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18, High Street.

No. 18 was used, for most of its history, as a clothing shop – being variously a drapery, millinery and a fancy goods store.

The premises were burnt down in the High Street fire of 27th December, 1897, when occupied by Bullen Curson.

A narrow-fronted shop with two upper storeys, similar to No. 17a in terms of depth, yard provision and rear access to Union Lane. At the back of the shop was a window that overlooked the yard.

Robert Hall (see acknowledgements below) describes the living accommodation that existed in the 1940s: ‘Immediately behind the door at the rear of the shop was a small hallway with stairs off to the right and french doors out to the enclosed courtyard on the left. Ahead was another door which led to a small living room with a fireplace. This room in turn led to the kitchen behind, with a fireplace, Belling gas cooker, scrubbed wood kitchen table, an old pine dresser and a walk-in pantry. Beyond the kitchen was a lean-to scullery with an old butler sink, cold water tap and a copper for washing clothes, with chimney. Outside, across a small yard of Yorkstone flags, was the outside WC with cistern mounted high on the wall and operated by a chain. There were two timber and brick outbuildings. A gate in the right hand yard wall opened into a passageway, shared with Smiths Cleaners at No. 71a, leading to Union Lane. Inside, at the top of the stairs, a short landing led to the large front sitting room, with marble-surround fireplace, situated over the shop. The two windows looked out onto High Street.  This room was only used on Sundays and at Christmas. Another flight of stairs ascended from the landing to the second floor where there were two small rooms used for storing stock. The other rooms off the first floor landing were the main bedroom, a bathroom with high cistern flush WC, wash hand basin and bath with gas-fired hot water geyser, and a second bedroom with box room off. A small enclosed back staircase led down from the box room to the kitchen.’

c1836 – c1853 (Thomas Marshall Ryley) (Charles Goodwin)

In White’s Directory for 1836, Thomas Ryley, listed as ‘gent’, was at this address. He was listed again in Kelly’s Nine Counties Directory for 1846. This was Thomas Marshall Ryley who was a partner in the drapery business of Ryley & Ervin at No. 12, High Street, where more details of his family history may be found. Thomas took a back seat while his brother Henry took on the management of the business, which later became that of John Thorley.

Offices listed at this address in the 1836 directory and probably situated on the first floor, were used by solicitor Charles Goodwin, who lived in Chapel Street. Born in King’s Lynn c1792, he was away in Brighton at the time of the 1851 census (30th March) leaving his wife, Lucy Elizabeth (born c1787 in Leeds), at home with their daughter, Fanny Wycliffe, who had been deaf from birth. Charles died in 1859 and Lucy in 1866. Fanny went to live in the Lake District and died there in 1893, aged 73.

1850 (George Plowright)

George Plowright, a brazier and tin man, born in Downham in about 1802, was listed here in Slater’s Directory for 1850 and was living here in 1851 (although the census numbering is unclear), with his wife, Hannah, aged 36, from Wisbech, and their children, aged between 12 and 1. They had been at No. 43 in 1841, and more details about the family will be found under that address. George died in 1859 and Hannah took over the business, moving to No. 96, High Street, where further family details will be found.

c1854 – 1868 (Henry John Smith)

Henry John Smith, a clothier and outfitter was listed in White’s Directory for 1854 and was living here in 1861.

Born in Lynn in about 1821, he married Elizabeth Kemp c1850 and was working in Sunderland in 1851. Harrod’s Directory for 1863 lists Henry as a ‘Merchant Tailor’ at No. 18, together with Henry Spencer’s ‘Fancy Repository’ at No. 18a. By 1868, Henry Smith had moved out of No. 18 and in Harrod’s Directory for that year he is listed at 13, St. John’s Terrace. Soon afterwards he gave up the tailoring business and was recorded as a ‘Letter of Private Apartments’ in the 1871 census, when the family were at St. John’s Terrace. Henry died in 1880 at the age of 59.

