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No. 60, High Street

No. 60 was a very narrow fronted shop. The photograph, right, dates from about 1932.

The premises were occupied as a tailor’s shop from before 1822 until about 1875. After a short period as a wine merchant’s it became a photographer’s shop and remained the same for nearly 50 years.

The premises were acquired by Marks & Spencer Ltd. in 1937 for the expansion of their store.

c1822 – 1850 (William Wethered)

William Wethered was a high class men’s tailor who left for London after some 28 years at No. 60, High Street.

He was born in Lynn in about 1804 and married Elizabeth, the daughter of Snettisham grocer John Lambert (b. c1783 in Chilworth, Surrey – d. 1866, aged 83) and his wife Ann (b. c1788 in Snettisham – d. 1869, aged 84). William and Elizabeth had one child:-

William, a clerk to a Brazil merchant in 1911 (b. King’s Lynn 1841/2 – m. Lalora Ratcliffe in 1893 – d. 1920/1, aged 79).

In 1848, William Wethered patented a waistcoat that he had designed, placing the following statement in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘The GRECIAN WAISTCOAT. Gentlemen are respectfully informed that this novel and elegant Waistcoat can be obtained of the Inventor only, at 60, High Street, Lynn, or at his London Establishment, No. 2, CONDUIT STREET, two doors from Regent Street. Agent for Forster’s Parama Waterproof Garments.’

The following year, he placed a notice in the Lynn Advertiser stating that he had ‘connected his Lynn Business with that of a first rate Established Concern’.

The last directory listing for him was in 1850 (Slater) and it would appear that he moved to London that year to concentrate his business in the city. By 1851, the family was living at 22, Regent’s Park Terrace. Within ten years he had retired from business and was living in Hampstead. William died in 1870, aged 66, and Elizabeth died about three years later, aged 61.

1850 – c1875 (Henry Green Page) (William Egleton Page) (John Page)

Henry Green Page had a tailor’s shop at 16, Littleport Street in 1836, moving to King Staith Square by 1846. He is not listed in Slater’s directory for 1850 but was living here at No. 60, High Street in 1851.

Born in Themelthorpe, near Foulsham, Norfolk in about 1791, Henry Green Page had moved to Lynn with his wife Sophia by 1821. Henry and Sophia had five children, the last four born in Lynn:-

1) William Egleton – see below (b. c1814 in Grimston – d. 1883, aged 70). 2) Sophia (b. c1816 – m. Richard Hitchcock in 1851 – d. 1902, aged 86)). 3) Frances (b. c1822). 4) Elizabeth (b. c1824 – m. William Clare in 1847). 5) John, a tailor – see below (b. c1830 – m. Frances Brown on 25/12/1857 – d. 1896, aged 66).

Henry died in 1861, aged about 70, and Sophia died in 1867, aged 76.

William took over from his father between 1851 and 1854, when the business was listed in White’s directory under his name. For a few years, William and his brother John were partners in the business, being listed as such in Kelly’s directory for 1858 and in Harrod’s for 1863. By 1868, John had his own tailor’s business, working from home in Exton’s Road.

William Egleton Page retired from business in about 1875. He never married and his widowed sister Elizabeth came to live with him in as his housekeeper at South Everard Street c1881. He died in 1883, aged 70.

1873 – 1875 (Nichols & Co.)

On 5th December, 1873, the Peterborough wine importers and spirit merchants Nichols & Co. announced that they were opening a branch here:-

‘NICHOLS and Co. have pleasure in announcing to the inhabitants of Lynn and neighbourhood that they have now completed arrangements for their new Lynn Business and on Tuesday, December 9th, purpose opening the Shop No. 60, High Street with a Stock of Wines and Spirits of such quality as will command the appreciation of every consumer.’

The company founder was William Daniel Nichols who had been born in Peterborough in 1847. He was the son of George Nichols (b. c1806 in Wilbarston, Northants) and his wife Charlotte Simmonds (b. c1815 in Peterborough), who were married in 1839. George was a fruiterer and confectioner in Peterborough and William started work in the city as a railway clerk aged 14.

