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No. 5 High Street.

An archway to the left of these premises led from High Street to a small central courtyard. There was a large warehouse at the rear of the building which could be accessed from the Saturday Market Place. A variety of businesses occupied the premises, including a grocer, corn and seed merchant, ironmonger, a glass, china and earthenware store and a clothes shop. In about 1930 G. M. Hartley Ltd. took over Nos. 5, 6 & 7 and merged them into one shop.

1836 – c1839 (William Bowler)

There was no-one listed here in 1830 (Pigot). White’s Directory for 1836 lists William Bowler, a grocer, tea dealer and tallow chandler, at this address. This was the father of William Mayhew Bowler (b. Lynn 17th June, 1820) who was working as an assistant to Mary Patrick, grocer of 57 High Street, in 1841.

William Bowler was born in Wattisfield, Suffolk, in 1793. He married Elizabeth Winch (b. c1792 at Pentney) on 26th June, 1816. They had at least five children:-

1) William Mayhew – a grocer – (b. 17/06/1820 in Lynn – m. Caroline Pearson in 1845 – d. 1869, aged 48) 2) Susan – a teacher – (b. c1823 in Suffolk). 3) Martha (b. c1826 in Brockley, Suffolk – d. 1918, aged 90). 4) Elizabeth (b. c1828 in Suffolk). 5) Frederick Edward – a draper – (b. 12/03/1832 – m. Alice Elizabeth Woolbright on 03/04/1865).

William Bowler moved from place to place in Norfolk and further afield, including Suffolk and Northamptonshire. In 1820 he had a shop on the Saturday Market place when his son William Mayhew was born. After moving to Brockley in Suffolk (1828), back to Lynn (1832), Great Yarmouth (1839), Peterborough (1841) and then back to Lynn again, he was in Great Massingham in 1851, still working as a grocer. He then took a job on the railways and was the station master at Wendling in 1861 and at Middleton in 1871.

William’s wife Elizabeth died between 1851 and 1861, and he married Harriet Chettleburgh in that latter year. He died in 1873, aged 80, and Harriet died in 1875, aged 60.

It is not clear at exactly what date William Bowler left No. 5, but Laws & Co., were here in 1839.

1839 – 1841 (Laws & Co.)

Laws & Co., had a thriving grocery business at No. 8, High Street which was expanding into a wine & spirits merchants – later brewing as well.

In 1839 they took possession of No. 5 and advertised in Norfolk and further afield as the wine and spirits business expanded. They advertised in the Norwich Mercury on 22nd June that year:- ‘MANDERS & POWELL’S EXTRA DUBLIN STOUT. A Cargo of the above article just received direct from the Brewery. GEORGE LAWS & Co., 5, High Street, Lynn, Sole Agent for West Norfolk. The Trade or Families supplied in Casks or in Bottles. Agents wanted for Wells, Fakenham, Dereham, Thetford and March. N.B. – A large quantity of empty Hogsheads, Barrels, and Kilderkins, to be Sold Cheap.’

On 10th July, 1841, Laws & Co. placed the following announcement in the Cambridge Chronicle & Journal:- ‘LAWS & Co., HIGH STREET, LYNN, Beg to inform their friends and the public they have DISPOSED OF the GROCERY DEPARTMENT of their business to Mr. JOHN POLE, who will carry on the same at No. 5, High Street and for whom they earnestly solicit a continuance of their favors. L. and Co. will continue the WHOLESALE CHANDLING and CHEESEMONGERY Businesses, also the WINE, SPIRIT and PORTER Trades at No. 8. – Former favors gratefully acknowledged and future support studied to be deserved N. B, -A Cargo of GRASS EDAMS expected in a week or two, direct from Holland. SALT IMPORTED.’

1841 – 1871 (John Pole)

Having taken over the grocery side of Laws & Co’s business in July, 1841, John Pole was listed here as a grocer and tea dealer in Kelly’s Directory for 1846 and in Slater’s Directory for 1850.

John Pole had been working at William Rose Smith’s drapery shop at No. 37, High Street immediately prior to taking on this grocery business in 1841.

Born in Oundle in Northamptonshire in about 1811, his father was John Pole snr., who had a hatter’s shop in the town, and who died in 1825. John jnr’s brother Henry Pole (b. c1817 in Oundle – d. 25/09/1866, aged 50) worked as an assistant to Thomas March (c1851) at Nos. 36 – 37, High Street.

