50, High Street.
c1836 (William Hunter)
White’s Directory for 1836 lists William Hunter, a tailor and draper, at this address. He is also recorded here in the 1837 Poll Book. Earlier, in Pigot’s directory for 1822, where no addresses are given, a Wm. Hunter and a Thomas Hunter are both listed as tailors and drapers at High Street.
c1843 – c1844 (Robert Horne)
A notice in the Lynn Advertiser for 23rd May, 1843 read:-
‘Now Selling at R. HORNE’s, 50, HIGH STREET, LYNN, (Upon no other terms but for Ready Money,) Ironmongery, Cutlery, Paper & Japa.’
Later that year, on 21st November, he advertised:-
‘WINTER SEASON – ROBERT HORNE, No. 50, High Street, Lynn, Invites attention to an assortment of plain, frosted and richly cut Lamp Glasses, suited to the winter season, at half price. As the time is now approaching, when the healthy and agreeable recreation of Skating may be anticipated, R. H. begs to offer a choice lot of Skates, on such terms as must place them within the reach of every lover of the science: viz. – half price. N. B. Ironmongery of every description, 40 per cent under the present trade price. A large assortment of Ranges, with Ovens and Boilers, – to be viewed in a few days.’
By 1844 he had moved from High Street and in Kelly’s directory for 1846 he was listed as an auctioneer, appraiser, and wholesale ironmonger, and had premises at the corner of the Tuesday Market Place.
Robert Land Horne was born in Stoke Ferry, Norfolk, in about 1805. His parents were Robert Horne and Priscilla Land, who married on 1st August, 1803. Robert jnr. married Maria Woods at Brandon, Suffolk, on 21st May, 1833, and they had one child, born in Lynn:- Emma Eliza Priscilla (b. 1840 – m. George Gates, a Suffolk farmer, in 1865 – d. 1909, aged 68).
After working as an auctioneer for a few years, Robert moved to Dalston, Tower Hamlets in London with his family. He retained the ownership of some property in Lynn, acquiring further houses in London, which he let out. By 1861 the family had moved to Brandon in Suffolk and Robert continued to let out properties.
Robert Horne died in Brandon on 19th June, 1891, and Maria moved to Bardwell to stay with her daughter and son-in-law, Emma and George Gates. Maria died in 1908, aged 98.
1844 – c1845 (Humble & Company)
In September 1844, Humble & Company opened ‘The New Tea Establishment’ at No. 50. In the Lynn Advertiser they announced:-
‘To the Inhabitants of Lynn and all Consumers of Tea throughout Norfolk. We beg to announce that we have opened the commanding Premises No. 50, HIGH STREET, LYNN, for the sale of TEAS, COFFEES, and SPICES. In introducing ourselves to your notice as Tea and Coffee Dealers, custom has established a law from which we deem it neither right nor expedient to deviate, that in all cases some reasons should be given sufficiently satisfactory to prove that the preference we seek has some solid foundation to rest upon, and not the flimsy pretensions and extravagant professions which have characterized the commencement of many.
Hitherto, Lynn, with its numerous inhabitants and populous agricultural neighbourhood, has not, in point of cheapness, reaped the advantages in Teas, Coffees, and Spices, it might have done. We therefore consider there is ample scope here for a large business to be done, if carried on under the System of Small Profits and Quick Returns, for ready money; thus a saving of at least 20 per cent has been effected to families in most large towns, and why the inhabitants of Lynn should not reap the same benefit, no reason can be assigned.
Having resided in London and had opportunities of testing the various qualities of Tea, we profess to have competent knowledge of our trade, and when it is considered into how many kinds this article is divided, and the necessity of avoiding alike weak and insipid descriptions, as well as those which are untrue or spurious, this qualification cannot be overstated.
Tea, from being a mere luxury, has now become a highly important and necessary article of subsistence, and forms a considerable item in the expenditure of every family. To be enabled, therefore, to purchase it in its proper and native purity, at the lowest remunerating price, has become a matter of the first importance.