On 29th June, 1869, William married Mary Ellen Markland (b. 1850 in Rugby) at the church of St. Andrew in Rugby, and they set up home in Woodstone, Peterborough. By 1871 William was working as a commercial traveller in the beer trade. He and Mary had three children:-

1) George Thomas, a solicitor (b. 1870 – m. Nelly Constance Smith in 1898 – d. 1932/3, aged 62). 2) Dorothy Gertrude (b. 1873 – m. Reginald Gascoigne Law Markham in 1902 – d. 1954, aged 80). 3). Francis Henry, a hotel proprietor (b. 1874/5 – m. Maude Marion Clifton in 1900 – d. 1944, aged 70).

Nichols & Co. traded on the basis of offering wines and spirits at low prices for cash but they failed to attract sufficient trade to make the business worthwhile, and within fifteen months they had left Lynn. On 13th April, 1875, they announced that they were closing the branch:-

‘NICHOLS & Co. have much regret in announcing the necessity for relinquishing their business as Wine Merchants in Lynn.

The ready-money system and the low prices introduced by them have not induced the amount of trade they anticipated. Rather than conform to the ordinary system of long credit and high prices, they have decided to retire from Lynn.’

William had a very successful business in Peterborough, and had retired by the age of 53 (1901). When he died seven years later, his effects were valued at over £29,000.

Mary Ellen Nichols died in 1896/7, aged 47, and William Daniel Nichols died on 20th February, 1908, aged 60.

1875 – c1879 (Swain & Co.)

Swain & Co. took over the business and on 18th December, 1875, they advertised in the Lynn Advertiser as:-

‘Swain & Compy., Wine importers, Spirit Merchants, Beer Bottlers, Ale & Porter Dealers. 60 High Street.’  

In the Post Office Directory for 1879, they were listed at this address as wine merchants but also at the Beaconsfield Restaurant at No. 68, High Street. Thomas Swain was the licensee at the Beaconsfield between 1879 and 1881.

Born in Totteridge, near Barnet, on the borders of Middlesex and Hertfordshire in 1840, Thomas was the son of Thomas James Swain (b. c1816 in Surrey) and Sophia Mary Northfield (b. c1816 in Finsbury). Thomas Swain snr. was a railway clerk (1851), and he and Sophia had four children:-

1) Thomas – see below (b. 1840 – m. Charlotte Wilson in 1862 – d. 1900, aged 59). 2) Alice Sophia (b. 1846 in Bangor, Wales – m. Joseph Samuel Hesse in 1880 – d. 1916, aged 70). 3) Henry (b. Bangor in 1848). 4) Keturah (b. 1852 – d. 1869, aged 16).

Thomas jnr. married Charlotte Wilson (b. c1841 in Woodford, Northamptonshire) in 1862. In the first two years of their marriage they lived in Harpenden, before moving to the historic parish of St. George the Martyr in Borough (now Southwark), south London. By 1871 they had moved to Peterborough and Thomas was working as a coal merchant’s clerk. Thomas and Charlotte had eight children:-

1) Arthur Wilson (b. 1863 in Harpenden, a wine merchant in 1901 (m. Alice Wheldon in 1896/7 – d. 1940/1, aged 76). 2) Constance Annie (b. 1865 – m. Rowland Metzner Escourt, a barrister, in 1889/90 – d. 29/04/1944 in Los Angeles, California USA, aged 78). 3) Edith Mary (b. 1868 in London – m. Percy Carter, a solicitor’s clerk, in 1891). 4) Kate Agnes (b. 1870 in Peterborough). 5) Ada Wilson (b. 1872/3 in Peterborough – m. Herbert Vaughan Thomas, a district auditor, in 1891). 6) Edgar Wilson, a coal merchant’s clerk in (b. 1875/6 in Lynn – m. 1907 – d. 1942, aged 66). 7) Ernest (b. 1877 in Lynn – d. 1882/3, aged 5). 8) Alice Augusta (b. 1883, in Lynn – m. Georges E. Villman in 1922).

