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52 and 52½, High Street

For very many years, from 1822 or earlier, this was a gun shop.

There would appear to have been other commercial uses accommodated at this address, probably in buildings at the rear of the premises. In Kelly’s directory for 1858, alongside John Youngs Potter’s gun shop are listed Mrs. Mary Daisley, a straw bonnet maker, and her husband Thomas H. Daisley, a ship owner. They can also be found at Nos. 53 and 55, High Street.

c1822 – 1852 (M. S. Spencer) (Matthew Spencer jnr.)

  1. S. Spencer, a gun maker, is listed in High Street in Pigot’s directory for 1822. He is recorded as a gunsmith in Red Cow Street (later Church Street), Lynn in 1804.

This would have been the father of Matthew Spencer jnr. The latter is listed here in White’s Directory for 1836, and in the 1837 Poll Book, where he is down as ‘Matthew Spencer jnr’. Another Matthew Spencer is listed in the same Poll Book at an address in Tower Street. It would appear, therefore, that M. S. Spencer died after 1837, but the record for this has not been found yet.

In 1841, Matthew Spencer jnr. is recorded here in the census. Born in about 1803 in King’s Lynn, he was baptised at St. Margaret’s church on 24th September, that year. His parents were Matthew and Elizabeth Spencer. He married Mary Ann Lunn (b. c1806 in Lynn) at St. Margaret’s church on 23rd July, 1829. They had four children:-

1) Mary Elizabeth (b. c1830 – m. William Henry Langford on 28/08/1850 – d. 1851/2, aged about 22). 2) Elizabeth (b. c1832). 3) Matthew (b. c1834 – d. 1851, aged 17). 4) Robert (b. 1838 – m. Mary Anne Billing on 23rd December, 1863).

Working as an assistant to Matthew Spencer for several years was John Lyons, who established his own business at No. 1, Norfolk Street after the former’s death in August, 1852, at the age of 49.

1852 – c1858 (John Bales Boreham)

John Bales Boreham was the next occupier of the property. On 13th August, 1853 he advertised a sale of the stock of Matthew Spencer:-

‘GUN MANUFACTORY, 52, High Street, Lynn, BOREHAM, late SPENCER, respectfully invites the attention of Gentlemen, Sportsmen, Emigrants and others, to his large and valuable stock of Guns, Rifles, Pistols, Powder Flasks, Shot Pouches, etc., which will be found not surpassed by any other gun-maker in the county. The Stock, formerly Spencer’s, will be sold 20 per cent. less. Work executed on more reasonable terms than formerly in this Establishment. Agent for Eley’s Waterproof Caps, Waddings, and Wire Cartridges. Self-adjusting Trusses made to order.  Agent for the National Provincial Life and Fire Office. Licensed Dealer in Game.’

Born in Ipswich in about 1817, John Boreham married Harriet Todman Squire (b. c1818 – d. 1911, aged 93) in 1843. They had seven children:-

1) John Squire – a gun maker at 17, Petty Cury, Cambridge – retired by 1891 – (b. 1844 in Pakefield, Suffolk –– m. Caroline Holden Bales in 1865 – d. 1926, aged 82). 2) Margaret Marian – lived in China – (b. 1846 – m. William Watson in 1869/70). 3) Kate Emma (b. 1848 – m. Thomas Frederick Wright in 1869 – d. 1883, aged 35). 4) William Todman, a doctor (b. 1849 – m. Emma Cook in 1872/3 – d. 1902, aged 53). 5) Edith Amelia (b. 1851 – m. John Desborough Robinson in 1872/3 – and her brother-in-law Thomas Frederick Wright in 1884 – d. 1905/6, aged 54). 6) Nathaniel Squire (b. in Lynn in 1854 – died in infancy). 7) Frank Squire, a physician & surgeon (b. King’s Lynn in 1855/6 –– m. Annie Shakeshaft in 1886/7).

John Boreham was here until at least 1856 but then moved to Great Yarmouth where he continued working as a gun manufacturer before retiring to Kessingland, near Lowestoft in Suffolk where he rented out property. His eldest son followed him into the gun-making business but his other two entered the medical profession. He died in Suffolk on 29/06/1909, aged 92 and Harriet died a year later, on 10/04/1910, aged 93.

c1858 – 1891 (John Youngs Potter)

Next to take over the gun-making business at No. 52 was John Youngs Potter, born in Pentney in about 1828 (baptised at Pentney on 6th April, 1828). His parents were Youngs Potter and Sarah Balding, who had two other sons baptised at Pentney; Joseph Cocksedge (bap. 25/03/1817 – see No. 91, High Street), and Thomas, a carpenter (bap. 24/03/1822 – m. Ann Maria Curry in Lynn in 1841). A fourth son, George, (b. c1812) lived at Pentney and worked as a gamekeeper. Joseph Cocksedge Potter’s eldest son, Joseph Cocksedge jnr., had a tobacconist’s shop at No. 53, High Street for almost twenty years.