We ground our claim to your support upon those principles only which can accomplish this object, and those which must be productive of your confidence, namely, by uniting excellence in quality with moderation in price, purchasing our Teas in the Best Markets, and selecting such only as are of sterling value, and characterized by fine quality, richness of flavour, and real cheapness.
To enumerate a long list of prices is a very fallacious mode of demonstrating cheapness. We shall call attention to a few which are most generally in demand for common domestic purposes, and the finest qualities that can or need be required by the most fastidious Tea Drinker.
We must under any circumstances, leave it to you to decide on our real merits and qualifications; and as these can only be evinced by a trial, and comparison with our neighbours, so it is the only test we desire, and we shall be content to abide by the result.’
Although it is not clear who was involved in the firm of Humble & Company, it may have been grocer George Taylor Humble (b. c1820 in Crathorne, Yorkshire – m. Annie Porter in 1844). If this is so, he did not stay very long in Norfolk and had returned to London by 1851, taking a job with another grocer. By 1871 he had the job of a manager to a tea dealer in Lewes, Sussex, and had retired to Preston by 1881.
c1845 – 1851 (Thomas Banks)
By 1845, Thomas Banks (b. c1806), a grocer and tea dealer, had taken over the premises. In 1841, he had been trading in Norwich, in Jail Hill, where he was living with his wife Elizabeth (née Burrell b. c1806 in Norfolk), and their six-week-old son Thomas (b. Norwich). He apparently continued trading and living in Norwich, where he leased premises owned by the City Council at ‘New Library Opening’ on the Market Place. He was a prominent citizen, taking a part in civic affairs and supporting local, national and international appeals and causes, including the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. He was an insurance company agent and the chairman of the Norwich Wholesale and Retail Grocers.
On 20th September, 1845 he placed an advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser containing a long list of the groceries he stocked with prices. He announced that he had expanded his business:-
‘THOMAS BANKS, Proprietor of the LYNN and WEST NORFOLK TEA & COFFEE ESTABLISHMENT, 50, High Street, Lynn,
RESPECTFULLY acknowledges the very extensive patronage which he has received from the Inhabitants of Lynn and the surrounding Neighbourhood, and begs to acquaint them that inconsequence of repeated solicitations from a considerable number of his Customers, he has decided on adding to his TEA and COFFEE TRADE the
GENERAL GROCERY BUSINESS.
The premises have been extensively altered, and are so arranged that each department will be kept distinct. The greatest care will be exercised in the Selection and Purchase of Goods from the FIRST MARKETS, and the Proprietor flatters himself that 50, High Street will be found the BEST and CHEAPEST TEA, COFFEE and GROCERY ESTABLISHMENT in the BOROUGH of KING’S LYNN.’
In October, 1847, he advertised a tower windmill and miller’s house to let in the Norfolk News. Although the precise location was not given in the advertisement, it was described as being within 15 miles of Norwich. He also apparently had property close to London, advertising for a house maid and a groom in The Norfolk News on 17th January, 1846. The groom’s duties were to include having ‘to assist in the garden occasionally, and to milk a cow’.
Elizabeth Banks died in 1844 and Thomas married again, at Hingham on 23rd November, 1846, to Mrs. Mary Mann, the widow of the late John Mann, of Shropham. They lived happily for a few years but Thomas had unknowingly been racking up considerable business debts and had invested heavily in railway company shares. In July 1850, he decided to sell his business to pay off his debts and to live off his wife’s income. He eventually told Mary of his financial plight and she was so upset that she suffered a seizure and within 24 hours, on Monday 25th November, 1850, she had died, at the age of 51. At this point, Thomas became utterly distraught, through the combination of Mary’s death and his financial plight. His friends and his solicitor were so concerned about his state of mind that they appointed a ‘keeper’ from the local asylum to watch him and make sure that he did not harm himself. Unfortunately, Thomas gave him the slip, running off and jumping into the River Wensum, where he drowned, on Friday 29th November, 1850.
In Slater’s directory for 1850, the Lynn business is listed as that of ‘Thomas Banks & Co.’ and it appears as such in a few advertisements.
Thomas Banks jnr., who was orphaned by the death of his father, went to live with his 82-year-old grandfather James Burrell in Magdalen Street, Norwich. He later became an apprentice grocer to Henry Metcalf (see below), and was living with him here at No. 50 in 1861.