On Christmas day 1834, John Pole jnr. married Mary Adkinson at St. Margaret’s church. They had three daughters, all born in Lynn:-

1) Mary Clementina – a nun at the Priory of St. Dominic, Isle of Wight – (b. 1840 – d. 1934, aged 93). 2) Fanny Susannah (b. 1842 – m. Joseph John Hulbert on 19/07/1865 – d. 1934, aged 92). 3) Emily (b. 1845 – m. John Kitson on 04/11/1868).

John Pole was living here in 1851 with his wife Mary, from Dersingham, their three daughters, their nephew William John Pole, a governess, two shop assistants and two servants. John Pole employed six men at that date. In Harrod’s Directory for 1868 his business is described as ‘wholesale and retail grocer, tea dealer, provision merchant and agent for Droitwich Patent Salt Co’.  (Salt had been mined in the Droitwich area at Stoke Prior since before Roman times, but it was not until an economical way of extracting it by pumping in water and sucking up the brine that the industry really flourished. The companies merged to form the Salt Union in 1888.)

In 1871, John Pole was living at the Mill House, West Winch, where he gave his occupation as ‘grocer, farmer of 10 acres and landowner’.

John Pole died on 17th February,1876, aged 66 and Mary died in 1881, aged 75.


c1871 – c1889 (William John Pole)

John’s nephew William John Pole, born in Oundle, Northamptonshire on 17th September, 1837, took over the business.

He was the son of William Pole, a hatter in Oundle and Elizabeth Collins Arnsby (née Smith). When he was still very young, his parents moved to Devon, and his mother died in 1843. William came to Lynn to live with his uncle and aunt at No. 5, High Street from at least 1851.

In 1867, William married Juliana Agnes Austin (b. 1845 in Sall, near Aylsham). They had eleven children, all but two being born in Lynn:-

1) Elizabeth Agnes (b. 1868 – d. 11/05/1962). 21) Gertrude Edith (b. c1870 – d. 07/12/1946). 3) John William (b. c1871). 4) Ada Sarah (b. 1873 – d. 16/11/195). 5) Alice Mary – emigrated to South Africa – (b. 08/12/1874 – m. John James Rogers – d. 1951 in Yeoville, Johannesburg). 6) Bernard Austin (b. 29/03/1877 – d. 1953 in Hastings, Victoria, Australia). 7) Percival Woodstock (b. 1879). 8) Helen Sophia (b. 1880 in Hunstanton – d. 1885).  9) Mildred Lucy (b. 09/08/1882 in Hunstanton). 10) Wilfred Hugh – emigrated to USA – (b. 08/03/1885 – d. 1952). 11) Catherine Isabel (b. 27/02/1887).

In 1871 William and Juliana were living here with their three children, together with two ‘shopmen’ and one servant. In 1881, William was employing seven men and was still living over the shop. William is listed in the 1883 directory as a wholesale and retail grocer but in the Lynn Advertiser on 6th April, 1889, the premises were offered to let:-

‘TO LET, immediate possession, the Grocer’s Shop and Premises late in occupation of Mr. Pole, High Street, Lynn. Apply – N. Lowe, Corn Merchant, St. James Street’.

The premises had been offered for sale at auction by Miles & Son on 14th March, 1889 but had been withdrawn at £800.

William Pole and his family had left Norfolk by this date and were living in the Stapleton area of Bristol, where he was working as a commission agent.

Tragically, Juliana died soon after their move, in 1889, at the age of 44. William died in Bristol in 1908 at the age of 72.


1889 – 1900 (Walter Horace Lowe)

From 1889 to 1900 these were the premises of Walter Horace Lowe, an ironmonger, who was living on his own at the premises in 1891. In the tradition of traders at that time, he gave the address of his shop a name that related to the nature of his business, ‘Sheffield House’. He advertised in the programme for the King’s Lynn Royal Regatta, 21st August 1895:- ‘SHEFFIELD HOUSE. WALTER H. LOWE. Furnishing Ironmonger, Cutler and Tool Dealer. Portable Baths and Japanned Toilet Ware of every description. Stoves, Ranges, Mantle Pieces, Fenders, Tile Hearths, Fire Brasses, Coal Vases, Dairy Utensils, Brushes and Brooms, Table and Pocket Cutlery, Razors, Scissors, etc., Of superior quality and excellent value. Every Branch of Repairing executed with Promptness. SHEFFIELD HOUSE, 5, HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN.’

