackie, in 1889. She was the daughter of Norfolk Street grocer Robert Blackie (1834-1884). Robert had married Emma, the daughter of John Goddard Wigg at Lynn in 1862. Jessie and Robert’s son Dryden (1875-1955) worked for Barclay’s Bank and its predecessors until he retired as manager of their Dover branch.

John Goddard Wigg jnr., stayed at No. 3, Saturday Market Place for over 30 years. He was well known in the town as an expert in the history and construction of organs, as reported in the Lynn Advertiser of Saturday 8th April 1842:

‘THE CONVERSAZIONE – At a meeting of this society, held on Friday, 31st March, Mr. J. G. Wigg read a paper on the “History and Construction of the Organ”. Public attention being just now directed to this subject by the proposed improvements to the instrument at St. Margaret’s Church, the paper was well timed. The description given of the structure of the organ was extremely clear, and being illustrated by a series of neat and accurate drawings, could not fail of affording instruction to the very attentive audience. Mr. Wigg having just completed the construction of a chamber organ, to which he has devoted the leisure of some years, is well qualified, from his practical knowledge of the subject, for the task he undertook.’

John and his wife (Elizabeth Fysh Plowright) had two daughters, both born in Lynn:-

1) Emma (b. 1838). 2) Catherine (b. 1845/6 – d. 1864, aged 18).

John Goddard Wigg retired from business in about 1865 and moved to 105 London Road, and was appointed a J.P. He died in Lynn in 1880, aged 76.

The third brother to work in Lynn was Thomas Carter. He was staying with William at 3 Saturday Market Place in 1841. Thomas was a chemist at that time and he married Eleanor Hart Goskar at Lynn in 1841. They moved to Swaffham, then to Bury St. Edmunds before going on to live in Lambeth in London, where they were in 1851. They had five children:-

1) Thomas Carter jnr. (b. 1842 in Swaffham – d. 1901, aged 58). 2) Eleanor M. (b. 1843/4 in Bury). 3) William James (b. 1845). 4) Constance E. M. (b. 1866). 5) Emily Florence (b. 1867).

Eleanor Hart Wigg died in 1881, aged 61, and Thomas Carter married Emma Maria Spurin in 1884. By that date he had qualified as a doctor. He died in 1893, aged 75.

His son Thomas Carter Wigg jnr., studied medicine in Brussels, Edinburgh and London and worked as a doctor, as did two of his daughters, both born in Essex: Constance E. M. (1866) and Emily Florence (1867). Thomas Carter jnr. died in 1901, aged 58.

(Acknowledgements to be made to Michael Hollway)

1883-c1885 (George Betts)

George Betts was here for only about two years. He was the son of John Girling Betts, a farmer and maltster from Scottow, near Aylsham in Norfolk. John had married Ann, the daughter of another farmer from the same village, John Smith, in 1845, and they had thirteen children, all born in Scottow:-

1) John Smith (b. 1846). 2) Ellen Mary (b. 1847). 3) Harriet Anne (b. 1848). 4) William (b. 1849/50). 5) Catherine (b. 1851). 6) Lucy Jane (b. 1852). 7) Frances Louisa (b. 1853/4). 8) George – see below (b. 1855 – m. Elizabeth Jane Betts in 1883 – d. 1922, aged 67). 9) Frederick Benjamin (b. 1858). 10) Alice Sarah (b. 1869). 11) Walter Edward (b. 1860/1). 12) Agnes Laura (b. 1862). 13) Edward (b. 1866).

George was working as a chemist in 1881 and was with his parents and three of his siblings at the farm in Scottow on census night.

George married Elizabeth Jane Betts (relationship if any not known), from Fritton in Norfolk in 1883, and they had three children:-

1) Mildred Burton (b. 1884 King’s Lynn). 2) Ruth Mary (b. 1885/6 Norwich). 3) Dorothy Margaret (b. 1889 Norwich).

