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No. 59, High Street

The shop at No. 59, High Street was occupied principally by drapers and milliners, but two chemists were here. Marks & Spencer Ltd. acquired the premises in about 1932 (see Nos. 57 – 60, High Street).

c1828 – c1841 (Harriet Bayfield)

In White’s directory for 1836, Harriet Bayfield is listed as a hosier, haberdasher, milliner, dressmaker and toy dealer. She was here in 1830 (Pigot), and it is known that a millinery business had been at this address since about 1828, so she may have been here at the earlier date. The last record for her is in Pigot’s directory for 1839.

c1841 – 1845 (Frances Brookes)

In 1841, Frances Brookes (b. c1911) a milliner, was living here, with her mother, Rose (b. c1771 ) and her daughter Hannah (b. c1833). All three were born in Norfolk.

Frances, who never married, took over the business of Harriet Bayfield, but was here only for a few years, until her death in late 1845. The business was advertised for sale on 29th November, 1845:-

‘Millinery, Dressmaking and Fancy Repository. To be disposed of by Private Contract the Business in the above Line, carried on by MISS BROOKES, lately deceased, in High Street, King’s Lynn, together with the Stock in Trade and Effects. A large and profitable Trade in Millinery, Dressmaking and Fancy Goods has been carried on for the last 18 years upon the Premises occupied by the late Miss Brookes.’ Further sale notices appeared in the newspapers in January and February 1846.

Her mother Rose found a place at Bede House in St. James Road, Lynn, which was run as an alms house for widows. Rose died in 1858, aged about 87.

1846 – c1861 (George Atmore)

George Atmore (b. c1823 in Foulden) established his chemist’s business here in 1846 and is listed in Slater’s directory for 1850. He announced the opening of his shop with a notice in the Lynn Advertiser on 5th December, 1846:-

‘Mr. G. ATMORE, Chemist and Druggist, 59, High Street, Lynn (From Mr. Deck’s Practical Chemist to the University, Cambridge.) MOST respectfully announces that he has commenced business as above; and from the experience he has had at Cambridge, and subsequently at one of the first houses in London, in the dispensing and retail department, he feels confident the stock of Chemicals and Drugs which he has selected are genuine and of the best quality. Mr. G. A. trusts by personal attention and assiduity to merit a share of public favour. Horse and Cattle Medicines from the most approved recipes of the Veterinary College. Cigars, Oils, Perfumery etc.’  

He was still here in 1858 (Kelly), but by 1861 he was living at No. 48, where more details are given about him and his family.

c1850 – c1854 (Thomas Ingle)

Thomas Ingle (b. c1794 in Cambridge) was one of four Lynn physicians listed in Slater’s directory for 1850. Thomas and his wife, Anna Maria (b. c1801 at North Mymms, Hertfordshire) had three children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Lionel, a physician who served in the army for a time (b. c1825 – m. Elizabeth Henrietta Heath in 1873 – d. 1885 in Hampshire, aged 60). 2) Fanny Caroline (b. c1827 – m. William Pain Beecham, a solicitor, in 1855 – d. 1909, aged 73). 3) Harriet Mary (b. c1829 – m. Frederick George Elkington in 1852 – d. 1860/1).

Although the three children were born in Lynn, by 1851 the family had moved to live at Woodhall, Hilgay, near Downham Market. Thomas was listed in White’s directory for 1854 but had retired by 1861 and had moved to Hampshire.

Thomas died in 1871/2, aged 78, and Anna Maria died in 1876, aged 75.

c1863 – c1890 (Henry Welbourn Jones) (Edwin Jones)

Henry Welbourn Jones, a woollen draper was listed at No. 63, High Street in White’s Directory for 1854. He was living there in 1861, and remained at that address for about nine years. He had moved to No. 59 by 1863, where he stayed for the rest of his life. In the records, his middle name was variously spelled as Welbourn, Welbourne, or Welborn.

Born in Kingston-upon-Hull in about 1813, Henry married Ann Barkworth Kelsey (b. c1817 in Hull) on 4th June 1837 in Lincoln. They were living in Silver Street, Lincoln in 1841. In Kelly’s Post Office Directory for 1849 his shop was listed as ‘Henry W. Jones & Co., drapers, 2, Guildhall Street, Lincoln’. The family had moved to 218, High Street, St. Peter at Arches, Lincoln by 1851, but had arrived in Lynn by 1853.