Elizabeth had been born in Lynn c1824 and was the daughter of a mariner who died prior to 1851. Her widowed mother, Jane Kemp, worked as a shoe binder and they were living at Jews Lane in Lynn in that census year. After her son-in-law’s death, Jane Kemp moved in with Elizabeth at the St. John’s Terrace apartments. She died in 1893 at the age of 96. Henry and Elizabeth’s son, Albert Henry Kemp Smith was born c1851 in Sunderland, County Durham. He was apprenticed to a Lynn chemist in 1871 and married Jane Kemp Coles in 1874. However, he does not appear to have worked as a chemist for very long. In 1881 he was unemployed and by 1891 he had retired from the profession. In 1901 he was living with Jane and their three children in Portsmouth and was listed as ‘canine specialist, inventor & writer’. He was still working as a canine specialist in 1911, the enumerator noting alongside the entry ‘dog dealer’.

c1865-1883 (Mary Kendrick)

In Kelly’s Post Office Directory for 1865, Mrs George Kendrick, milliner, was listed here at No.18. George and Mary Kendrick were next door at Nos. 19-20 at this date and may already have had the ownership or lease of No. 18. Mrs Kendrick’s millinery shop continued until she relinquished the business at the end of 1883.

The Kendrick family was living at these premises in 1871. Mary’s husband George was born c1835 in Lynn and was a shoe manufacturer who employed ten men, four women and one boy in 1871.

George was the son of Thomas Kendrick (see Nos. 19-20 High Street).

George and Mary Kendrick had five children:

1) George Edward Boutwood – took over his father’s boot and shoe business at 19 – 20, High Street – (b. 1865 – m. Edith Marion Barrett in 1892 – d. 1939, aged 74). 2) Arthur – a straw hat maker in Luton – (b. 1867 – m. Bertha Elizabeth Baillie in 1899 – d. 1947, aged 80). 3) Horace Herbert – a doctor – (b.1869 – m. Charlotte Maloney in 1919 – d. 30/05/1934, aged 64). 4) Oswald – a draper’s assistant in 1891 – (b. 1870). 5) Helen Mary (b. 1872)

By 1881, George and Mary had moved to Hunstanton, where they lived firstly at Suton Cottage and later at Harpenden House (1911), however they were living at St. John’s Terrace in Lynn in 1891. George and Mary would have commuted by train each day from Hunstanton to their businesses in Lynn. The living accommodation at No.18 appears to have been unoccupied at the time of the 1881 census.

Mary Kendrick (née Boutwood) was born in Luton on 1st July, 1831. She regularly advertised her new season’s stock, as on 2nd May, 1874, in the Lynn Advertiser:

‘Millinery establishment, 18, High Street, Lynn. Mrs. G. Kendrick will commence her show of summer fashions.’

Mary Kendrick was still trading at No. 18 in 1883 and is listed in the Post Office Directory for that year, however, on 8th December 1883, she placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser:

‘Millinery Establishment 18, High Street, King’s Lynn Mrs. G. Kendrick, having disposed of Her Business is offering her Stock at greatly reduced prices until Christmas.’

The portrait (above right) was taken at the time of George and Mary Kendrick’s golden wedding anniversary in April, 1913. Mary Kendrick moved to Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk and died there in February, 1939, at the age of 95.

More details of the Kendricks’ boot and shoe business will be found at Nos. 19 – 20, High Street.

1883-1886 (Joanna Suggett)

The Kendricks retained ownership of the premises but Mary Kendrick’s business was taken over by Mrs. D. Suggett, who placed a notice in the Lynn Advertiser on 29th December 1883:

‘Millinery Establishment: 18, High Street, Lynn MRS. D. SUGGETT, having taken the business for many years carried on by MRS. G. KENDRICK, begs to say her show-room is now open with an entirely NEW STOCK OF LADIES & CHILDREN’S MILLINERY. A vacancy for an apprentice.’

This was Joanna, the wife of Dix Suggett, who was a merchant’s clerk. They were living at 10 All Saints Street in 1881, but had been at No.105 High Street in 1871. Dix was the younger brother, by just one year, of John Dix Suggett, whose daughter, Ellen Mary, was to run a milliner’s shop at No. 99 High Street for ten years between 1890 and 1900 and, later, at No. 35.

Joanna Suggett, who died in 1888 aged 42, seems to have had the shop at No. 18 for less than three years. Born in Lynn in 1845, she was the daughter of William Wolsey, who was a custom’s officer in Lynn for many years, and Mary Stevens, from Middleton. William and Mary had met while in service to the merchant Scarlet Everard at West Bilney Lodge. The Wolsey family lived in Regent Street, Lynn for over 20 years. Joanna’s mother Mary died in 1869 and William married Maria, another member of the Dix Suggett family, the following year. However, Maria died in 1875 at the age of 54. William moved to 10, Extons Road and eventually retired from the Custom’s service. He died in 1894 at the age of 78.