Details of Youngs and Sarah Potter and their family are given with those for Joseph Cocksedge Potter snr., at No. 91.

John Youngs Potter married Sarah Ann Rey at Stepney Baptist Church, Broad Street, Lynn on 3rd March, 1850. In 1851 at census time they were staying with his brother Thomas Potter, at Hanover Square in London. This was close to where John Youngs Potter worked for one of the most prestigious gunsmiths in England, Harris Holland of Bond Street. His daughter Eliza Hannah, an only child, was born in London in 1850/1.

By 1858, John and Sarah Ann had moved back to Norfolk and were living here at No. 52, High Street. He was listed as a ‘gun, pistol maker, dealer in archery & fishing tackle, & cutler’ in Kelly’s Directory of 1858.

On 26th June 1858, he placed the following advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘GUNS. J. Potter, Practical Gun, Rifle, and Pistol Manufacturer, from Holland’s, London, 52, HIGH STREET, LYNN, returns his sincere thanks to his friends and the public in general for the very liberal support he has received since entering upon the above business, and hopes by strict attention to merit a continuance of their future favors. Also would call the attention of gentlemen and sportsmen to his superior stock of DOUBLE and SINGLE BARRELL GUNS, RIFLES and PISTOLS, which he is now manufacturing, suited for every description of shooting; and, from his many years experience as workman and practical foreman in a first class London House, he is able to produce an article in every respect equal in any respect to any of the London makers, giving all that solidity of work, beauty of shape and finish, combined with strength and regularity of shooting, which makes a gun so deadly in the field. Gentlemen honouring J. P. with an order may have the advantage of viewing it in every stage of its manufacture, also testing its shooting qualities before delivery. BREECH LOADING GUNS. J. P. is now altering the old muzzle loading double and single barrel guns to breech loaders, giving additional strength to the barrels. Those that would not stand proof before will stand well after alteration. A select assortment of Cutlery and Fishing Tackle, Archery, Cricketing Goods, and every article requisite for sportsmen, all of which will be offered at lowest possible remunerating prices.’

In 1871, he employed one man and one boy in his gun-making business, living on the premises with his wife and their daughter Eliza, then 18 years-old.

Sarah Ann Potter died in 1872, at the age of 45.

In 1881 and 1891 John was still here with his daughter. Eliza did not marry and lived in Goodwins Road in Lynn for many years and was a friend of Eliza Weston (see Nos. 95 and 103, High Street).

John Youngs Potter continued in business here until his death on 13th November, 1891 at the age of 63.

1892 – 1941 (Thomas Clough) (Lionel George Clough) (Adeline Eliza Clough)

The business was taken over by Thomas Clough of Bath in July, 1892, and a notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser on the 2nd of that month:- ‘GUNS! GUNS!! GUNS!!! 52, High Street, King’s Lynn. The Executors of the late Mr. JOHN YOUNGS POTTER, Gun-maker, beg to announce that they have disposed of the business carried on by him for upwards of 30 years at the above address to Mr. THOMAS CLOUGH, of Bath, on whose behalf they respectfully solicit a continuance of the support and patronage given to his predecessor.

THOMAS CLOUGH, Practical Gun-maker, Fishing Rod and Tackle Manufacturer. In succeeding the above old-established business, desires to ensure the country gentlemen and sportsmen of West Norfolk and district that all orders with which he may be favoured will receive his personal attention and be executed with the utmost care and promptitude, and he trusts that by supplying goods of the best quality and workmanship he will secure a continuance of the support so long enjoyed by the late Mr. Potter. A well-assorted stock of Fishing Rods, Tackle, Cricket and Tennis Goods will be kept, and special attention given to repairs in this department. The experienced Foreman for many years in the employ of the late Mr. Potter will remain with Mr. Clough.’

Born in about 1830 in Bath, Thomas was the eldest son of John and Martha Clough. John had been born in Liverpool in about 1799 and Martha (b. c1802) came from Bath. They had four children, all born in Bath:-

1) Catherine Martha (b. c1826 – m. Samuel Hayward in 1849 – d.1899/1900 aged 73). 2) Thomas – see below (b. c1830 m. Helen Dyer in 1864 – d.1895, aged 66).  3) George (b. c1832 – d. 1869/70, aged 38). 4) John Robert (b. c1834 – d. 1880, aged 46).