Walter, born in 1864, was the son of Nathaniel Lowe (b. 1837 in Lynn – d. 18/04/1900, aged 62), a corn merchant, and the family was living at 1 St. James Street in 1881. Nathaniel married Elizabeth Walton on 9th November, 1949 at St. Margret’s church. They had seven children, all born in Lynn:-

1) John Green – hotel caretaker in 1901 – (b. 1860 – m. Elizabeth Hannah Hackett Darnill in 1903 – d. 1937, aged 77). 2) William Walton – a grocer and draper – (b. 1863 – m. Emma Jane Crawford in 1890 – d. 1941, aged 77). 3) Walter Horace – see below – (b. 18/07/1865 – m. Annie Mary Brown on 10/06/1894 – d. 20/04/1949, aged 84). 4) Nathan (b. 1868 – m. Jane Ormiston in 1897 – d. 1946, aged 78). 5) Bessie Sophia W. (b. 1870 – m. Robert Ives in 1901 – d. 1956, aged 85). 6) Edmund Green – corn trade manager – (b. 1872 – m. Laura Agnes Ollett in 1898 – d. 1937, aged 65). 7) Eccles – a corn & feed merchant – (b. 1875 – m. Mary Jane Walpole in 1900 – d. 1918, aged 41).

In 1894, Walter married Annie Mary Brown, who had been born in Bungay, Suffolk in 1864. They did not have any children.

Walter’s ironmongery business was listed in both White’s Directory of 1890 and Kelly’s of 1892.

His advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser on 30th December 1893 read:-


We have an enormous stock; splendid value and newest patterns; and are now exhibiting in window very saleable articles for the season’s trade. Useful presents of every description, comprising:-

Cruets. Copper Kettles. Tea-pots. Trays and Waiters. Coal Vases. Spoons and Forks. Bread Platters. Butter Knives. Ham, pickle and bread forks, etc.

WALTER H. LOWE, Furnishing ironmonger & cutler, 5 High Street, King’s Lynn’.

The Christmas advertisement below appeared in the Lynn Advertiser on the 18th and the 25th December, 1896:- ‘SHEFFIELD HOUSE, 5, HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN. WALTER H. LOWE, Furnishing Ironmonger & Cutler, Begs to thank all those who have favoured him with their kind patronage and recommendation during his eight years of business, and to call their attention to his first class new stock of cheap and useful CHRISTMAS PRESENTS, Comprising electro-plated cruets and tea-pots, spoons and forks, biscuit jars, jam dishes, butter dishes, butter knives, bread knives, bread forks, ham forks, pickle forks, trays and waiters, spice boxes, sets of carvers, crumb brushes and trays, and numerous other fancy articles. Also cutlery of every description at WALTER H. LOWE’S, SHEFFIELD HOUSE, KING’S LYNN.’

Walter’s brother, William Walton Lowe, who ran a fruit growing business in Walpole St. Andrew, had a general shop at No. 1 High Street for a very short period of time in 1925/6, but was declared bankrupt in May of that latter year.

Walter and Annie Lowe stayed in Lynn until 1900, when Walter sold the business to Plowright Pratt & Harbage, the following joint notices appearing in the Lynn Advertiser on 17th August 1900:-

‘WALTER H. LOWE, Furnishing Ironmonger and Cutler, 5, High Street, King’s Lynn, begs to return most sincere thanks to his many friends and customers for their past kind support during the 11 years he has been in business, and to inform them he has now disposed of the same to Messrs. Plowright, Pratt & Harbage, ironmongers, King’s Lynn.

 – PLOWRIGHT, PRATT & HARBAGE, General & Furnishing Ironmongers, 8, Norfolk Street, King’s Lynn, in taking over the business of Mr. W. H. Lowe, No. 5, High Street, Lynn, solicit an increased share of your patronage and beg to announce that they are SELLING OFF a large quantity of General, Builders’ & Furnishing Ironmongery, Cutlery etc., at a considerable reduction for cash, at No. 5, High Street, Lynn. – An inspection invited.’

The Lowes moved to Ipswich where Walter managed an ironmongery business.

Annie died on 13th June, 1940, aged 75, and Walter died on 20th April, 1949, aged 84.