Henry and Ann had at least nine children, all but one born in Lincoln:-

1) Rose Eleanor, a seamstress in 1901 (b. c1837 – d. 1924, aged 90). 2) Edward (b. c1838 – d. 1851). 3) Sarah Welbourn (b. 1839/40 – d. 1842). 4) Frederick / Fred Benjamin (b. 1843 – m. Clara Lee Hoare in 1878 – d. 1905 in Western Australia). 5) Henry Welbourn (b. 1846 – d. 1847). 6) Edwin Girdley, a woollen draper (b. 1849 – d. 1929/30, aged 80). 7) James Kelsey (b. 1851 – d. 1856, aged 5). 8) Albert (b. c1852). 9) Sarah Hearfield (b. 1853 in Lynn – d. 1927, aged 74).

Henry and Ann were still living here in 1881, with their children Rose, Sarah and Edwin, but Henry died later that year, aged 78.

The business was still listed in the directories for 1883, and Edwin kept it going for a few years, later moving from High Street and working from home, where he had help from Rose who was a seamstress.  Edwin was working as a draper in 1891, as a French cleaner in 1901 and as a market gardener in 1911, indicating the difficulty he faced in continuing the drapery business after his father’s death.

Ann moved first to Albert Street and then to All Saints Street, with her children Rose and Edwin looking after her. She died in 1901, aged 86.

The family struggled financially and there was resentment that Fred had ‘abandoned’ his mother and his siblings and set sail for Australia, leaving them with no financial support. Sarah left Lynn to work as a housekeeper in London but paid the rent on her mother’s home in Lynn. After her mother’s death in 1901, Sarah continued paying the rent for her eldest sister, Rose, who was 63 and was taking in needle work to bring in a little money. Sarah eventually returned to Lynn to look after Rose, and she died in the town three years after her sister, in 1927, aged 74.

1890 – c1905 (William Henry Cockle)

In April, 1890, William Henry Cockle announced that he had opened a chemist’s shop here:-

‘W. H. COCKLE, Chemist and Druggist, 59, High Street, King’s Lynn, Begs respectfully to inform his friends and the inhabitants of Lynn & district that he has Opened the above Premises with an entirely New Stock of the best DRUGS, CHEMICALS etc., which he will endeavour to sell at prices that will merit satisfaction and secure their support.Photographic Materials & Apparatus. Horse & Cattle Medicines.Apprentice Wanted.’

He remained here until 1904 but had moved to No. 70 by 1908 and may have left in 1905.

William’s grandparents were George Cockle and Esther Failes, who married at Tilney All Saints on 14th December, 1836. George was a farmer at Terrington St. John, where he had been born in 1810, the son of William Cockle and Eleanor Wright. Esther had been born in Tilney All Saints in about 1817. George’s farm at Church End Road was some 240 acres and he employed 10 men in 1871. George and Esther had at least six children:-

1) George jnr. – see below (b. 1838 – m. Elizabeth Mary Wiles in 1863 – d. 1909, aged 70). 2) Ellen Ann (b. 1840 – d. 1862/3). 3) Esther (b. 1847 – died in infancy). 4) Eliza Esther (b. 1852 – m. George Mason – a doctor & surgeon – d. 1915, aged 63). 5) William Wright, farm foreman to his brother George (b. 1855 – d. 1903/4, aged 47). 6) Frederick James, an assistant draper in Lynn in 1891 (b. 1857 – d. 1898, aged 41).

George Cockle snr. died in 1872/3, aged 62, and Esther came to live with her bachelor grandson William Henry here at No. 59, High Street, Lynn. She died in 1906/7, aged 90.

William Henry’s father, George jnr., married Elizabeth Mary Wiles in 1863 and took over Church Farm, Terrington, close to where his father lived. George and Elizabeth had nine children, including two sets of twins, all born in Terrington:-

1) William Henry – see below (b. 1864 – d. 27/08/1954, aged 90). 2) Robert George, a silk manufacturer’s agent in 1911 (b. 1865/6– d. 1926/7, aged 61). 3) Ellen Mary (b. 1868 – d. 1962, aged 94). 4) & 5) Edith Elizabeth and Lucy Esther (b. 1873 – died in infancy). 6) Ethel (b. 1875 – m. John Walker in 1912 – d. 1972). 7) Ernest Wiles, a corn merchant (one of twins – b. 1876/7 – m. Gertrude L. Saul in 1922 – d. 1955/6, aged 79). 8) Frank Wiles (b. 1876/7 – d. 1951, aged 74). 9) Charlotte Lucy – know by her second name – a governess in 1901 (b. 1877/8– m. Frank Sneath in 1920/1 – d. 1968, aged 90).