1851 – 1872 (Henry Metcalf)
Born in Norwich in about 1819, Henry Metcalf took over the business in 1851, following the death of Thomas Banks, and was living here with his wife and two children. However, in an advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser on 9th July, 1859, he stated:-
‘It is now FOURTEEN YEARS since the above Establishment was opened under the IMMEDIATE SUPERINTENDENCE of its PRESENT PROPRIETOR…’
It would appear, therefore, that he was manager here for Thomas Banks for about six years prior to succeeding to the business.
Henry married Elizabeth Emma Higgins (b. c1822 in Norwich) in 1846 in Norwich. They had moved to Lynn by 1848 and had at least fourteen children, all born in the town:-
1) Henry Edward, a laundry worker (b. 1847/8 – d. 1916, aged 68). 2) Elizabeth Emma (b.1848/9 – died in infancy). 3) Thomas Banks (b. 1849 – died in infancy). 4) Amelia Harriet, a domestic servant in Norwich in 1901 (b. 1850 –– d. Hertfordshire 1934/5, aged 84). 5) Elizabeth Emma (b. 1852 – died in infancy). 6) Mary Anne, a housekeeper in Norwich in 1911 – living with Catherine Louisa (b. 1853 – d. 1917, aged 64). 7) Elizabeth Emma (b. 1854 – d. 1864, aged nine). 8) William James – worked as a railway van man (b. 1856 – m. Lucy Maud Wright in 1876 – d. Halifax 1927, aged 71). 9) Harriet Ellen (b. 1857). 10) Anna Maria (b. 1858/9). 11) James Burrell – worked as a grocer in Ipswich in 1911 (b. 1859/60 – m. Esther Robertson Fielding in 1886– d. 1941, aged 81). 12) Catherine Louisa – a mother’s help in 1891 (b. 1861– a masseuse in 1911 – d. Norwich 1928, aged 67). 13) Thomas Banks (b. 1862 – m. Mary Jane Leaning in 1893/4 – worked as a crane fitter in Wakefield in 1911 – d. 1943 in Lancashire, aged 81). 14) Herbert (b. 1866 –worked as a compositor in the printing trade in 1911 – d. 1915, aged 48).
By 1875, the business had moved to No. 122, Norfolk Street, Lynn, where it is listed in Kelly’s Directory for that year. In 1881, Henry and Elizabeth were there with their children, Amelia, Catherine and Herbert. The Norfolk Street business is listed again in White’s directory for 1890 but within a year of that date, Henry had retired to live in Southgate Street, Lynn.
Henry died in 1898, aged 79, a few months before Elizabeth’s death later that year, aged 75.
1872 – 1880 (Charles Meadows Smith)
No. 50, High Street became Charles Meadows Smith’s confectionery shop. One of his specialities, in an advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser on 14th December, 1872 was his ‘Best Bride Cakes’, ranging in weight from 1lb to 150lbs. He is listed here at No. 50 in Kelly’s Directory of 1875 and in the directory for 1879. Although the business is listed again under his name in the directory for 1883 and two later ones, Charles Meadows Smith had died in 1880 at the age of 56.
Charles was born in Lynn about 1823 and was the son of Hubbard (b. c1796 – d. 1864) and Elizabeth Smith (b. c1796). Hubbard Smith was a butcher, listed in White’s directory for 1836 at 19, St. James Street. Earlier, he had worked as a fishmonger (see No. 30, High Street). Hubbard and Elizabeth are known to have had at least five children:-
1). Hubbard jnr. (b. 1819 – a mariner – m. Elizabeth Shearling in 1849 – d. 1897, aged 76). 2) Eleanor (b. c1822 – d. 1856). 3) Charles Meadows (b. 1824 – m. Uri Winlove in 1851 – d. 1880, aged 56). 4) Emma (b. c1832). 5) Frederick (b. c1836).
