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No. 55, High Street

This was a most distinctive, three-storey property with an angled entrance on the corner of High Street and Norfolk Street. For over 150 years there was a pharmacy on the ground floor.

The property was owned for many years by the William Cleave Charity, until it was sold by the trustees to the Lynn Corporation in January 1929 for £3,500. The Corporation made the purchase with the intention of demolishing the building and setting it back to increase the width of High Street at this junction. The new building was opened in November 1930.


1836 – c1846 (Miss M. A. Daisley)

Listed here in White’s directory for 1836 was Miss M. A. Daisley, a straw hat maker (see No. 53). It is probable that parts of the premises were leased out to other businesses and that they were accommodated on the upper floors.


c1790 – 1817 (Gales & Dixon)

From 1790 or earlier, Thomas Gales, a druggist, and Thomas Dixon, a surgeon, ran a pharmacy in partnership under the title of Gales & Dixon in Lynn’s High Street. Although there is no certainty that there shop was at No. 55, there is every likelihood that it was here, at least for some of that period.

A testimonial for Mr. Spilsbury’s Drops from Thomas Gales was printed in the Norfolk Chronicle on 1st May, 1790 and repeated in later editions. Gales & Dixon advertised for an apprentice in the Bury & Norwich Post on 29th August, 1804, and a notice in the Norfolk Chronicle for 25th February, 1815, for another business, referred to their premises being prominently situated on High Street.

The following notice appeared in the Norfolk Chronicle on 1st February, 1817:-

‘NOTICE is hereby given, that the partnership between THOMAS GALES, Druggist, and THOMAS DIXON, Surgeon, of King’s Lynn, in the county of Norfolk, was DISSOLVED Jan. 1st, 1817 by mutual consent, and they take this opportunity of gratefully acknowledging the favours so long received, and solicit a continuance of them on behalf of their successors, Wm. BAYES, Surgeon, and JAMES BAYES, Druggist.

All persons having claims on the late Firm, are desired to send them in that they may be discharged, and all those who stand indebted to them, are requested to pay the same immediately, to themselves or to Wm. and James Bayes, who are authorised to receive them. THOMAS GALES. THOMAS DIXON.’


c1817 – c1847 (W. & J. Bayes)

Below the notice of the dissolution of the Gales & Dixon partnership, W. & J. Bayes placed the following notice:-

W. & J. BAYES, having entered upon the above concern, respectfully solicit a continuance of those favours so long conferred by the public on their Predecessors, which they hope by strictest assiduity and attention to merit.

Lynn, Jan 1st. 1817.’

Wm. & Jas. Bayes were listed in Pigot’s directory for 1822 (no address), and White’s for 1836 has W. & J. Bayes, chemists and druggists, at this address. Kelly’s directory for 1846 lists William F. Bayes, a chemist and druggist at No. 55, and he is also listed for the Bible Depository. The Bayes family has not been traced in the censuses, apart from Francis (b. c1801 in Norfolk), who is recorded as the chemist here in 1841. Francis Bayes died in 1847.

James Kirbell Bayes was born in about 1792 in Norfolk. His parents were William Bayes and Mary Kirbell. He married Cordelia Williams in Lynn on 14th January, 1820, and died in Tottenham, Middlesex on 30th December, 1842. In 1861, Cordelia was living in Stamford Hill, Hackney, with four children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Emily (b. c1825). 2) Katherine (b. c1827). 3) Elizabeth (b. c1829). 4) Thomas W. – and engineer – (b. c1833).

Cordelia Bayes died in 1865 in Hackney.


c1847 – c1863 (Bayes & Allen)

In 1841, Francis Bayes had a young 15-year-old apprentice working for him, Henry Wake Allen, born in Glemham, Suffolk in about 1826. It would appear that Henry Allen succeeded Francis after the latter’s death in 1847, adopting the name of Bayes & Allen to indicate continuity with the business established by his predecessors.

Henry Allen was a man with two strings to his bow, for besides being a chemist, he also ran a farm. His father, Richard Allen was a farmer before him but it was through his wife that he returned to farming. On 2nd June, 1852, Henry married Elizabeth Stockdale (née Carter) (b. c1825 in St. Germans), whose husband John (b. c1816) had been running Golden Ball Farm at South Lynn prior to his death in 1848. Henry moved into Golden Ball Farm with Elizabeth and her five children:-

1) Helen (b. c1842). 2) Mary Ann (b. 1843). 3) Olga Louisa (b. 1846 – m. Cottingham Willis – d. 12/10/1922, aged 76). 4) John Christopher (b. 1847/8). 5) Eve (b. c1851).