Plowright Pratt & Harbage did not run the shop here and sold off Walter Lowe’s stock, announcing in the Lynn Advertiser on 24th August, 1900:-

‘PLOWRIGHT, PRATT & HARBAGE (Of 8 Norfolk Street, King’s Lynn), Having Purchased the Entire Stock of General & Furnishing IRONMONGERY of Mr. W. H. Lowe, No. 5 High Street, are SELLING OFF the same at a considerable reduction for cash. AN EARLY INSPECTION IS SOLICITED AT No. 5, HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN’.

1900 – 1903 (George Coventry Riches Clackson)

The next business to open here was that of ‘Clackson’s General and Fancy Drapery’.

George Coventry Riches Clackson was the son of George Ambrose Coventry Clackson who had a shop at 113 High Street (c1868 – 1875) before moving to No. 115 (1875 – c1879). From about 1879 onwards, George snr., had a shop at Nos. 9 & 10 St. James’ Street.

George Ambrose Clackson died on 28th March, 1899, at the age of 60 following a tragic accident (see No. 113 or No. 115) and the business was taken over by his son George Coventry R. Clackson, who was born in Lynn in 1870. He moved the business to No. 17, St. James’ Street and then brought it to the High Street when No. 5 became vacant. He advertised here for the first time on 7th December, 1900.

Details of George Ambrose Coventry Clackson’s ancestry is given under the account for No. 113 High Street.

George jnr. married Ada Innes Nisbet (b. Hartlepool in 1875), at King’s Lynn in 1901. Ada was the daughter of mariner John Nisbet, from the Shetland Isles but her mother, Margaret Carrison, was a Lynn girl, born in the town in about 1835. Margaret and John had married in Lynn c1852/3 but settled in Hartlepool. George Clackson jnr. had a short spell as a merchant seaman c1891 but seems to have left, perhaps in order to take over the business when his father died. However, he did not stay here long and within three years the premises were advertised to let, when this notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser in November, 1903:-

‘TO LET, Immediate Possession, No. 5, High street, large Dwelling-House in excellent order (gas), large Shop, with up-to-date fittings, and lighted by electricity, including a large Warehouse at back. – Apply for further particulars, Mr. W. G. Cross, 16, St. James road, King’s Lynn’.

George and Ada Clackson moved to Birkenhead and were living at 66 Argyle Street in 1911 with their five-year-old son George Lester Coventry (b. 06/04/1905 – m. Dorothy A. Weights in 1938 – d. 21/12/1967, aged 62). George was working as the steward in a club and Ada was assisting him.

George Coventry R. Clackson died in 1939, aged 69, and Ada died in 1962, aged 86.

1903 – 1907 (W. S. Collins) (Collins’s China Stores) (Collins Clayton & Co.)

Collins’s China Store’s shop opened here for a few years but is not listed in any of the directories.

This was a branch of a very successful Wisbech High Street shop established by John Collins (b. 1803 in Wakefield, Yorkshire – m. Ann Shepherd on 21/09/1828 – d. 10/09/1879, aged 76), a ship owner who frequently sailed into and out of the port of Wisbech in the years around 1825 – 1827. He then appears to have met Ann Shepherd (b. c1811 in Wisbech) in the town and they married at St. Peter’s church on 21st September, 1828.

By 1839 (Pigot), John had opened his china shop in Wisbech High Street, and he was living there with Ann and their three children in 1841. However, he retained his maritime business and gave his occupation as ship owner in 1841 and at the wedding of his daughter Mary Ann in 1861.  John and Ann Collins had six children, all born in Wisbech:-

1) Joseph – a miller and corn merchant – (b. 1830 – m. Sarah and Sabina – d. 1898, aged 68). 2) Mary Ann – see Collins Clayton below – (b. 1831 – m. John Oates Clayton on 17/01/1861 – d. 1899, aged 67). 3) John – a china and glass dealer in Chelmsford – (b. 1834 – m. Mary Phebe Brown in 1860 – d. 20/08/1901, aged 67). 4) William Shepherd Collins – see below – (b. 10/11/1840 – m. Elizabeth Moore in 1866 – d. 16/10/1909, aged 68). 5) James – a chemist – (b. 1846 – m. Eleanor Susanna Burrell on 02/11/1870). 6) Frederick – a photographic publisher in 1901 – (b. 1849 – m. Alice Coppin in 1873 and Ellen Maria Colwell).