1886- 1888 (Joseph Reece and Ann Louisa Workman)

The following notice was placed in the Lynn Advertiser on 23rd October, 1886:

‘Mr. and Mrs. WORKMAN have opened what was formerly known as Mrs. KENDRICK’S shop and premises, No. 18, High Street, King’s Lynn, with a large stock of FANCY GOODS, which have been carefully chosen so as to combine elegance with utility. Some of the articles embrace the most modern patents and style. In conjunction with the Fancy Goods, there will be an extensive assortment of ART NEEDLEWORK, WITH ALL MATERIALS NECESSARY. The designs are new and very chaste, and the work of a superior quality. Mr. and Mrs. Workman buy and sell for cash only. All goods will be Marked in Plain Figures at Reasonable Prices, from which no reductions can be made. No deceptive discounts put on to take off.’

Mr Workman sought to appoint an apprentice by advertising in the Lynn Advertiser on 8th January, 1887: ‘WANTED: An opening for a young lady as Apprentice in the Fancy Goods and Art Needlework combined businesses. She must be of good address, active and obliging – Apply, first by letter, making appointment, then personally, to J. Reece Workman, Fancy Goods and Art Needlework Repository, 18, High Street, King’s Lynn.’

There were two distinct departments to the shop. On 15th October, 1887, their advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser made the following distinction between the two:

‘MRS WORKMAN – the Work Department inc. three new types of Work: MUTTRA WORK; MEDICI WORK & BUTTERFLY WORK; Wools. MR WORKMAN – Fancy Goods department.’

Mr Workman advertised Christmas presents in the Lynn Advertiser on 10th December that year. These included:

‘Olive Wood Goods, Glass & China Ornaments, Leather Goods.’

Joseph Reece Workman was born c1860 in Dursley Gloucestershire. His father George was the master of the Clifton Union Workhouse near Bristol and his mother, Elizabeth Reece, was the matron. In 1871 they held similar posts at the City of London Union Workhouse at Hackney. Joseph married Ann Louisa Jackson in 1884. She was the daughter of John Jackson, of 19 King Street, King’s Lynn, who ran a very large stay and women’s underclothes manufacturing business (see No. 42, High Street) and was a local Methodist Minister. Joseph and Ann had one daughter, Ann Reece, born 1887/8 in King’s Lynn. It was soon after her birth that the family left the town. Joseph Workman had not been destined to become a shopkeeper but was a civil engineer by profession, and he turned to that line of work when the family moved to Weston Super Mare, where Ann ran a boarding house. Ann died in Somerset c1894 and Joseph had retired as a civil engineer by 1911, when he and his daughter Ann were living with his eighty-year-old mother, Elizabeth Workman. By that date Elizabeth had outlived five of her six children. She died in 1915, aged 86, and Joseph died c1939/1940 at the age of 80.

Workman’s Fancy and Berlin Repository was closed in August, 1881 and the stock was bought by public tender and offered for sale in the Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette on 31st of that month:-

‘Re. J. WORKMAN’S FANCY and BERLIN REPOSITORY, KING’S LYNN. The Stock to be Sold concurrent with the GREAT SALE OF HIGH CLASS FURS! At Mr.CALVERT’S GREAT ESTABLISHMENT In HIGH STREET, SUNDERLAND ON MONDAY NEXT, SEPT. 3rdDuring the FUR SALE, Mr. Calvert will offer the Stock of Mr. J. R. WORKMAN At ONE THIRD OF HIS SELLING PRICES Consisting of Art Needlework, Berlin, Andalusian. And Fleecy Wools, Fingerings, Bags, Purses, Photo Frames, Scrap Books, Albums, Inkstands, Glass, Art Pottery, etc., etc., Pearsall’s best Embroidery Silks, Filloselle, Floss, Knitting Silks, etc., less than HALF-PRICE.’

1889 – c1916 (Bullen Curson)

The shop and house were advertised to let in the Lynn Advertiser in December 1888 and again on 5th January, 1889:

‘HIGH STREET, LYNN – House and Shop to Let, No. 18. – Apply, Mr. E. M. Beloe, New Conduit Street.’

The premises were still being advertised to let on 30th March:

‘TO LET, Shop and House, at reduced rent, 18, High Street, Lynn. Commodious premises; large and lofty showroom adjoining shop. – Apply. G. Kendrick & Son.’

Later that year, the lease was taken by Mr. Bullen Curson, a hatter and hosier, who moved his business, previously known as Curson Bros., from No. 113a, where he had been trading under the title of Curson Brothers for just over nine years. Further information about the family will be found at Nos. 113 and 113a, High Street. Bullen Curson stayed at No. 18 until at least 1916.