Henry and Elizabeth Allen had three children:-

1) Elizabeth Mary (b.1852/3 – d. 07/06/1862, aged nine). 2. Jane (b.1857/8) 3. Harry (b.1859).

In 1851, Henry Allen is recorded as employing one chemist, Cottingham Willis (b. c1832 in Cretingham, Suffolk) and two apprentices, John B. Wells (b. c1833 in Wymondham), and Joseph J. Cottingham (b. c1833 in Henstead, Suffolk).

John Wells and his elder brother, William Thomas (b. c1835 in Wymondham), both worked as assistants to Henry Allen. John appears to have died between 1851 and 1861. William, it would seem, became an apprentice to Henry Allen for a very brief period but died on 31st August, 1865, aged 29, of consumption (tuberculosis). In 1861, William was living on the premises with two other apprentice chemists, William Swift (b. c1838 in Hareby, Derbyshire), and John R. Gore (b. c1841 in Tasburgh, Norfolk).

In 1861, Henry and Elizabeth Allen were at Golden Ball Farm, with three of Elizabeth’s children from her first marriage, and their three, Elizabeth, Jane and Harry. Henry was farming 70 acres and employed seven men and a boy. Their daughter Elizabeth died the following year, aged nine.


c1863 – 1865 (Allen & Wells) (William Thomas Wells)

Harrod’s Directory for 1863 lists the partnership as ‘Allen and Wells, wholesale and retail chemists and druggists, 55, High Street.’ William Thomas Wells was a partner in the business until 7th June, 1865, when it was dissolved by mutual agreement. William Wells may have been seriously ill at the time because he died of tuberculosis on 31st August that year.

William’s parents were veterinary surgeon John Burton Wells (b. 23/07/1805 – d. 1841, aged 36) and Ruth Bayes (b. c1799). They both came from the Wymondham area of south Norfolk and were married at Kimberley church on 30/12/1829. John and Ruth Wells had six children:-

1) Mary Ann (b. 1830 – m. William Edward Long in 1860). 2) John (b. 1832). 3) William Thomas (b. 1835 – m. Elizabeth Green Patrick on 26/11/1862). 4. Catherine (b. 1837). 5. Ruth Ann (b. 1838). 6. George (b. c1840).


c1868 – c1880 (Allen & Willis) (Cottingham Willis)

Cottingham Willis, who had been present when William Wells died, was the next partner. In Harrod’s Directory of 1868, the entry was for ‘Allen & Willis, Chemists, Druggists & Dealers in Artificial Manures’. In 1872 they advertised their branches at Terrington and Hunstanton.

Henry Wake Allen died on 31st December, 1872, aged 48. His widow, Elizabeth Allen, retained a financial interest in the business, and the following notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser on 18th January, 1873:

‘H. W. ALLEN & WILLIS, Chemists & Druggists, (By Special Appointment to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales), 55, High Street, Lynn, and at Hunstanton & Terrington.

The business so long and successfully carried on by the above Firm, will be continued under the same names and style, for the joint benefit of Mrs. Allen and the surviving partner, Mr. Willis, who take this opportunity of expressing their grateful thanks for the very kind and extensive patronage, confidence, and support so long experienced, and of which they most respectfully solicit a continuance, with the assurance of the most prompt attention to all orders, and that none but thoroughly competent assistants will be entrusted with the dispensing or making of any medicines.’

Cottingham Willis was born on 18th April, 1831. He married Olga Louisa Stockdale (b. c1847 in Saddlebow) in 1866. Olga was the daughter of John Stockdale and Elizabeth Carter – the latter becoming the wife of Henry Allen after the death of her first husband. Olga and Cottingham Willis had four children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Elizabeth Louisa (b. 30/07/1867 – d. 20/10/1953 in New Zealand, aged 86). 2) Mary Edith (b. 09/07/1868 – d. 31/07/1946, in New Zealand, aged 78). 3) Helen Olga (b. 1870). 4) Cottingham Allen (b. 1873).

Cottingham Willis left King’s Lynn to work for Albert J. Caley in Norwich for a few years, and was there in 1861, but had returned to Lynn by 1868, when he joined Henry Allen. The partnership continued until 10th January, 1880, when it was dissolved by mutual consent. Later that year Cottingham Wills emigrated with his family to New Zealand, where he died on 18th February, 1898, aged 66.


c1883 – c1884 (H. W. Allen & Co.)