In 1884 George Betts placed the following advertisement in the Lynn News Almanack:-

‘Dispensing Department. GEORGE BETTS (Late Wigg) Pharmaceutical Chemist (By Examination), and Member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, begs to call attention to this most important branch of the business; the greatest attention is paid to the faithful discharge of the duties attached to it. Knowing that too much care and accuracy cannot be employed in dispensing Physicians’ and Surgeons’ Prescriptions, the following system is adopted, which, it is hoped, will ensure the confidence of the Public:

  EVERY PRESCRIPTION is REGISTERED in full, whereby a reference and an exact copy is always obtainable, however remote the date.

 THE PURITY of ALL DRUGS, CHEMICALS and PHARMACEUTICAL PREPARATIONS used in compounding Medicine is CONCIENTIOUSLY GUARANTEED, no second quality of Drugs being permitted on the premises.

For outward application, labels and bottles of a different colour are used to prevent mistakes.

ALL NEW REMEDIES prepared or procured as soon as introduced into practice.

COD LIVER OIL – Best Norwegian only kept in stock. In Bottles 1/-, 1/6, and 3/-.

FINEST ITALIAN CASTOR OIL – As near tasteless as possible, sold at usual prices.

PATENT MEDICINES retailed at the following prices – 1 to 1½ articles for 1/-, 2 to 9 articles for 2/6, 4 to 6 articles for 4/-.

WIGG’S GOUT and RHEUMATIC PILLS – An invaluable Medicine for the relief and cure of GOUT, RHEUMATIC GOUT, SCIATICA Etc. This invaluable medicine is proved to be the greatest blessing ever offered to the public, and its extraordinary sale convinces that its benign qualities are not overlooked, as the demand and testimonials are daily increasing. A few doses will allay the most acute pain, and a perfect cure is the result of a fair trial. In cases of Paralytic Affections, Contracted and Stiff Joints, Pains in the Chest, Sciatica, and Chronic Rheumatism, they will afford immediate relief. The use of these Pills requires no restraint from business. In Boxes 1/1½ and 2/9 each.


Towards the end of 1884 or the beginning of the following year, George moved to Norwich and was at 25, The Walk in 1891. By 1901 the family had moved to The Crescent in Norwich. In 1911 they were at St. John’s Road, Stansted, Essex. The two younger girls were still at home but Mildred was working as an assistant at Ivy Cottage Kennels, Winchcomb in Gloucestershire.

George Betts died in 1922, aged 67.

 c1885-1936 (Sydney Count) (Cyril Guy Count)

Sydney Count, who had been William Wigg’s assistant, took over the business after George Betts left and advertised for a time as ‘Sydney Count (Formerly Wigg), Chemist and Druggist, 17, HIGH STREET, LYNN.’ He continued to dispense some of William Wigg’s patent medicines, advertising on Saturday, 2nd January, 1886:-

‘WIGG’S FAMILY APERIENT PILLS, A safe and effectual remedy for Indigestion, Flatulence, Sick Headache, Loss of Appetite, Giddiness, Pains in the back and chest, and all disorders of the Liver. WIGG’S WHITE COUGH MIXTURE, This invaluable preparation possesses the peculiar virtue of immediately relieving any Cough, Cold, difficulty of breathing, Huskiness in the throat. It is elegant in appearance, delicious to the taste, and might be called the most pleasant medicine in the world. Sold in bottles 1s each.’

Sydney Count was the son of William Thomas Count and Emma Phillips, who married in 1850. Emma’s mother Mary came from Dedham and her father was Cheveley Frederick Phillips, from Much Easton in Essex. Cheveley Philips and William Count were both grocers and drapers.

William and Emma had five children, all born in Essex:-

1) Frederick William, a bookseller in East Dereham (b.1850/1 – m. Elizabeth Goulden on 17th October, 1878 – d. 20/02/1919, aged 68). 2) Elizabeth (b.1852- d. 1853/4). 3) Henry Charles – a hosier in Newbury, Berkshire (b. 1854 – d. 02/04/1924, aged 69). 4) Marion (b. 1856 – d. 21/09/1954, aged 98). 5) Sydney (b.1858 – m. Emily Ann Gilkes in 1885 – d. 08/01/1935, aged 76).