Born in Lynn c1865, he was the youngest of four sons of Robert Harrison Curson, a commercial traveller, and Harriet Brad (née Bullen). Harriet was related to Francis Brad Bullen, the bookseller, stationer and printer who was at No. 11, High Street in the 1840’s. The Curson family were living at 20, Albion Place in 1881.

Bullen Curson married Lily Smith from Lynn in 1890, and they had four children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Wilfred Percy – a railway clerk –  (b. 03/10/1895 – m. Violet Grace Easter in 1922 – d. 2/09/1974, aged 78). 2) Percy Alexander – a bank manager – (b. 07/02/1898 – d. 31/05/1987, aged 89). 3) Reginald Bullen – an insurance clerk – (b. 18/08/1899 – m. Alice E. Moore in 1926 – d. 28/08/1987, aged 88). 4) Victor William – a bank clerk – (b. 28/12/1905 – m. Audrey E. Tyler in 1931 – d.08/12/1987, aged 81).

Bullen Curson and his family were living at No. 18 when the premises were burnt out in the great High Street fire of December, 1897. Coincidentally, Bullen Curson had been at No. 113a High Street when the first Jermyn’s fire broke out on 17th December, 1884. On that occasion only his shop front was damaged by the heat of the fire on the opposite side of the street. This time his business was severely affected. The progress of the conflagration along High Street was described in the Lynn Advertiser:

‘Only the narrow Union Lane separated Messrs. Jermyn & Sons’ furniture store from the next block of buildings northwards. The corner shop (No.17) was Mr. Sydney Count’s chemist. Then came, in order named, the establishments of Mrs. H. M. Pegg, milliner (No.17a), Mr. Bullen Curson, haberdasher & clothier (No.18), and Messrs. Cash & Co., boot shop (No.19). The flames leapt the narrow lane between Messrs. Jermyn & Sons and Mr. Count’s, and the chemist’s shop and premises were soon numbered with the things that have been and are not. Next Mrs. 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 commencement of the outbreak, they were all destroyed.’

Like all the other shop owners affected by the fire, Bullen Curson continued trading in temporary accommodation. He moved into one half of Mr. William Winch’s shop in St. James Street. William Winch had a grocery business at Nos.  9 – 11, St James Street.

After rebuilding, Bullen Curson moved back into No. 18 and placed a notice in the Lynn Advertiser:

‘BULLEN CURSON takes this opportunity of thanking his numerous Friends and Customers for the Patronage and Support rendered him during the many years he has been in business, and considerably extended since his return to the NEW PREMISES and begs to inform them that he has now received his New Goods in each Department, consisting of Hats, Caps, Clothing, Hosiery, Gloves, Linen Goods, etc., suitable for the Coming Season. BESPOKE DEPARTMENT – A SPECIALITY. Suits to Measure from 28/- Trousers To Measure from 9/6. Note the address:- 18, HIGH STREET (2 Doors from Union Lane).

Although Bullen Curson did not advertise in the newspapers, he placed entries in the trades directories up to and including Kelly’s for 1916.

In later years Bullen and Lily lived at 161, Wootton Road, where he died on 30th July, 1945 at the age of 85. Lily died in Great Yarmouth on 12th May, 1948, aged 79.

 c1922 – 1980 (W. & E. Turner Ltd.)

At No. 18 in 1922, as listed in Kelly’s Directory, was W. E. Turner Ltd., boot and shoe makers and dealers. They are listed in the directories through to 1951 and the shop remained as Turners until the chain was taken over by Hepworths in 1980. There is no record of when they opened the Lynn branch and it may have been earlier than 1922.

In 1856, the brothers William and Edward Turner began trading as merchants in Leicester under the name Cash & Co. William’s two sons William Henry and George Cresswell were taken into partnership in 1892, the year that their father died. This was also the year that two Cash & Co. branches opened at Lynn – at Nos. 20 and 87, High Street. Edward Turner died in 1897. Other branches in the eastern region were at Peterborough, Great Yarmouth, Downham Market, March, Long Sutton, Holbeach and Spalding. The branch at No. 20, survived the great High Street fire of 1897 but the business had moved to No. 18, by 1912, still trading as Cash & Co. W. & E. Turner Ltd., was incorporated in 1901 and the Cash & Co. branch here at 18, High Street must have commenced trading under the founders’ names soon after that date, whilst the name of the other Lynn Branch at No. 87 remained unaltered. The exact date that W. & E. Turner’s shop opened at No. 18 is not clear. In Kelly’s directory for 1912, Bullen Curson is listed at No. 18, Cash & Co. at No. 19 and George Kendrick at No. 20. What is certain is that the business had been established in these premises by 1922.