Swain & Co. were here for about four years, and were only listed once in the directories. By 1881, when the family were living at Lansdowne Street in Lynn, Thomas Swain jnr. was out of work. However, in 1883 (Kelly) he is listed at the Star Commercial Inn at 12, Norfolk Street.

He then moved to London and was living in Tottenham in 1891, and working as a brewer’s collector. He died in 1900, aged 59. Charlotte died in 1923, aged 82.

1880 – c1911 (Thomas Smith & Sons) (John William Smith)

By 12th February, 1881, the business here was under the name of ‘T. Smith & Sons, Artists and Photographers.’

In an advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser on that date Thomas Smith thanked people for their support during the few months that they had been open.

The business appears to have been established by Thomas Smith (b. c1820 in Brigg, Lincolnshire) on behalf of his son John William Smith. Thomas Smith was a cabinet maker in Brigg and took no part in his son’s photography business, although it always operated under the name of Thomas Smith. Thomas Smith and his wife Mary had six children, all born in Brigg;-

1) John William– see below (b. 1850 – m. Florence Harriette Dow in 1894). 2) Matilda Ann (b. 1852 – m. George Henry Gibson, a chemist at Glanford Brigg – d. 1936, aged 84). 3) Thomas Arthur (b. 1854). 4) Amelia (b. 1856 – m. James Parker in 1907 – d. 1941, aged 85). 5) Florence – see below (b. 1857 – m. Edwin Harrison in 1884) 6. Alice (b. 1860).

In 1881 John Smith, as yet not married, was living here and his sisters Florence and Alice were visiting.

On 4th February, 1882, he advertised for new staff:-

‘T. Smith & Sons, Photographers, High Street, King’s Lynn require the services of a young lady in their reception room. To one with knowledge of drawing, every opportunity will be given to learn the art of re-touching negatives and finishing enlargements in monochrome and colours, under the direct supervision of the firm. To a lady of ability in drawing, and a fair linguist, after reaching a good standard in the above department, a demand always exists in our large towns and cities with splendid remuneration. An apprentice (male or female WANTED in the printing department, not under 14. Also an Articled pupil; premium required. Further particulars on application.’

It was not unusual for businesses to publish notices concerning former employees or representatives, drawing the public’s attention to the severing of their relationship. On Saturday 13th November, 1886, John Smith placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘T. SMITH & SONS PHOTOGRAPHERS, 60, HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN, GIVE NOTICE that GEORGE ROBERTSON and JAMES THOMPSON, their late Canvassers, are no longer in their employ. Mr. W. BLYTH will in future receive all payments on our behalf. They also beg to caution the public against Canvassers using the firm’s name in obtaining orders. They have no connection with us whatsoever.’

The following advertisement appeared in the Lynn News & County Press of 12th October, 1889 and gives some indication of the range of services that was offered by Thomas Smith:-

‘INSTANTANEOUS PHOTOGRAPHY. Artistic Photography, Pretty Homelike Pictures, Angling, Bicycle, Cricketing, etc., Groups, Dainty Miniatures. T. SMITH & SONS. Splendid series of Scrap and Framed Photographs of King’s Lynn, and all parts of Norfolk and Lincolnshire; NOT SURPASSED! Artists’ Oil Colours in Tubes from 2d., each. Photographic Apparatus, Dark Room at Service of European Tourists.’

