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No. 58, High Street

This was a medium-sized shop two doors away from Norfolk Street. There was very little yard space at the rear but a narrow passage gave access via an arched opening at No. 146, Norfolk Street. For about 80 years, the Hardy family had an ironmongery business here. In about 1932, Marks & Spencer Ltd. purchased the property along with adjacent shops to expand their store.

c1822 – 1836 (Mary Lantaff) (Sophia Lantaff)

Pigot’s directory for 1822/3 lists Mary Lantaff, a basket maker at High Street. Sophia Lantaff, a basket maker, was listed here in White’s Directory for 1836.

Mary (b. c1771) and Sophia (b. c1781) were sisters. In 1841 they were living in St. Nicholas Street and were listed as ‘independent’ indicating that they had retired from business. In 1851 they were living at No. 45, Norfolk Street.

Mary died in 1851/2 and Sophia died in 1854.

c1846 – 1850 (Edward Longbottom)

Edward Longbottom, a printer, bookseller, stationer & publisher, was listed here in Kelly’s Nine Counties directory for 1846. In Slater’s directory for 1850, he is also listed as an agent for the Star Assurance Company.

Born in Holbeach on 1st October, 1822, he was apprenticed to bookseller & printer John Hewitt of High Street, Holbeach in 1841. In 1844 he married Jemima Linay (b. 10/07/1814 in Lynn) – see Linays at No. 120, High Street. They did not have any children but appear to have ‘adopted’ Jemima’s niece Mary Linay. Mary was born in Lynn in 1843, the daughter of Lynn draper Thomas Linay (see No. 102, High Street) and his first wife Sophia. Sophia died in 1846 and Thomas retired from business and moved to Islington with his new wife, Letitia Stanley, whom he had married in 1847. Mary stayed with her father and step-mother until at least 1851 but by 1861 she had moved back to Lynn, where she stayed until her death in 1912/13, aged 69.

Edward had left No. 58 by 1850 and moved to 25, Tuesday Market Place. He is listed there in White’s directory for 1879 as a ‘printer & stationer & depository of the British & Foreign Bible Society’. Edward died in 1882, aged 59, and Jemima died in 1898, aged 84.

Mary Linay stayed on as Jemima’s companion, moving after the latter’s death first to Stanley Street (1901) and then to Southgate Street (1911). She died in 1912/13, aged 69.

1850 – c1854 (John Land Fysh)

John Land Fysh, a hosier and glover, moved into No. 58 in April, 1850.

Born in Lynn in 1821, he was apprenticed to William Rose Smith at No. 37, High Street. In 1845/6 he married Margaret Mitchell in Lynn, and they had at least two children:-

1) Francis Land (b. 1846/7 – m. Eleanor Whelan in 1886 – d. 1890, aged 43) 2) Arthur Land (b. 1849 – warehouseman to umbrella manufacturer in 1881 – m. Mary Jane Rowe in 1874).

John Fysh moved to No. 70, High Street in about 1854 but had left the town by 1871 when he was working as an agent to a shoe manufacturer in Hackney, London. Margaret died in 1875, aged 61 and John married again in 1878, to Sophia Hephzibah Temple (b. c1836 in Bishopsgate, London). John & Sophia were living in Islington in 1881 but had moved to Willesden by 1891. John died in 1908/9, aged 87, and Sophia died at about the same date, aged 74.

c1854 – c1930 (Silas Hardy) (Benjamin Hardy)

Silas Hardy

Silas Hardy, born about 1821 in Spalding, Lincolnshire, was an ironmonger and brazier. His parents were Thomas (b. 1787 in Swaton, near Sleaford, Lincs. – d. 1868, aged 80) and Frances Arch (b. 1789 in Deeping St. James, Lincs. – d. 1865, aged 76).