William moved his business from High Street Manningtree, where it was in 1851, to White Hart Street in Thetford, Norfolk, sometime between 1858 and 1861. When William retired from business, he and Emma moved to Lexden, Colchester. Emma died in 1890, aged 65, and William died in 1851/2, aged 67.

Sydney was apprenticed to a chemist in London and was working as an assistant to Richard Shepherd Dampney in Kensington in 1881. In 1885 he married Emily Ann Gilkes from Banbury, Oxfordshire and took over the business of George Betts, probably that same year. Their first son, Cyril Guy, was born in Lynn in 1887. Their second son, William Henry, was born on 28th August 1894 but died in infancy.

Following the fire of Monday, 27th December, 1898, when his shop was destroyed, Sydney Count moved temporarily to No. 96, High Street and had resumed trading by Friday 31st December. The premises were quickly rebuilt

In 1901 Sydney Count was still advertising Wigg’s patent medicines. Later that same year he advertised the services he offered to photographers, including the use of a dark room:-

‘PHOTOGRAPHY. Sydney Count, Chemist, 17, High Street, Lynn has a large stock of CAMERAS of all sizes and prices. Plates and papers of different makes. Developers and Toning Solutions. Dark Room for the use of Customers.’

Sydney Count died on 8th January, 1935 at his home, 84, Tennyson Avenue, aged 76, and his wife Emily died on 28th October the following year.

Cyril Guy Count took over his father’s business, placing the following announcement in the Lynn Advertiser on 25th January, 1935:-

‘C. G. COUNT wishes to state that he is carrying on his father’s business as usual, and would like to thank all his customers for their patronage, and hopes they will still continue to extend their favours to him.’

However, within eighteen months of taking over from his father, Cyril Count had died, aged 48. Cyril had married Amy Marion Colsell in 1918 but they did not have any children. Amy had been born in Mile End, London in 1890 and was the daughter of Joseph Colsell, a law writer born in Stepney in 1854. (A law writer would write a fair copy of a document from a solicitor’s notes, expanding it by the use of the appropriate legal terms). Amy Count died on 22nd October, 1933, aged 43.

c1937- c1943 (Woodlands Chemists)

In Kelly’s Directory for 1937, Woodlands (Chemists) Ltd. are listed here.

The company filed for voluntary liquidation in 1943.

c1951-c1966 (Heath & Heather)

Between 1937 and 1951, No. 17 was a branch of Heath & Heather, herb specialists. They placed the following invitation in the programme for the King’s Lynn Trade Exhibition in August, 1955:-

‘INVITATION! HEATH & HEATHER Ltd. Extend a cordial invitation to you to visit their branch shop at 17, High Street, King’s Lynn, where all their NOTED HERBAL REMEDIES can be obtained – also available a full range of VEGETARIAN, HEALTH and DIABETIC FOODS. 100% WHOLEMEAL BREAD A SPECIALITY. Heath & Heather Ltd., Herb Specialists, St. Albans.’

Heath & Heather was established in 1920 by James Ryder, with help from his elder brother Samuel who had a very successful seed business and who later went on to found the Ryder Cup golf tournament between the USA and UK (now Europe).

Their parents were Samuel – a gardener (b. c1822 – d. 1889, aged 67), and Elizabeth (b. c1824 – d. c1891), a dressmaker. They had eight children:-

1) Sarah (b. 1852). 2) Ann (b. 1853). 3) Elizabeth (b. 1856). 4) Samuel (b. 24/03/1858 – m. Helen Mary – d. 02/01/1936). 5) James (b. 1860). 6) Mary (b. 1863 – d. 1891). 7) Jane (b. 1864). 8) John (b. 1866).

Samuel was born on 24th March 1858 in Walton-Le-Dale, near Preston in Lancashire. Samuel and his brother James went to Owens College in Manchester (now Manchester University) but he did not complete the course, due to ill health. Instead, he took a job with a firm of shipping merchants and then joined his father in the market garden business of Ryder & Son in Sale. Samuel jnr. was too ambitious to stay with his father for long and he left Sale to work in London and then Bolsover in Derbyshire. On 20th November 1890, Samuel married Helen Mary Barnard who, like himself, was a Nonconformist. They had three daughters:-

1) Lily Marjorie (b.1893 in Tottenham). 2), Kathleen Mary (b. 1895 in Derbyshire). 3) Joan Elizabeth, (b. c1905 in St. Albans).