William Henry Cockle became an apprentice chemist at an early age and had opened his own business here by the age of 25. He sold cameras and photographic equipment, and provided an eye testing service. In May, 1901 he advertised:-

‘HEADQUARTERS for AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHY. Over 50 Cameras in stock to select from; Price 4/6 to £15 each. The surprise of the season: Nipper Camera at 4/6, Nipper Outfit at 3/-. Dry Plates at 6d per doz. Use Cockle’s Developer in 3d packets and 1/- bottles.EYE TESTING. Spectacles to face measure. X RAY PHOTOGRAPHY. TRUSSES to measure and fit. Agent for all KODAK goods. H. COCKLE. M.P.S., F.S.M.C. CHEMIST & OPTICIAN by Exams. High Street, Lynn.’

In the Lynn Advertiser later the same year, William advertised ‘Seltzogenes’ for making soda water:-

‘GREAT REDUCTION. SPECIAL OFFER. SELTZOGENES. Best Quality Cane Covered. The Celebrated Fevre’s Make. 2 Pint (15/-) … sale price 9/9. 3 Pint (17/6 … Sale Price 11/9. 5 Pint (21/-) … Sale Price 16/10’.

These late Victorian devices were similar to the latter day glass soda siphons but in the form of two globes, one on top of the other. The bottles were encased in wire or wicker mesh because they had a tendency to explode. Water, or a flavoured drink, was poured into the lower container. A mixture of tartaric acid and sodium bicarbonate was then placed into the upper globe, and this reacted to produce carbon dioxide. When the handle on top was pushed down, the gas pushed the liquid up through a tube and out of the spout.

The following year he again advertised his services as a ‘Chemist-Optician’, assuring the readers that he was fully trained and qualified by listing the eminent London specialists that had supervised the exams he had taken.

At some date between 1905 and 1908, William Cockle moved to No. 70, High Street. The latter premises had been advertised to rent in September, 1905, and it may be that he moved there later that year.

William Cockle retired from business in 1927, continuing to live in Lynn, at 121, Gaywood Road. He died on 27th August, 1954, aged 90.

c1905 – 1919 (Burlingham & Errington) (Robert George Errington)

The tailors Burlingham & Errington moved here from No. 105 between 1904 and 1911. They were listed at the former address in Kelly’s directory for 1904 but the Errington family were living at No. 59 in 1911. It seems likely that the business moved in 1905 or soon afterwards.

Nothing is known of the Burlingham in the partnership. They played no part in the day-to-day running of the business. It may be that the jeweller Samuel S. Burlingham (see No. 81, High Street), or one of his family, was a financial partner.

One half of the business partnership, and the shop manager, was Robert George Errington II, a tailor born in Lynn in 1874/5. His great grandparents were Robert and Mary Love Errington. Robert was born in Lynn in about 1804 and Mary was born about the same year in Northwold. Robert was a painter and glazier and the family lived in Pilot Street, Lynn. Robert and Mary Love Errington had at least seven children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Robert George I (b. c1826 – m. Mary Ann Cross in 1846 – d. 1900, aged 77). 2) Mary (b. c1827). 3) Eliza (b. c1831 – m. William McCoy in 1865 – d. 1906/7, aged 78). 4) Edward (b. c1833). 5) Eleanor (b. c1836). 6) Rebecca (b.1838). 7) Susan (b.1841 – m. Robert Richard Collins, a baker, in 1863 – d. 1909, aged 69).

Robert George Errington I and his wife Mary Ann had four children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Thomas Robert (b. 1847 – died in infancy). 2) Thomas Robert – a tailor and inn keeper (b. 1848 – m. Eliza Walker on 03/05/1868 – d. 1929, aged 81).  3) Robert William – a tailor and the father of Robert George II – (b. 1851– m. Isabella Shorten in 1874 – d. 1936, aged 85). 4) Mary Eliza, a dressmaker (b. 1856 – d. 1931, aged 74).

Robert William Errington and his wife Isabella lived in Paxton Terrace, Lynn c1911. They had eleven children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Robert George II (b. 1874/5 – m. Edna Mary Warr in 1901 – d. 1959, aged 84). 2) James Henry (b. 1876/7 – a butcher – d. 1947, aged 70). 3) Thomas William, a joiner (b. 1878– m. Phyllis Elizabeth Rutland in 1903 – d. 1942, aged 66). 4) Isabella (b. 1879 – d. 1938, aged 59). 5) Maud (b. 1880 – d. 1927, aged 46). 6) Alfred John – a baker in the army in 1911(b. 1882/3 – m. Dorothy E. Hill in 1944 – d. 1959, aged 76). 7) Alice Mabel (b. 1886 – m. Harry Braithwaite in 1917 – d. 1967, aged 82). 8) Percy Willie, a tailor in 1911 (b. 1887/8 – d. 1954, aged 66). 9) Albert Edward, a tailor in 1911 (b. 1888/9 – m. Kate E. Ebling in 1914/5 – d. 1934, aged 45). 10) Edgar, a tailor in 1911 (b. 1891/2 – d. 1962, aged 70). 11) William John, an Inland Revenue clerk in 1911 (b. 1893 – m. Vera Green in 1917).