Charles was running his own bakery at 18, Tower Street in about 1851. Previously, it had been the business of Thomas Mitchell, who is listed there in Slater’s directory for 1850. Charles placed a notice in the Lynn Advertiser 0n the 3rd January, 1857:-
‘CHARLES M. SMITH, Begs to return his sincere thanks to the inhabitants of Lynn and its vicinity for the kind patronage he has received during his seven years residence in Tower Street, and begs to inform them that he has removed to No. 1 bis, Nelson Street, where he hopes, by supplying them with the superior articles he has hitherto done, to retain a liberal share of their support.
N.B. – The Trade supplied with the RICHEST WEDDING CAKES MADE, Ornamented in the French Style. All kinds of Sweets at London prices.’
However, the subsequent two directories for 1863 and 1868 (both Harrod) list him at 18, Tower Street. Based on these directory entries, he may have remained at Tower Street until the move to No. 50, High Street in 1872.
In 1851, Charles married Uri Winlove (b. c1831 in Snettisham, Norfolk). Uri was the daughter of John Winlove (b. c1799 – d. 1874/5, aged 76), who ran the post office in Snettisham alongside his bakery. Charles and Uri had eight children:-
1) Charles Winlove – see below (b. 1852 – m. Charlotte Emma Maria Dorer in 1880 – d. 20/03/1912, aged 59). 2) Margaret Ann (b. 1854). 3) Elizabeth Lucy (b. 1855/6 – m. Thomas Gray Rix, a baker in 1878). 4) Thomas Henry Meadows– see below and Nos. 9 and 90 (b. 1858 – m. Charlotte Pamment in 1896 – d. 1940, aged 75). 5) Ellen Winlove (b. 1860 – m. William Charles Bradfield in 1886 – see No. 51 – d. 1922, aged 62). 6) George Winlove, a fishmonger (b. 1863 – m. Frances / Fanny Maria Loe in 1885). 7) Alfred Winlove (b. 1866). 8.) Florence Winlove (b. 1868 – m. Henry Stoate, a dairyman, in 1892 – d. 1951, aged 83).
Following the death of Charles Smith snr., in 1880, Uri continued running the business with Charles jnr., who lived at Valingers Road. Uri died in 1890, aged 60, and Charles jnr. moved with his family to No. 50.
c1880 (Thomas Henry Meadows Smith)
On 3rd January, 1880, T. M. Smith advertised in the Lynn Advertiser that he ‘will be happy to receive pupils for the Pianoforte. Quarter commencing from any date. Terms Moderate. Apply 50, High Street.’ This was Charles’ and Uri’s son, Thomas Henry Meadows Smith.
Thomas had suffered a childhood accident with a spinning top which had hit his eyes. Although one eye was less severely damaged than the other, surgical techniques were not sufficiently advanced at that date to save his sight, and he was left totally blind. He was educated at the Birmingham School for the Blind where he learnt music and Braille. In 1891, he was lodging next door at No. 51 with his sister, Mrs Ellen Bradfield, but was still listed at this address in Kelly’s Directory for 1892, as a professor of music. Later that same year he seems to have formed a partnership with Robert Pamment and they opened a music shop at No. 90 before moving to No. 9 in 1911.
Thomas died in 1940, aged 75, and more details about him may be found at Nos. 9 and 90, High Street.
c1887 (Charles Winlove Smith)
Charles Winlove Smith was born in 1852 and married Charlotte Emma Maria Dorer in King’s Lynn in 1880. She was the daughter of Francis Dorer (b. c1828 in Baden, Germany) a watch and clock maker with premises in Railway Road. Charles and Charlotte had seven children:-
1) Charles Meadows (b. 1880). 2) Maud Margaret (b. 1881/2 – m. Louis Fountaine Eagleton, an architect, in 1910 – d. 1951, aged 68). 3) Grace Winlove (b. 1883 – d. 1965/6, aged 82). 4) Florence Winifred (b. 1885/6 m. Major Harry Joel Amos in 1909 – d. 1963/4, aged 78). 5) Ethel Mary (b. 1887/8 – d. 1961/2, aged 74). 6) Dora Evelyn (b. 1889 – m. Walter H. Rutter in 1913 – d. 1949, aged 60). 7) Mabel Winlove (b. 11/12/1892 – d. 1977/8).