Thomas and Frances Hardy had six children, all born in Spalding:-

1) William (b. 29/02/1812). 2) Elizabeth (b. 1814). 3) Thomas Arch, an ironmonger and brazier in Spalding (b. 1816 – m. Mary Daybell on 06/02/1840 – d. 15/08/1889, aged 73). 4) Silas – see below (b. 1820 – m. Mary Parsons on 24/04/1844 – d. 1893, aged 73). 5) Frances (b. c1824 – m. John Barker, a market gardener, in 1852 – d. 1870, aged 46).  6) Benjamin, a brazier in Spalding (b. c1826– m. Rosamond Platt in 1852/3 – d. 1895, aged 70).

Silas Hardy married Mary Parsons in Spalding on 24th April, 1844. They set up home at No. 1, Norfolk Street, Lynn where Silas opened his business as an ironmonger and brazier. Silas and Mary had four children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Mary Jane (b. 1845 – m. Lewis Wake, a builder’s foreman, in 1847 – d. 1901/2, aged 56). 2) Benjamin – see below (b. 1847 – m. Ann Bowers in 1869 – d. 1921, aged 74). 3) Silas (b.1851 – d. 1861, aged 9). 4) Emily (b. 1853 – d. 1855/6, aged 2).

Mary Hardy died in 1860, aged 38, and Silas married again, in 1863 to Sarah Duffield (b. c1820 at Terrington St. Clement – d. 1888, aged 69).

Silas Hardy owned other property in the town and, in January, 1874, he advertised an office and house to let in Tuesday Market Place.

Silas, who was also a Methodist Preacher, had retired from business by 1879 and moved to South Street in Lynn. He died in 1893, aged 73.

Benjamin Hardy

Benjamin had taken over the business from his father by 1879. He had married Ann Bowers in 1869. She was the daughter of William Bowers (b. c1790 at Westacre), a farmer at High Green, Terrington, and his wife Mary (b. c1802 at Terrington). Benjamin and Ann set up home in Albert Street, Lynn, and they had five children; 1. Lottie Ann Eliza (b. 1870 – d. 1954, aged 84). 2. Mary Jane (b. 1871/2 – d. 1946/7, aged 75). 3. Silas (b. 1873 – m. Ellen M. Cossons in 1921 – d. 1952, aged 78). 4. Thomas (b. 1875 – d. 1957/8, aged 81). 5. Florence Ada (b. 1879/80 – d. 1963, aged 84).

All of Benjamin’s children lived into their 70s or 80s but only one, Silas, married, and he had no children. Silas and Thomas both worked as assistants to their father in the shop. The girls appear to have spent their time at home, apart from Florence who became a Sister to the Wesleyan National Children’s Home and Orphanage (WNCH&O). Established in 1869 in London by Dr. Thomas Bowman Stephenson, the organisation expanded, with several homes being opened across the country, including a self-contained village near Bolton, Lancashire. Eventually, many groups of children were taken to Canada – an emigration policy adopted by Barnardos and other orphanages. Florence was staying in Derby at the time of the 1911 census, along with another Sister of the WNCH&O.

Benjamin moved his family into the accommodation at No. 58, High Street when his father retired, and the whole family were here in 1881. By 1890, however, they were living at 15, Broad Street. They next moved to Gaywood Road, where they were in 1911.

The following notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser on 8th October, 1887:-

‘NOTICE TO BE SOLD CHEAP THIS MICHAELMAS A LOT of Register, Cooking and Heating Stoves, Cola Vases, Fenders and Fire-irons, Iron Bedsteads, Patent Mangles, Paraffin Lamps and General Ironmongery, at BENJAMIN HARDY’S 58, HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN Crystalline, Petroleum, Paraffin & Benzoline Oils, in Cask or Gallon. Agent for the Celebrated WATERBURY WATCHES at 10/6 and 15/- each.’

The illustration below appeared in an advertisement in Sconce’s Almanack in 1906.

Following the death of Benjamin in 1921, aged 74, the business was continued under the control of two of his children, Lottie and Silas, acting as his executors.

The business ceased in about 1930 when the property was acquired by Marks & Spencer for their expansion (see Nos. 57-59).