Cash & Co moved out temporarily in December 1897 after the premises were damaged in the fire – they moved to No. 94, ex Cox Bros.

The manager of the Cash & Co. branch at No. 20 in 1901 was Walter Hampson and he became the manager of the W. & E. Turner business here at No. 18. Born in Leicester c1876, he was one of the nine or more children of Ebenezer and Mary (née Neale) Hampson. Ebenezer was an elastic web weaver in 1881 but was listed in the 1891 census as ‘town postman’. His wife Mary had been a shoe fitter for several years. Walter Hampson came to Lynn around the turn of the century and was boarding at the house of a widow, Ann Beaver, in Douro Street in 1901. Also living there was Ann’s daughter Ethel May, who married Walter in 1902. Ethel’s parents both came from Burnham Market, her father John being a stone mason, but the family had moved to Lynn by 1881. Walter and Ethel Hampson had two children:

1) Noel Walter (b.c1905). 2) Mary Elizabeth (b. 1914).

Walter took an interest in many of Lynn’s organisations, becoming treasurer of the Chamber of Trade, a sidesman at St. Margaret’s Church and a member of the Board of Guardians. Walter died on 5th August, 1929 at his house in High Street, at the age of 53.

The next manager was Walter Thomas Hall, born in Lynn in 1899. He was the son of Walter Hall and Florence (Flora) Sutterby, who married at Lynn in 1897. They lived at Front Terrace, Highgate, near to Alfred Dodman’s engineering works, where Walter worked as a boiler maker. He died c1911 at the age of 42. Walter jnr. married Violet Kate Butcher in 1926, when he was the manager of a small branch of Cash & Co. at Beccles. Walter was appointed to take over from Walter Hampson but he and Violet had to live with his mother Flora in Loke Road until they could move into No. 18. They lived here for 16 years and their son Robert was born in the front bedroom overlooking High Street in December 1938.

Walter had been discharged from the services in 1917 on medical grounds and joined the ARP in the Second World War. Joining at the same time was his younger brother Leslie who for many years served as the Mayor’s Officer. Their sister Ruby became the manager of Cash & Co’s branch at No. 87 High Street. Towards the end of the war, Walter was given the supervision of other branches closest to Lynn and Violet, who used to help in the shop on Saturdays, took on the role of part time manageress. Walter’s son Robert recalls that both sides of the small shop were fitted with shelves from floor to ceiling, which were stacked with shoes all neatly boxed and arranged in sizes and types – from Wellington boots to carpet slippers. There were separate areas for men, women and children.

Halfway along the right hand side wall was a small display of socks, hosiery and shoe polish. In a straight line down the centre of the shop stood two rows of bentwood chairs set back-to-back. The floor was covered with linoleum, with narrow strips of carpet running along the fronts of the chairs. The cash desk stood halfway along the left hand wall, close to the Victorian fireplace. The interior was decorated throughout in cream paint. Each day’s takings would be deposited in a small safe behind the shop desk. At the end of Saturday’s trading Walter would cash up and, after tea, would walk with his son along High Street to Barclays Bank on Tuesday Market Place where he would deposit the weekly takings in the night safe. The money was secured within a named bag which was dropped through a metal letterbox in the bank wall – locked with a key that was issued to the Bank’s commercial customers. After the war Walter was offered the post of the Company’s District Inspector for the Eastern Counties, his area stretching from North Lincolnshire to Hertfordshire. The family moved from No. 18 in December 1946 and went to live in Gaywood Road. He retired in 1963 and moved to Great Yarmouth, where he died in 1978. The photograph above right shows Walter and Violet and the portrait above left was taken when Walter was the President of Turner’s ’25 Club’ for employees who had served with the company for a quarter of a century.

The next manager at No. 18 was Victor Bertie Fulcher who lived on the premises for many years with his wife Lilian and their daughter (listed at No. 18 in Kelly’s Directory for 1960 is Benjamin Ralph Fulcher). He was succeeded by John Boldero who had commenced his working life under Walter Hall during the war. He later served for several years at Turner’s head office in Leicester before returning to Lynn. John’s father Fred Boldero was a baker and his confectionery shop was at 57, St. James’ Street – on the corner with Regent Street – which his wife ran.

In 1980 W. & E. Turner Ltd. was taken over by Hepworths. For more details about Hepworths, see Nos 24 & 25, High Street.