Charles took over the family confectionary business here at No. 50, High Street following his mother’s death in 1890, but may have been running the business for a few years prior to that. On 3rd December, 1887 he advertised ‘Wedding Cakes from Five Shillings to Twenty Guineas’. Deliveries were by horse and cart in those days and Charles Winlove Smith needed a stable and cart house that was convenient to his business. On 6th September, 1890, he advertised in the Lynn Advertiser:-
‘WANTED, to hire, a Stable and Cart House, near High Street – C. W. Smith, 50, High Street, King’s Lynn’.
He was living here, aged 38, with Charlotte and their six children in 1891 and advertised his display at that year’s trades’ exhibition in the Lynn Advertiser on 14th November:-
‘TRADES EXHIBITION CHARLES WINLOVE SMITH, Confectioner to H. R. H. THE PRINCE OF WALES – 50, High Street, King’s Lynn, Will Exhibit SPECIMENS OF WEDDING CAKES, HIGH CLASS CONFECTIONERY, CASKETS AND BOXES OF CHOCOLATE COSAQUES, FRENCH AND ENGLISH SWEETS &c.’
Charles Winlove Smith recruited some of his staff via the ‘Wanted’ column of the Lynn Advertiser, placing the following notice in 7th May. 1892:-
‘CONFECTIONERY. – C. W. Smith has a Vacancy in the shop for tall young lady As Apprentice; out-door – 50, High street, King’s Lynn.’
The reference to ‘out-door’ in advertisements like this meant that the apprentice would not be living in. In the drapery business, in particular, it was common for the young staff, and often some of the older staff, too, to live on the premises. This also happened in the confectionery trade and in other businesses, but to a lesser extent.
Charlotte also advertised for staff in the ‘Wanted’ column of the newspaper, although it is not clear whether she was running a registry for servants or seeking help in the home. On 19th November, 1892, she placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser:-
‘WANTED, a Nurse, also a good General Servant, not under 20 years of age – Mrs. Smith, 50, High street, King’s Lynn.’
Charles was commissioned to make the cake for the christening of H. R. H. Prince Albert (later King George VI), and he placed the following announcement in the Lynn Advertiser on 7th March, 1896:-
‘SANDRINGHAM. THE Christening Cake of H. R. H. Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George, which was in part designed by H. R. H. the Duchess of York, afforded great satisfaction. It was spoken of by the daily and other journals throughout the kingdom as “a perfect specimen of high-class piping in sugar” and was, by command, made by Mr. C. WINLOVE SMITH, of King’s Lynn, confectioner to H. R. H. the Prince of Wales.’
At the start of 1902, Charles opened a new dining room at No. 50, advertising hot lunches, dinners and teas (above, right). He also hired out a full range of crockery and other items and undertook outside catering for events, which became a large part of his business. On 20th November, 1903, he advertised:-
‘CHARLES WINLOVE SMITH, Confectioner & Caterer, by Royal Warrant to His Majesty the King, 50, High Street, King’s Lynn. SHOW-ROOM NOW OPEN. The largest and Best Selected Stock in West Norfolk of FANCY GOODS for Christmas ans the New Year. CASKETS and BOXES of CHOCOLATES, COSAQUES, CHRISTMAS TREE PRESENTS and ORNAMENTS. The Newest Designs in Fancy Table Decorations. ROYAL MINCEMEAT NOW READY. EPERGNES, FRUIT-STANDS, ELECTRO-PLATE, and every requisite on hire for “At Homes”, Luncheons, Teas, Supper and Wedding Parties, for which C. W. S. is likewise prepared to cater on any scale.’
At the end of the following year, Charles placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser:-
‘50, HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN, 30th December, 1904. LADIES & GENTLEMEN; In reviewing my business for the year now ending, I am deeply grateful to my many patrons for their continued confidence and support. The flattering testimonials as to my catering, from the Royal House downward, have been most encouraging, and I trust that during the year we are about to enter the same satisfaction will be given. I assure you that no effort on my part will be lacking to keep up the high standard of efficiency for which my business has been noted since its establishment by my father some fifty-five years ago. Wishing all a happy New Year, I am yours respectfully, C. WINLOVE SMITH, Confectioner and Caterer, By Royal Warrant, to His Majesty the King.’