When Cottingham decided to emigrate in 1880 and the partnership was dissolved, the following notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser on 24th January that year:

‘The executors of the Late Henry Wake Allen, in announcing the dissolution of the Partnership lately existing between them and Cottingham Willis, beg to offer their best thanks for all past favours, and to solicit a continuance of the same on behalf of the late Henry Wake Allen’s family, for whose benefit the old established business at No. 55, High Street, King’s Lynn, also at the branches at Hunstanton and Terrington, will be in future carried on under the style of H. W. ALLEN & Co.’

In 1883, H. W. Allen & Co., advertised as ‘Late Bayes & Allen’ when promoting Bayes’ Cough Pills in that year’s Lynn News Almanack.


c1884 – 1884 (Allen & Neale)

It was not long before another chemist was taken into partnership and in 1884 the same advertisement for Bayes Cough Pills appeared in the Lynn news Almanack but under the name of Allen & Neale.

John Neale (b. 1850), an unmarried chemist, aged 30, from Woodbridge in Suffolk, had been a boarder on the premises at 55, High Street in 1881. Also staying there at that date was Matthew Laxon, 23, a chemist from March, together with another chemist, an assistant and a student.

John Neale, was the son of Horace Neale (b. c1798 in Bawdeswell, Norfolk) and his wife Mary (b. c1813 in Woodbridge, Suffolk). Horace was for many years a grocer in Thoroughfare Street, Woodbridge. Horace and Mary had 13 children, all born in Woodbridge:-

1) Maria (b. c1828). 2) Harry (b. c1829). 3) Emma (b. c1832). 4) Louisa (b. c1833). 5) Frank (b. c1834). 6) Mary (b. 1840/1). 7) Horace (b. 1842). 8) William (b. 1843/4). 9) Edward (b. 1845/6). 10) George (b. 1848). 11) John (b. 1850). 12) Fanny (b. 1853/4). 13) Elizabeth (b. 1854).

In 1871, John Neale was working in Woodbridge as a chemist’s assistant, and moved to Lynn sometime after that date. In 1884, he married Kate Ridlington (b. c1860 in Boston, Lincolnshire – d. Feb. 1933, aged 76). They had one son, John Basil (b. 1890 – d. 1952, aged 62).

On 31st July, 1886, they advertised as ALLEN & NEALE, chemists in the Lynn Advertiser. They were agents for Horniman’s tea and had branches at Hunstanton and Terrington. The business was listed in White’s Directory for 1890 as ‘Allen & Neale, chemists & druggists, 55, High Street’.  John Neale moved out of the High Street accommodation above the shop to live in Gaywood Road.

In 1891, the manager of the shop, Henry J. R. Brooks, from Oxford, was living on the premises. Kelly’s Directory of 1892 lists Allen & Neale as chemists and as ‘seed & manure merchants & agricultural chemists’. One of their advertisements directed towards farmers, placed in the Lynn Advertiser on 13th November, 1886 read:-

‘H. W. Allen and Neale – Wholesale and retail agents for DOWN’S FARMERS’ FRIEND for preventing Smut in Wheat, the ravages of the Slugs, Grub and Wire-Worm, and the incursions of Rooks, Birds, Vermin’.

On 6th September, 1890, they placed the following advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser, again directed towards farmers:

‘ALLEN & NEALE AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTS, 55, HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN – ALLEN’S Foot-rot Paste. Price 2/6. ALLEN’s Cleansing Drenches or Milk Fever. Preventative, price 10d each, 9/- doz. ALLEN’S Mixed or Universal Oils (for horses), Very efficacious for cuts, bruises, sore throats, &c., price 2/- and 4/- Send to our Agent for Testimonials of the “HORSESHOE” CATTLE SPICE’.

John Neale died in 1907/8, and for several years afterwards, his widow Kate continued to run the business.

Allen & Neale closed in 1984, when the directors, Allan Edmunds and David Carruthers decided that the town centre rentals and overheads made the business there no longer viable. They retained their branches at Gaywood and Dersingham and took over Cram’s pharmacy at Heacham.


1984 – 1997 (Occupiers unknown)


c1997 / 2005 (Collingwood Jewellers)

Collingwood jewellers were here in 2005. They may have been a branch of the London jewellers who were at Conduit Street in the 1950s and later moved to 171, New Bond Street.

2007 – c2014 (Phones 4u)