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47, High Street.

This was a small shop with a frontage of medium width compared with others on the High Street. The depth of the shop was also relatively small, with an enclosed yard immediately behind, and with ancillary buildings, including outside toilets, at the very rear. An archway between Nos. 47 and 48 gave access for carts, and behind the yards of both properties were stables – but it is not clear whether these were shared or whether one business had sole use of them.

There is no identifiable user prior to 1830, when Thomas Garland, a printer, was here (Pigot). He remained in occupation until 1872.

From about 1890 until the 1970s, a branch of the national shoe chain of Freeman, Hardy & Willis were here.

c1836 – 1872 (Thomas Garland)

Born in Lynn in about 1802, Thomas Garland was a printer, bookbinder and book seller and was here for at least 36 years, until his death in 1872, at the age of 70.

He married Mary Hewitt Miller on 30th April, 1828, and they had one child, Mary, who was born in about 1832. She married Samuel George Redhead, a grocer, in 1860. Samuel had been an assistant to grocer William Roberts whose shop was at No. 1, Tuesday Market Place. Mary and Samuel Redhead had two children:-

1) Thomas Garland (b. c1867 in Ipswich). 2) Mary Garland (b. c1863 in Lynn – m. Robert William Wadlow in 1883 – d. 1949/50, aged 87). Robert Wadlow was a print shop supervisor at Thew’s and became manager at the Lynn Advertiser (see Nos. 1-4).

1872 – c1881 (Robert William Goodwin)

Robert William Goodwin, a grocer, was born in Easton on the Hill, Northamptonshire in 1842, the son of William (b. c1801) and Ann (b. c1802). William was a farmer, and he and Ann had two children:-

1) John (b. 1837 – d. 1867, aged 30).  2) Robert William (b. 1842 – m. Elizabeth Boulding on 13/05/1868 – d. 1881, aged 39).

William Goodwin died on 31st October, 1857 at Easton-on-the-Hill. Ann carried on at the farm for a few years but was working as a seamstress in Stamford in 1871, but died later that year, aged 61.

Robert Goodwin married Elizabeth Boulding on 13th May, 1868, at St. Margaret’s Church. In 1871 they were living in London Road in Lynn, and he was working as a grocer’s assistant. However, within ten years Elizabeth, who was ten years older than Robert, had died and he had given up the business. He was lodging in St. James Road in the town. He died that year (1881), aged about 38.

On 26th March, 1881, Miles and Son, the Lynn auctioneers, announced the sale of all of Robert Goodwin’s stock in trade, comprising:-

‘Cocoas, muscatels, Italian Goods, soaps, jams, jellies, pickles, biscuits, coffee, tea, candles, brooms and brushes, scales and weights, machines, sets of tea canisters, tins, cans, all fixtures and fittings and everything connected with the grocery business.’

1888 – 1996 (Freeman, Hardy & Willis)

A branch of Freeman, Hardy & Willis, the boot and shoe retailers, had opened in Lynn by 1888 and continued in business here until 1996.

The company which, after a number of mergers and take-overs, became part of the largest shoe retailer in the country, had its roots in a Leicester firm, Edward Wood & Co., which started manufacturing boots and shoes in 1870.

Sir Edward Wood

The founder of the business was Edward (later Sir Edward) Wood, born in Derby on 16th January, 1839. His father William (b. c1814 in Melbourne, Derbyshire) was a railway engine driver (1851), becoming an engine tuber (1871). William Wood married Emma Parkes in Birmingham in 1837, and they had five children, all born in Derby:-

1) Edward (b. 16/01/1839 – m. Annie Sewell in 1861 – d. 1917, aged 78). 2) Elizabeth (b. c1840). 3) Sarah (b. c1844). 4) Emma (b. 1845/6). 5) Elizabeth (b. 1848).

By 1861 the family had moved to Leicester, at which date Edward was working as a hatter and hosier. He later worked for a short time for Pickering & Stratham, a shoe company, before branching out on his own.

Within ten years, Edward had become a shoe manufacturer employing seven men and two boys.

Edward Wood married Annie Sewell (b. c1835 in Barrowden, Rutland – d. 1907, aged 76) in 1861. Annie was the daughter of William Sewell who had a small farm near Uppingham. Edward and Annie Wood had three daughters, all born in Leicester:-

1) Annie Elizabeth (b. 1863 – m. Samuel Lennard in 1889 – d. 1939, aged 76). 2) Catherine Sewell (b. 1864/5). 3) Louisa Emma (b. 1866 – m. Robert Hyslop in 1886 – d. 1918, aged 51).

Annie Elizabeth’s husband was chairman of Lennard Brothers Shoe Company (see Nos. 19 & 20, High Street). Like his father-in-law, Samuel became mayor of Leicester, but he died suddenly the year after his mayoralty.  Their two sons were killed in the First World War.

Louisa Wood’s husband, Robert Hyslop was another shoe company director. The son of Robert Hyslop I, a Scottish boot manufacturer, and his wife Mary Adcock, Robert II was born in Leicester in 1859. He was a shareholder in Lennard Brothers and a director of Freeman, Hardy & Willis. He died on 26th November, 1938, aged 79.