Charles Winlove Smith died on 20th March 1912, aged 59. On 1st April that year, his widow Charlotte issued the following statement, which appeared in the Lynn Advertiser:-
‘The Business carried on by CHARLES WINLOVE SMITH, deceased, as a Caterer and Confectioner at 50, High Street, King’s Lynn, and the Dining and Tea Rooms there, will be carried on in future at the same address and in the same manner as heretofore by me, C. E. M. SMITH, Widow and Sole Executrix of the said C. Winlove Smith.’
1912 – 1931 (Charlotte Winlove Smith) (Charles Meadows Winlove Smith)
Charlotte maintained a controlling interest in the business and continued to be actively involved in its running and management, in partnership with her son Charles Meadows Winlove Smith. During the First World War, Charles served in the Royal Naval Air Service. However, the business continued throughout the war years without interruption and, indeed, it expanded with the opening of the ‘Grosvenor Restaurant’ in June 1915:-
‘C. WINLOVE SMITH, Caterer and Confectioner to Their Majesties KING GEORGE V and QUEEN MARY, and Her Majesty QUEEN ALEXANDRA, %0, High Street, King’s Lynn. First Class Dining and Tea Rooms. Afternoon Teas. Wedding and Afternoon Tea Cakes.
NOTICE: The GROSVENOR RESTAURANT, Norfolk Street, King’s Lynn, IS NOW OPEN. Spacious Dining Rooms and Buffet. Smoke Room and Bar Lounge. Hot Luncheons, Teas and Dinners, at Most Moderate Prices. Large Convenient Rooms Available for Club Meetings, Banquets, etc. Every Modern Improvement.’
Charles M. W. married Mabel Louise Saward (b. 1886 in Lowestoft – d. 1937, aged 50) in 1907/8. She was the daughter of Willie S. Saward (b. c1862 in Essex), a pork butcher of Tower Street in Lynn.
Charles Meadows Winlove Smith died on 17th February, 1931, aged 50.
His mother Charlotte once again took over day-to-day management of the business, which included ‘The Grosvenor Restaurant’ at 13, Norfolk Street, and continued running it until 1934, when she retired. She disposed of the High Street confectionery and catering business but retained The Grosvenor. She died in 1962 at the age of 104.
1934 – c1950 (Victor Beesley)
In May, 1934, Victor Beesley acquired the business from Charlotte but continued it for a while under the Winlove Smith name.
Victor was born in Lincoln in 1887, the son of market gardener Daniel Beesley (b. c1852 in Berkshire – d. 1930, aged 80) and Catherine Palmer (b. 1862 in Northamptonshire – d. 1909/10, aged 49). Daniel and Catherine had married in 1877/8 and had eleven children:-
1) George Daniel (b. 1878 – a laundryman 1911 – m. Mary E. Wilson in 1912 – d. 1962, aged 84). 2) William Henry (b. 1879). 3) Arthur Edwin (b. 1882). 4) Florence Mary (b. 7th April, 1885 – m. William G. Burgoyne in 1913 – d. 1977). 5) Kate Ellen (b. 14th May,1886 – m. Joseph Cheetham in 1915 – d. 1976). 6) Victor (b. 1887 – m. Ada Elizabeth Needham in 1909/10 and Margaret E. Crowter in 1945 – d. 1962, aged 74). 7) Walter (b. 1889). 8) Charles (b. 1890/1). 9) Edith (b. 1892). 10) Thomas (b. 1893/4). 11) Alfred (b. 1902).
Victor married Ada Elizabeth Needham in 1909/10, and they lived at Spilsby in Lincolnshire, where he was a Police Constable. Victor and Ada had one daughter; Victoria Gladys (b.1910 – m. Guy William Swain in 1933).
The premises were now named the Imperial Café, and in January 1939 there was a small fire there that caused some damage. Victor Beesley subsequently carried out a refurbishment and by the summer of that year he had re-opened it with his own name now appearing on the fascia. In the Lynn Advertiser for 28th July he announced:-
‘Mr. V. BEESLEY, Proprietor of Winlove Smiths, the well-known old-established Caterers and Confectioners, begs to announce that the extensions and re-equipment of the Café Imperial, High Street, are now complete.