In 1891, John, who was still a bachelor aged 40, had a number of family members staying with him, and his widowed mother, Mary, aged 69 was visiting. Boarding here at the time were John’s sister and brother-in-law, Florence and Edwin Harrison. Edwin was working for John as his photographic assistant and Florence was their housekeeper. Edwin had been working as a bank clerk in Sleaford in 1881 and had married Florence in 1884. Their son Reginald was born in 1890. Florence ran a registry office for servants and advertised in the ‘Wanted’ column of the Lynn Advertiser on 2nd January, 1892:-

‘EXPERIENCED Nursery Governess required for three young children, entire charge and supervise two older boys in home lessons; elementary Latin preferred. Salary £14 and laundress. Apply in first instance and with photo to Mrs. Harrison, 60, High street, Lynn – A good General Servant is also required.’

Mrs Harrison advertised again on 23rd July, 1892:-

‘GENERAL Servant, good, wanted, Not Under 20. Liberal wages to a good girl – Apply, Mrs. Harrison, c/o T. Smith & Sons, 60, High street, Lynn.’

There was a burglary at the premises in January 1895 and T. Smith & Sons lost some of their valuable photographic equipment. However they were able to use some of the cameras and apparatus from their branch at 4, London Road to keep both branches fully operational.

Florence and Edwin and their family were here until at least 1896 but had moved back to Glanford Brigg by 1901. Edwin had given up the photographic business and was employed as an aerated water labourer. He later became an insurance agent.

John William Smith married Florence Harriette Dow in 1894. She had been born in 1873 in Lynn and was the daughter of Alfred Dow (b. c1833 in Lynn), who was the town’s relieving officer and registrar of births and deaths. Florence was 23 years younger than John. They had two children, both born in Lynn, who later adopted the surname Dow-Smith:-

1) Graham Thomas (b. 27/04/1895 – d. 1969, aged 74). 2) Doris Beryl Mary (b. 1898).

The last listing for Thomas Smith & Sons was in Kelly’s directory for 1904 but they were here until at least 1911.

1911 (Whitfield Cosser & Co.)

Whitfield Cosser & Co., photographers, were listed here in 1912, but may already have left the town when Kelly’s directory for that year was published.

George Whitfield Cosser, born 1875/6 in Southampton, was the second son of John Cosser (b. c1836 in West Parley, Dorset) and Mary Cooper (b. c1838 in Fawley, Hampshire). His elder brother, Frederick John (b. 1873/4 – m. May Roberts in 1911 – d. 1948, aged 73), worked as a commercial traveller for children’s clothes.

George married Flora Halls (b. 1876 in Colchester, Essex) in 1899. They had one child, Leonard Grimston (b. 1902 in Southampton – m. Doris Neale in 1928 – d. 1970).

It would appear that George was only in Lynn for a very short period of time – perhaps a year or less – and that he moved to Colchester, where the family was living in 1911. George died in 1917/8, aged 43. Flora married again within a year, to Frederick C. Lankesheer, and continued to live in Colchester until her death in 1965, aged 88.

c1916 – (Leopold Vilenkin)

In 1916, Leopold Vilenkin, a photographer, was listed at No. 60. Born in Finland in about 1884, he was living in Wolverhampton in 1911. In 1917, he married Marcelline P. A. Van Loey at King’s Lynn, and they had one son, Gregory, born in 1918. No records have been found for him after that date.

c1921 – c1924 (Clement Gwynne)

Listed in Kelly’s directory as Clement Gwyane, the photographer Clement Woolley Gwynne was here for no more than three years or so.

His grandparents were David Gwynne (b. c1831 in Radnorshire – d. 1919 in Herefordshire, aged 86) and Ann Wooley (b. c 1832 in Breconshire – d. 1900/01 in Herefordshire, aged 68). David was a farmer. He and Ann married in 1852 and had ten children:-

1) Mary (b. 1853). 2) Ann (b. 1854). 3) William (b. c. 1857 – a coal merchant c1901 – m. Clara Anne Evans in 1886 – d. 1933/4, aged 77). 4) Margaret (b. 1858 – d. 1877, aged 19). 5) David jnr. – Clement’s father (b. 1860 – m. Emma Louisa Moore in 1884 – d. 1902, aged 42). 6) John (b. 1862). 7) James (b. 1863/4 – a farmer c1911 – m. Alice Gregg in 1907 – d. 1940, aged 76) 8) Catherine (b. 1866 – m. Thomas Edward Pugh, a farmer, in 1887 – d. 1953, aged 87). 9) Jemima Alice (b. 1869 – m. Albert Herbert D. Powell, a Herefordshire farmer, in 1898 – d. 1912, aged 43). 10) Edith Maria (b. 1875/6).