Robert George Errington II had opened the first Burlingham & Errington shop at 105, High Street, Lynn by 1901, when the partnership was listed there in Turner’s directory. He was recorded there in that year’s census, too. Also that year, he married Edna Mary Warr in Leicestershire. Born in Buckingham in 1879/80, Edna was the daughter of innkeeper John Warr (b. 1846 in Buckinghamshire) and his wife Sarah.

Burlingham & Errington remained here until 1919. On 26th September that year R. G. Errington placed a notice in the Lynn News stating that he had moved to St. James Street. By this latter date, the partnership had been dissolved and Robert George II opened the shop at 2 & 4, St. James Street in his own name. He continued there until 1936, when he was listed at No. 4 in Kelly’s directory. He died in 1959.

c1919 – c1924 (Charles Francis Metcalf)

Charles Francis Metcalf, born 1868 in Lynn, was a plumber. His first address on High Street was at No. 62 (Kelly’s 1916). He then moved here, where he is listed in 1922, before moving to No. 83. His father was Charles Valentine Metcalf (b. c1839 in Ipswich).

Charles Valentine Metcalf was a painter and paper hanger who had premises at King Street in Lynn for over 18 years until his death in 1893 at the age of 55. In 1864 he married Emma Elizabeth Fowle (b. 1842 in Walsingham). Charles Valentine and Emma had six children, all but the first born in Lynn:-

1) Jessie Emma (b. 1864/5 in East Dereham – d. 1951/2, aged 87). 2) Charles Francis – see below (b. 1868 – m. Ida Rees in 1897/8 – d. 1937, aged 69). 3) Ernest George, a plumber and house decorator (b. 1870 – d. 1953/4, aged 83). 4) William James, a house decorator (b. 1873/4 – m. Daisy Platten in 1904 – d. 1943, aged 68). 5) Alfred Vivian, an optologist, watchmaker & jeweller in Stepney in 1911 (b. 1876 – m. Jane Hannah Friar in 1904 – d. 1962, aged 85). 6) Ethel Grace (b. 1880 – d. 1970, aged 89).

Following the death of Charles Valentine Metcalf in 1893, his widow Emma continued the King Street business with her sons Ernest and William. By this date, they were working as plumbers and decorators.

Charles Francis Metcalf married Ida Rees (b. c1869 in Pembroke), in 1897/8. They set up home in St. James Road and Charles established his own plumbing and decorating business. Charles and Ida had one child, Margaret Ida (b. 28/06/1901 – d. 1988, aged 87). Margaret Metcalf worked for many years at Catleughs of Lynn.

Charles Francis Metcalf died in 1937, aged 69, and Ida died in 1944, aged 76.

1924 – c1930 (Arthur House Ltd.)

The costumiers Arthur House Ltd., applied for permission to alter the premises in November 1923 and opened here in 1924. In August 1925, they advertised: ‘WHEN in KING’S LYNN do not fail to pay a visit to Arthur House Ltd. 59, High Street. You will always find there a large selection of LONDON FASHIONS. Coats, Gowns, etc., and Ladies’ Stylish Hats’.

In Kelly’s directory for 1925, Miss. I. Collins was listed as the manageress.

Arthur House had a distinctive advertisement style (right) which they used on a regular basis, interspersed with special sales offers.

c1930 (E. G. Millett & Co.)

E. G. Millet & Co., the clothiers, had a shop here in about 1930, immediately prior to the premises being purchased by Marks & Spencer Ltd. They moved to No. 143, Norfolk Street where they remained for several years. By 1973, the business had been merged with A. C. Millett & Co., a similar but larger business run by another branch of the family.

E. G. Millett & Co. appear to have started in Exeter, and had branches at Torquay and Newton Abbot in the 1920s. A. C. Millett & Co. expanded rapidly during the 1960s and ‘70s, becoming Milletts Leisure plc which was acquired by Foster Brothers Clothing in 1986, forming Millets Leisure Ltd. (note the spelling). Further changes and acquisitions have occurred since then and the business is now owned by JD Sports Fashion plc.

 c1932 (Marks & Spencer Ltd.)

By 1932, No. 59 had been bought by Marks & Spencer Ltd. for the expansion of their store (see Nos. 57 – 60, High Street).