The luxuriously appointed new Café Lounge and Restaurant are now open for MORNING COFFEE, LUNCHEONS, AFTERNOON TEAS, and DINNERS. Seating accommodation for 150. Beautifully appointed rooms available for Wedding Receptions, Parties, and other Social and Business Functions.
We specialise in Wedding, Birthday, and Christening Cakes, and all descriptions of Continental Gateaux Confections, which are the most exclusive obtainable in the provinces. We guarantee that only the purest ingredients are used, including fresh eggs, dairy butter and cream. Only highly skilled men are employed in our model all-electric bakery, which has been specially equipped to obviate handling of goods in production.
We extend a cordial invitation to all our customers, who are assured of unfailing courtesy and consideration. All orders and enquiries will receive our most careful attention, in accordance with the tradition of this old-established business.’
The refurbishment could not have been more unfortunate in its timing, with war being declared on September 3rd, 1939. Like every other business in High Street, the Café Imperial must have struggled during the war years and Victor Beesley did not retain ownership for many years afterwards. By 1951, A. B. Woodcock, bakers, had moved in to No. 50.
Ada Beesley died in February, 1943, and Victor married Margaret E. Crowter in 1945. They moved to Cambridge, where he died in 1962, aged 74, and she died in 1967/8, aged 67.
c1951 – c1973 (A. B. Woodcock Ltd.)
B. Woodcock Ltd., bakers, are listed at No. 50 in Kelly’s directories for 1951, 1960 and 1973. The business appears to have been started by Arthur Brewster Woodcock who was born in Uppingham in 1884. His father was George Woodcock (b. c1854), a baker and confectioner, who married Mary Louisa Thorpe (b. c1855) in Grantham in 1878. George and Mary had nine children:-
1) Leo – a building contractor (b. 1879 – m. Esther Abdy in 1909 – d. 12/12/1952, aged 73). 2) William Neville – a chauffeur (b. 1880– m. Mary Ching in 1907 – d. 02/10/1958, aged 77). 3) George Alfred (b. 1882 – m. Jane Goldsmith in 1906 – d. 1914, aged 31). 4) Arthur Brewster (b. 1884 – m. Violet Brooks in 1921 – d. 03/12/1948, aged 64). 5) Frances Grace (b. 25/06/1886 – d. 1975). 6) Samuel (b. 27/01/1887 – m. Mary Hammonds – d. 1972). 7) Harold (b. 1891 – m. Ivy Rhoda Cox – d. 26/07/1945). 8) Kathleen Emily (b. 1893 – m. George Douglas in 1923 – d. 1987). 9) Lawrence (b. 1895 – m. Emily Elizabeth Dolton – d. 29/04/1963).
Arthur Woodcock was a very well-known baker and confectioner who developed and patented a number of confectionery methods and manufacturing equipment. The business was based in Peterborough. In 1929, A. B. Woodcock received a bronze medal at the Confectioners, Bakers and Allied Trades Exhibition in London.
Arthur died on 3rd December 1948, aged 64, but the business continued without a change in name for many years thereafter.
The date that A. B. Woodcock’s shop here closed is not known.
c2000 – c2015 (Accessorize) (Dates uncertain)
Monsoon fashion store was founded in 1973 by Peter Simon following a tour of Asia where he was inspired by the vibrant fabrics colours and designs of the clothes. He determined to introduce a range of colourful fashions into the British market, and opened his first Monsoon store in Beauchamp Place, London, in 1973. His first collection featured clothes made in Indian villages using hand-loomed cotton fabrics, vegetable dyes and traditional block-printing techniques.
The sister brand Accessorize was introduced in 1983 in London’s Covent Market piazza. Monsoon launched their children’s wear range in 1994 and Monsoon Home in 1999.
The King’s Lynn branch of Accessorize was here at No. 50, High Street from about 2000 until about 2015 (dates uncertain), when it moved into No. 76 alongside Monsoon.