The last listing for John Collins in High Street, Wisbech is in 1851 (Gardener). Ten years later, he was still living at 11, High Street, Wisbech and running the business. His son William Shepherd Collins, then aged 20, was working as his assistant at the shop. William took over from his father and was listed in Kelly for 1879, the year that his father John died. William ran the shop for at least 17 years (probably longer) and was listed there in 1896 (Kelly).

William Shepherd Collins married Elizabeth Moore in 1866 and they had seven children, all born in Wisbech:-

1) Harry – may have been a builder who emigrated to South Africa – (b. 1866). 2) Arthur – a millwright – (b. 1868). 3) Edith (b. 1873 – m. James Muirhead Young on 25/02/1902 – d. 1935, aged 61). 4) Ernest – draper’s apprentice in 1891 – (b. 1874). 5) Jessie May (b. 13/12/1885 – d. 1985, aged 98). 7) Horace Leslie – a draper (b. 07/05/1887 m. Phyllis Maude Worsdale in 1929 – d. 1979, aged 91).

In the early 1900s, William Collins entered into a partnership with his nephew Collins Clayton, the son of his sister Mary Ann. It would seem that Collins Clayton, who was a fruit grower by trade, took over the management of the shop business (still under the name of W. S. Collins), perhaps to allow his uncle to take a back seat and then to retire. This partnership was dissolved on the 13th July, 1904, and Collins Clayton continued the business under the name of Collins’s China Stores.

William Shepherd Collins was a prominent member of the local community serving on the County Council for several years, and was the Mayor of Wisbech between 1899 and 1900. He died on 16th October, 1909, aged 68.

Collins Clayton was the only child of John Oates Clayton (b. c1831 in Wakefield), a Leeds chemist and Mary Ann Collins. His father died in 1879, when he was 14 years old, and he and his mother moved from Leeds to Wisbech, where he established the firm of Collins Clayton & Co., fruit growers. He married Mary Young on 3rd September, 1891 at the Presbyterian Church in Berwick-on-Tweed. Like his uncle William, Collins Clayton served as a JP and as a local councillor. He was Mayor of Wisbech for six years, from 1913 until 1918. His wife Mary was the first woman magistrate in Wisbech when she took the oath in January, 1921. Collins and Mary had five children, all born in Wisbech:-

1) Muirhead Collins Clayton – a Major in the Cambs. Regiment – (b. 1892 – m. Alice Scrivener Coates on 12/11/1917 – d. 1957, aged 65). 2) Francis Clayton (b. 1896 – m. Kathleen Scrivener Coates in 1921 – d. 1970 Downham). 3) John Wilfred Clayton (b. 1899 – m. Lilian Edna Wiffin). 4) Olive Mary C. Clayton (b. 1900 – m. Bernard Hugh West – d. 1927, aged 26). 5) Philip Collins Clayton (b. 1902 – m. Barbara Britten Grimwade in 1959 – d. 23/04/1987, aged 84).

The Lynn branch of Collins’s China Stores was here for less than five years. They left in 1907 and sold all of their stock to Scott & Son, as announced in this notice from the Lynn Advertiser of 5th July, 1907:-

‘Messrs. SCOTT & SON have just purchased the Entire Stock of CHINA AND GLASS of Messrs. Collins, 5, High Street, Lynn, and will offer the same during the next few days at greatly Reduced Prices. Stock Must be Cleared, Regardless of Cost.’

The formal agreement disposing of the business was signed between Scott & Son and Collins Clayton & Co. and dated 13th May 1907:-

‘This Agreement Certifies that Messrs Collins Clayton & Co. China & Glass Merchants of Market Place, Wisbech and 5, High St. Lynn agrees to sell all the stock of China, Glass and earthenware and all the fixtures and fittings (excepting those scheduled in the lease) and all trade utensils, for the sum of Two Hundred and Sixty Five Pounds, this price to include the use of the premises to the end of June, 1907. The name of Collins not to be used by Scott & Son after the end of June ’07. Messrs Collins Clayton & Co. also agree not to open another shop in the Borough of King’s Lynn as China, Glass or Earthenware Merchants’.