John Clough snr. had a gun making business in Southgate Street in Bath, which was listed under just his name in 1846 and as ‘Clough & Son’ in 1852, which would be about when Thomas had finished his apprenticeship and joined his father in the business. Meanwhile, John Robert was also learning the trade, and when their father died in 1860, the two siblings came together as ‘Clough Brothers’ with premises at 9, Bond Street, Bath. The partnership lasted until John Robert died in 1880, aged 46.

Thomas married Helen Dyer (b. c1841 in Bath) in 1864 and they had three children:-

1) Martha Helen (b. 1865). 2) Annie (b. 1866/7). 3) Lionel George (b. 1871 – m. Adeline E. Sharp in 1912 – d. 1939, aged 68).

Helen Clough died in 1875, aged 35, and Thomas brought up the three children on his own. Lionel became an apprentice to his father and would just have completed his training when Thomas moved the family to King’s Lynn. However, within three years of the move, Thomas died, in 1895, aged 66, leaving Lionel to continue on his own, although he retained the name of ‘Thomas Clough’. The business flourished and in due course he took over Thomas Johnson & Son’s of the Market Place, Swaffham.

In 1912, Lionel married Adeline Eliza Sharp, the daughter of Granville and Caroline Sharp (see No. 35, High Street). They had no children.

Lionel and Adeline moved from High Street and went to live at 48, King Street, but the two sisters stayed here at No. 52 for the rest of their lives.

All three Clough siblings died in 1939; Martha on 12th February, Annie on 26th May, aged 70, and Lionel on 5th October, aged 68. Adeline continued the business for one more year, until her death on 9th November, 1940, aged 68.

The members of staff in 1939 included: J. C. Jarvis, F. Curston, P. Collison, C. F. Brewster, A. J. Brewster, and B. Newdick.

1940 – 1982 (Gallyon & Sons Ltd.)

Gallyon & Sons were Cambridge gun makers, established in 1784 by William Gallyon I. His son, William Gallyon II (b. c1796 – d. 1842) married Mary Hardy at Sproughton, Suffolk, on 6th September, 1826, and they had at least three children:-

1) Mary Ann (b. 27/10/1828). 2) William John I – see below (b. 08/11/1829 – m. Mary Ann Larkins in 1850 – d. 1878, aged 48). 3) Rebecca (b. 23rd July, 1831).

William Gallyon II may have had the middle name of John because William John Gallyon, was recorded in Pigot’s Cambridgeshire directory for 1830/1 as a gun maker with premises in Green Street, Cambridge.

William Gallyon II and his wife Mary Ann, who did not come from Cambridgeshire, had at least four children:-

1) Mary Ann (b. c1827 – m. Charles Hoppett in 1850 – d. 1855). 2) William John I (b. 08/08/1829 – m. Mary Ann Larkins in 1850 – d. 1878, aged 48). 3) Rebecca (b. 23/07/1831 – m. Thomas Newman in 1854 – d. 1913, aged 81). 4) Jemima, a ladies’ outfitter in Hastings (b. 10/10/1835 – d. 1921, aged 87).

William Gallyon II died in 1842, aged about 46, and his wife Mary Ann, who did not come from Cambridgeshire, died in 1845, aged about 49.

After the death of William Gallyon II the business was continued without a change of name by his son William John I, who married Mary Ann Larkins in Cambridge in 1850. William John I and Mary Ann had at least five children:-

1) William John II (b. 1851 – m. Emma Sophia Peckham in 1873 – d. 1919, aged 68). 2) Henry Charles Isaac (b. 1855 – d. 1857). 3) (Mary Ann (b. 1857 – m. William John Leader in 1885 – d. 1948, aged 90). 4) Elizabeth Ellen (b. 1862 – m. Augustus Emmanuel Rutter in 1883 – d. 1885, aged 22). 5) Caroline Martha (b. 1866/7 – d. 1888, aged 21). 6) Theophilus Percy (b. 1872 – m. Mahala Woolard in 1909/10 – d. 1929/30, aged 57).

It would appear that William John 1 had a serious drinking problem and that this led to an unfortunate accident, as reported in the Cambridge Chronicle of 19th February, 1859:-

‘The other day, William Gallyon, a gunsmith in Bridge Street, was walking down Portugal Place with two loaded pistols about his person when, in consequence of his reeling against the wall, one of them went off, and the contents shattered his hand and otherwise injured various parts of his person. Serious fears are entertained as to his recovery.’

Although he may have recovered sufficiently to continue working, his injuries may have affected his business, and in October 1862 he was declared bankrupt. At the time of the 1871 census, he was not living at home with his wife and family, but was boarding at an inn in Round Church Street, close to the house and shop in Bridge Street. He died on 11th June, 1878, of ‘Delirium Tremens’ aged 48, at the home of his son, William John II.