In 1878, Edward Wood dissolved Edward Wood & Co., and formed a new company. To join him on the board, he chose three businessmen with very different backgrounds; William Freeman, a boot factory foreman, Arthur Hardy, an architect and surveyor, and Frederick Willis, a commercial traveller. They gave their names to the new company, and Freeman, Hardy & Willis was born.

Edward Wood was elected to Leicester City Council in 1880, was later elected as an alderman, and served four terms as mayor; in 1888, 1895, 1901 and 1906. He was knighted in June, 1906. He died on 22nd September, 1917, aged 78.

William Freeman

William Freeman was born in about 1839 in Northampton. His father John (b. c1804 in Bowden, Leicestershire) was a blacksmith, and his mother Hannah (b. c1811) came from Gaulby in Leicestershire. William was working as a hosier in Leicester in 1861 and married Mary Ann Sturgess (b. 1840 in the city) the following year. By 1881, William was working as a shoe and leather factor. He died in 1918, aged 79.

Arthur Hardy

Arthur Hardy was born in Loughborough in 1846. His father James married Elizabeth Sanders in 1844, but he died in 1851, when Arthur was five. His mother worked as a grocer for a few years but was a property owner and shareholder. In 1871 the two of them were staying in London, where Arthur was the surveyor of sewers at St. Mary Newington. He married Ellen Howieson in Southwark in 1876 and they had five children. He died in 1891, aged 45.

Frederick Willis

Frederick Willis was born in about 1842 in Nottinghamshire. In 1862/3 he married Elizabeth Billson in Leicester and they had seven children. He covered the country as a commercial traveller, and was staying at the Royal Hotel, Swansea at the time of the 1871 census (2nd April). He died in Leicester in 1919, aged 77.

Freeman, Hardy & Willis

There were over 800 branches of Freeman, Hardy & Willis across the country by the 1920s. FHW were taken over by J. Sears & Co. (True Form Boot Co.) Ltd. of Northampton in 1927 and it continued under the umbrella of the British Shoe Corporation (formed in 1956). Subsequent acquisitions included Trueform, Curtess, Dolcis, Manfield, Saxone and Lilley & Skinner.

The name was shortened slightly to Freeman Hardy Willis, making it easier to adopt bold lettering on the shop fascias. In the 1960s, the company used the letters FHW with the slogan ‘Happy Walking’.

In the early 1990s, The British Shoe Corporation converted about half of the FHW branches into Hush Puppies shops and the remainder were sold to Stephen Hinchliffe’s Facia Group in 1995. The following year Facia went into administration and the Department of Trade and Industry sent in their inspectors to examine the accounts. A Serious Fraud Office and South Yorkshire Police case ensued, and it was revealed that Hinchliffe had been siphoning off Facia money into an account that he had created for the purpose. Facia’s company secretary Christopher Harrison was also implicated as were the executives of the London Branch of United Mizrahi Bank of Israel to whom Hinchliffe had made corrupt payments to obtain a £13m loan.

By 1996, FHW had ceased to exist, with only 44 former branches continuing as shoe shops, after being sold to Stead & Simpson.

FHW’s King’s Lynn Branch.

There are no manager’s names given in the trade directory entries. However, W. H. Clear included his name in an advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser in 1905.

Born in Grantchester, Cambridgeshire in 1879, William Henry Clear was the son of farmer William Clear (b. c1844 in Meldreth) and his wife Jane (b. c1851 in Meldreth).

He married Fanny Maria Castle (b. 1880 in Oxford – d. 1932 in Buckinghamshire, aged 50) in 1903. They did not have any children. It is not known how long they stayed in Lynn but it was for at least six years, because they were at ‘Mount Ville’, 7, Mount Street, Tennyson Avenue, in 1911. He died in Cheltenham in 1949, aged 70.

In September, 1920 the company applied for permission to install a new shop front, and in 1925 they made other alterations to the premises.

In the 1960s, the manager was Anthony Moore.

c1996 – c2009 (Bay Trading)

The women’s fashion shop Bay Trading had a branch here which closed in about 2007. Selling clothes and jewellery aimed at the younger fashion market, Bay Trading had over 100 high street shops across the country, and a similar number of concession outlets in department stores.

Bay Trading operated as a privately owned company until taken over by the Alexon Group plc in 1999. The business was run as a separate company, Epcoscan, within the Group, but had been running at a loss, showing a £7m deficit in 2008, as against a £10m profit for Alexon’s other companies. When credit insurers withdrew cover for Bay Trading, Alexon placed it in administration.

 2011 – 2013 (Cook to Perfection)

The independent cookware shop Cook to Perfection was opened in June 2008 at No. 2, High Street and flourished there for three years before moving here and opening on 3rd May, 2011.  Founded by owners Alastair and Melanie Done, the company wanted to expand, moving from a 400sq ft shop at No. 2 into 1,200 sq ft here at No. 47. They installed a modular Italian Kitchen, incorporating a large till area and providing space for product demonstrations. They also provided cake tin and wedding stand hire. The cookshop expanded to take on products from new suppliers, including Emma Bridgewater, Le Creuset. Ulster Weavers and OXO.

Cook to Perfection won awards in the Best Cookshop category of the Britain’s Best Retailer Awards in consecutive years – gold in 2009, and silver in 2010.

In April 2012, Cook to Perfection won a Retail Innovation Award for businesses with a turnover less than £1m.

The business was placed in administration at the end of April, 2013.

c2014 (Subway)