1908 – 1912 (Frank R. Floyd & Son)

Frank Rust Floyd was a corn and flour merchant, who started business on his own account in 1888. He had premises in Queen Street (1896 Kelly) and from 1904 to 1916 his business was listed in Nelson Street (Kelly).

Frank’s father was Henry Floyd, born in Castle Acre in 1814, who married Harriette Clarke on 26th October, 1843. They had five children, all born in Castle Acre:-

1) Frederick Henry – a stone mason – (b. 1844 – m. Harriett Francis on 29/09/1878 – d. 1886, aged 41). 2) Charles – a brewery manager – (b. 1846 – d. 03/05/1927, aged 81). 3) William – District Auditor – (b. 1851 – m. Emily Charlotte Lubbock in 1872 – d. 16/09/1928, aged 78). 4) Alice Martha (b. 1852 – m. John Stevenson – d. 17/05/1895, aged 60). 5) Frank Rust – see below – (b. 1854 – m. Alma Hall in 1878 – d. 12/02/1947, aged 92).

Frank Floyd owned various properties in Lynn and his principal residence for many years was in Nelson Street, where he had a river frontage. He also had a berth in Mill Fleet. He was living in Nelson Street in 1908 when he opened his shop here at No. 5. At about this time, his business started to decline and he incurred debts and other expenses, including a large claim for damages to a barge moored at his berth, that forced him to file for bankruptcy in 1913. He had already sold the corn chandlery side of his business to his son William Henry Floyd (see below).

Although his business is listed in later Kelly directories (1916 and 1936), these may have been worded in error and perhaps related to W. H. Floyd.

Frank and Alma Floyd had two children:-

1) Jane Marion (b. 1884 – d. 22/02/1965, aged 80). 2) William Henry – see below – (b. 1892 – d. 30/08/1965, aged 73).

Alma died on 28th October, 1921, aged 66, and Frank died on 12th February, 1947, aged 92.

1912 – c1916 (W. H. Floyd & Co)

Frank Floyd sold the shop to his son William Henry in December, 1912. William had already established his own flour and animal feedstuffs business under the name of W. H. Floyd & Co. They were listed as Corn Chandlers in Kelly for 1912, but this was an entry placed by his father Frank before he relinquished the shop. Amongst other animal feeds that they sold was Armitage’s chick food:-

‘NO DEAD CHICKS – Success in chicken rearing can only be obtained by using the most reliable food. For best results start them on ARMITAGE’S BEST DRY CHICK FOOD. In bags 4d., 8d., 1/4, 2/6, etc. Manufactured by Armitage Bros. Ltd. Nottingham. Sold by W. H. Floyd, 5, High Street. King’s Lynn and agents everywhere.’

It seems that William Floyd did not place his own entries in the directories for a few years and Kelly’s for 1916 lists Frank R. Floyd, corn merchant at Nelson Street and here at No. 5.

The lease of the premises was offered for sale in April 1916, when the following notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘LOCK-UP SHOP, 5 High Street – with counting house in shop – and large warehouse at rear. To Let with immediate possession. Suitable for any business although now in occupation of Mr. W. H. Floyd as Corn Factor. Apply Mr. W. G. Cross, St. James’ Road, King’s Lynn; or Messrs. Thew & Son next door, for keys.’

Mr. W. G. Cross was the school attendance officer. It is not known who took the lease in 1916.

There is a listing for William H. Floyd’s poultry food business, King’s Staith Lane, in 1936 (Kelly) but is not known for how long after that date he was still in business.

William Henry Floyd did not marry, and he died on 30th August, 1965, aged 73.

c1922 – c1928 (Gemmell & Co.)

The drapery business founded by George Gemmell was at No. 119, High Street from 1889 until about 1916. George appears to have retired from business in about 1917, and the business was continued by his sons Duncan and Arthur under the name of Gemmell & Co. The shop had been moved to No. 5, High Street by 1922 (Kelly), and by 1928 it was at No. 1, High Street.