By this date, Samuel had devised a scheme for selling packets of seeds by post. Only two firms offered this service and their prices (between 1/- and 10/- per packet) put them beyond the reach of most people. His aim was to make it possible for people with small gardens to be able to purchase seeds for both the common, everyday vegetables and flowers but also give them the opportunity to grow rarer ones. Samuel chose St. Albans in Hertfordshire as the base for his new business, primarily because it was, in his words ‘… the centre of the Kingdom. As mine is a postal business, that is very important’. St. Albans was well-served by the railway network. The new business was named ‘Ryder & Son’ after that of his father, and despite him not having any sons, and was launched with the slogan ‘All seeds in penny packets from orchids to mustard and cress’.

With Helen’s help, one Friday Samuel sent out 250 catalogues to addresses in the town, so that these would arrive on Saturday, which was most people’s half day. His hope was that they would complete their orders over the weekend and that he could despatch their packets in time for the following weekend. His idea worked and the orders started coming in straight away. Gradually the business expanded – moving from garden shed to a rented room and then to the Old Presbyterian Meeting House, which he converted into a seed warehouse with storage in the loft. In 1902 the business moved to the former Wesleyan Sunday School in Upper Dagnall Street.

Samuel held his staff, who were mostly young women, in high regard and he was a popular employer – taking care of the health and safety in his packing warehouse and even giving them sick pay. By 1906 Ryder & Son were offering 5,000 varieties of seed and more than 2,000 orders per day were being sent out. The workforce had grown to about 80 to 90 permanent staff and Samuel recruited as his new manager his brother-in-law, Charles George Davis. The penny packet business was such a success that there were many imitators and Ryders had to take legal action to  restrain them from using copycat names, slogans and paragraphs taken from their own catalogue. On 21st July 1911, the foundation stone for a grand new office block at Holywell-Hill, St. Albans, which was opened in December.

A limited company was formed in 1920, by which time they were sending out over one million copies of their catalogue worldwide.

James Ryder was born in 1858 / 59 in Cheshire, and studied at Owens College (now Manchester University) before becoming a schoolmaster. In 1871 he was living at home with his brother Samuel and the rest of the family. By 1881 he had moved to Stansted Mountfitchet in Essex with his sister Mary and they were both working as teachers. In 1885 James married Alice Patmore and they had five children, all born in Essex; Alice c1888, Leonard Martin 1891, John c1892, Ruby May c1894, and Flora Evelyn c1898. In 1891 the family was living at 17, Worsley Road, Wanstead but had moved to No. 34 by 1901. The family were all at home on census night 1911 at 226, Hainault Road, Leytonstone. Alice was listed as housekeeper, Leonard was an apprentice electrician, John was working as a grainer for a house painter and Flora was still at school.

It was not until he retired from teaching that James started the herb business with his brother. They formed the company of Heath and Heather in 1920, with their first premises situated in Albert Street close to Ryder & Son in St. Albans. They expanded rapidly and by 1924 had moved to a former hat factory in Ridgemont Road, St. Albans and James moved his family to a house nearby. The number of Heath & Heather shops had reached 45 by the 1960s.

The King’s Lynn branch moved to No. 30, Norfolk Street in the mid-1960s. In 1968, the retail business merged with some 30 ‘Realfood’ shops, later becoming Holland & Barrett, and the retail company of Heath & Heather was voluntarily liquidated in 1976.

The name of Heath & Heather continues on as producers of fruit and herbal infusions.

c1960 (Wheeler’s of Tower Street Corner)

In the 1960’s, Wheeler’s of Tower Street Corner, the radio, television and record dealers opened a branch here.

– c2007 (Going Places)

The travel agents Going Places were owned by the My Travel Group plc. The latter ceased operations in 2007. The parent company of My Travel was the Thomas Cook Group plc, who formed a retail joint venture with The Co-operative Group and Midlands Co-operative to form The Co-operative Travel.

 2010 – To date (Co-Operative Travel)