In 1879, the business was listed as that of ‘William Gallyon & Son’. It would appear that Mary Ann, who remained at 66, Bridge Street with her younger children, continued to run the business and that William John II, who by this date was about 27 years old, was a partner. In the 1881 census, Mary Ann is listed as a gun maker, while William John II was living a few streets away in Earl Street. He had married Emma Sophia Peckham in 1873 and they had three children:-

1) Laura Grace (b. 1874 – m. Alexander McClelland Frew in 1897 and William Butler in 1913 – d. 1929, aged 55). 2) Ernest William, an ironmonger’s assistant in Lewisham (b. 1876 – m. Harriet Maud Cooper in 1902 – d. 1925, aged 49). 3) Lilian Annie (b. 1880 – m. 1902).

William John II left the business in 1906 and retired. In 1911 he was living apart from his wife Emma, at his sister Mary Ann Leader’s house in Leighton Buzzard, where he died in 1919, aged 68.

The next member of the family to enter the business was the youngest son of William John I, Theophilus Percy Gallyon. He went into partnership with his elder brother, William John II, continuing until 18th May, 1906, when the latter retired and the partnership was dissolved by mutual consent. Theophilus retained the business name of ‘Gallyon & Sons’. In 1909/10, he married Mahala Woolard and they had five children:-

1) Mary Newman (b. 12/03/1911 – d. 1993, aged 82). 2) Theodore Frederick Newman (b. 12/08/1912 – m. Kathleen G. Horwood in 1941 – d. 1996). 3) Sylvia Newman (b. 1913/14 – m. Edward G. U. Harris in 1941 – d. 1961, aged 47). 4) John Newman, an RAF pilot (b. 25/09/1915 – d. 03/03/1941, aged 25). 5) Roger Newman, a teacher in the Solomon Islands in 1951 (b. 27/03/1918 – d. 2005).

The business at 66, Bridge Street continued to be run by Theophilus until his death in 1929/30, aged 57. His widow, Mahala, then took charge to keep it running, until her son Theodore was old enough to enter the business.

Mahala and Theodore formed a partnership to acquire the business of Thomas Clough & Son and for two years, the old title was retained. Then, on 28th February, 1942, the mother / son partnership was dissolved and Theodore changed the High Street name to Gallyon & Sons. In July that year, Gallyon & Sons took on the work of Norwich gunsmiths C. S. Rosson & Co., whose premises and machinery had been completely destroyed during an enemy bombing raid on the city.

After the war, Gallyon & Sons established a shooting school at Roydon, this announcement appearing in the Lynn News & Advertiser on 19th August, 1947:-

‘GALLYON’S SHOOTING SCHOOL. Situated in ideal surroundings at Roydon, within three miles of King’s Lynn, our Shooting School is open for practice and instruction. Sportsmen will find it well worth a visit to get their “eye in” before Partridge and Pheasant Shooting commences. With the aid of traps to throw Clay Birds at almost any angle, our experienced instructor can often pass on a hint or correct a fault that will prove invaluable in the field. Special attention is given to youths and those commencing shooting. For further particulars please communicate with:- GALLYON & SONS Ltd. 52, High Street, King’s Lynn.’

In addition to their guns and ammunition, Gallyons sold other sporting goods, such as cricket bats and equipment. They were granted a Royal Warrant in 1946.

In 1978, Richard T. Gallyon, son of Theodore F. N., and a three times great grandson of the founder of the firm, became managing director. He had trained in Cambridge and at Birmingham, and took charge of the Norwich business of C. S. Rosson & Co., when Gallyons took over their business on 1st May, 1965.

The Lynn branch of Gallyons continued at 52, High street until 20th February 1982.

c1983 – 2017 (The Body Shop)

A branch of The Body Shop, a cosmetics, skin care and perfume company, has been here for upwards of 30 years.

The business was founded in 1976 by Anita Roddick – née Perilli – (b. 23/10/1942 – m. Gordon Roddick in 1970 – d. 10/09/2007, aged 64) selling naturally-scented cosmetics. She copied a small business that she had seen in Berkeley, California, using that company’s name, colour scheme and cosmetic lines. In 1987 Anita Roddick acquired The Body Shop name from the American originators.

The Body Shop became an influential voice in environmental and ethical purchasing campaigns and against media stereotyping of women and the pressure put upon female models to conform to unhealthily underweight images.

The Body Shop was sold to L’Oreal in 2006 for £652m. It now has some 2,500 stores worldwide, selling a range of over 300 products.

Anita Roddick died in 2007.