More details of his business and his family will be found at No. 119.

 c1929 – c1939 (Alex Cranfield)

Alex Cranfield, ‘watch maker to the trade’ was listed here in 1929, and from 1933 to 1938/9 (Kelly). However, Hartley’s ladies and children’s outfitters and general dress shop was advertising from Nos. 5, 6, & 7 High Street in the directory for 1930/31 and it would seem that Alex Cranfield leased part of the premises not used by Hartleys. The entry for Hartleys in that directory lists them at only Nos. 6 & 7 and Alex Cranfield is listed at No. 5. In the following year’s directory, Alex Cranfield is still listed at No. 5, with Arthur Colby jnr., living at No. 5a and Hartley’s at Nos. 6 & 7. In the 1933 directory, Alex Cranfield is at No. 5 but with the address for Hartley’s being Nos. 5, 6 & 7 in the same directory. The listing for Alex Cranfield and Hartleys is the same in the following year’s directory, too.

Alexander Cranfield was born in Cambridge in 1885.

From an early age, Alexander used the name Alex, and aged 16, when apprenticed to a watchmaker in Chatteris, Isle of Ely (now Cambridgeshire), this was what he was recorded as in the census of 1901. Having completed his apprenticeship, Alex worked as a watchmaker in Cambridge and by 1913 (W. P. Spalding’s Street & General Directory) he had set up on his own account at 152, Hills Road in the city.



His grandfather Samuel Salvage Cranfield was a shoemaker, who had been born in Stansfield, Suffolk, in about 1819, and who married Mary Hemmings in 1842. Samuel and Mary had four children, all born in Cambridge:-

1) Samuel – Alex’s father – a gardener – (b. 1843 – m. Ann Bailey in 1869 – d. 20/01/1924, aged 80). 2) Martha (b. 1846 – m. Philip Pedar Boon in 1875 – d. 1908, aged 62). 3) Charles – a painter – (b. 1848 – m. Mary Ann Cooper in 1877 – d. 1919, aged 70). 4) Alice (b. 1851 – m. Thomas James Tann in 1877 – d. 1907, aged 55).

Samuel Salvage Cranfield died in 1876, aged 59.

Alex’s father, Samuel Cranfield, was born in Cambridge in 1843 and worked as a gardener in the city. In 1869, Samuel married Ann Bailey (b. 1848/9 in Berkeley, Gloucs.), and they had eleven children, all but the second being born in Cambridge:-

1) Annie (b. 25/11/1871). 2) Mary E. (b. c1872 in Llantwit Major, Glamorgan – m. Arthur George Wallis in 1896). 2). Annie (b. 25/11/1871). 3) Harry – enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders on 13/04/1891. Served in India and South Africa. Awarded Long Service Medal. Re-enlisted at outbreak of WWI and served until 1919 – m. Fanny Scott on 07/11/1905 – d. 1940/1, aged 67). 4) Samuel – a plumber – (b. 1875/6). 5) Beatrice (b. 1878 – m. Albert Friston Ager in 1900 – d. 1960, aged 81). 6) Walter – a lineman for PO Telegraphs in 1911 – m. Maud King in 1904 – d. 1955, aged 75). 7) Arthur – a plumber in 1911 – (b. 1882/3 –m. Frances H. Thompson in 1917 – d. 1964, aged 81). 8) Alexander / Alex – see above – (b. 1885 – m. Ada E. Allin in 1911 – d. 1947/8, aged 63). 9) Mabel (b. 1887/8 – d. 1953, aged 65). 10) Leonard – a gardener in 1911 – (b. 27/09/1890 – m. Elsie Annie Mansbridge on 21/09/1921 – d. 1974, aged 83). 11) Jessie (b. 19/10/1892 – d. 1978, aged 85).

Alex and Ada had one child, born in Cambridge: Olive Clarice (b. 18/10/1911 – m. Arthur C. F. Green in 1939 – d. 2003, aged 92.

It is not known when Alex Cranfield gave up his business here. He died in Lynn in 1948, aged 63, and Ada died in Northamptonshire in 1974, aged 88.


c1933 – c1973 Nos. 5, 6 & 7 combined into one shop (G. M. Hartley Ltd.) (Victor Value)

Hartleys are listed here in Kelly’s Directory for 1951 and living in the flats were Ronald E. Massingham and Frederick C. A. Holden. The business of G. M. Hartley is discussed under the account for Nos. 5, 6 & 7.

On Tuesday 4th May 1965, Victor Value opened a supermarket at Nos. 5, 6 & 7 High Street, but in Kelly’s Directory for 1966, Carters, the electrical appliance, television and radio dealers, are listed here at No. 5, with Victor Value at Nos. 6 & 7.

In1973, De-Arden, curtain fabric retailers, were listed as occupying No. 5.