David Gwynne jnr. became a photographer, with premises in High Street, Aston, Birmingham, in 1891. He and his wife Emma moved to Aston soon after their wedding in 1884 and their four children were all born there:-

1) Ida (b. 1885 – m. Sidney R. Owens in 1914 – d. 1964). 2) Margaret Louisa (b. 1887 – m. Windsor J. Warren in 1921 – d. 1967). 3) Clement Woolley (b. 14/09/1888). 4) David Sarony (b. 1890 – m. Hilda Collier in 1920).

Clement Gwynne married Louisa Lawrence in 1916 and they lived in Cambridgeshire until moving to Lynn in about 1921. Clement and Louisa had one son, Harry L. (b. 1920). Clement Gwynne had left Lynn by 1925. He died in Dorset in 1974, aged 85.

c1925- c1928 (Ernest Arthur Day)

Ernest Arthur Day, a photographer, was listed here in Kelly’s directories from 1925 to 1930/31. He was born in St. John’s Wood, London in 1870, but his father and grandfather both came from Norwich.

Ernest’s grandparents were Frederick Day (b. 1825 in Trowse, Norwich – d. 1895, aged about 70) and Eleanor Golding (b. 1818 at Trowse – d. 1898, aged 79) who married at St. Stephen’s church in Norwich on 11th March, 1846. Frederick and Eleanor had two children, both born in Trowse Millgate, Norwich:-

1) Alfred, a wholesale stationer (b. c1850 – m. Margaret Tweedy in 1874 – d. 1916, aged 66). 2) Frederick William (b. 1846/7 – m. Emma Lovell in 1869 and Catherine Louisa Bush in 1876 – d. 18/09/1895, aged 48).

Frederick was a grocer, working in Norwich (1851) and Holt (1861). He left Holt and returned to Trowse where he worked as an assistant in a tobacconist’s shop for the rest of his life. He died in 1895, aged about 70, and Eleanor died in 1898, aged 79.

Ernest’s father, Frederick William Day, moved with his parents from Trowse to Holt where he was apprenticed to a draper in the town’s market place, aged 14 (1861). He then moved to Chelmsford in Essex, where he married Emma Lovell (b. 1846/7 in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire). They were living in Marylebone in 1871, and Frederick was working as a wholesale draper. He and Emma had two children:-

1) Ernest Arthur – see below (b. 1870 in St. John’s Wood, Middx. – m. Rose Ellen Balls, née Norton – d. 1932/3, aged 62). 2) Sydney Lovell, a warehouseman in London in 1891 (b. 1873 in Shepherds Bush, Middx. – d. 06/03/1896 in Norwich, aged 22).

Emma died in 1874, aged 27 and Frederick married Catherine Louisa Bush in Norwich in 1876. Frederick William Day died on 18th September, 1895, aged 48, and Catherine died in 1914, aged 66.

In 1891, Ernest Day was working as a drapery assistant in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, but he left to become a photographer and to move to Norfolk. In 1899 he married a widow from Norwich, Rose Ellen Balls (born Rose Ellen Norton in Norwich in 1865). Rose and her first husband, Edward Caleb Balls, had at least two children, Percy Edward (b. 1888 – d. 1892, aged 4), and Mabel Rose (b. 1892/3 in Norwich – m. Norman G. Swatland in 1923 – d. 1958, aged 65). Edward Balls died in 1895, aged 35.

Ernest Day had a business as a photographic artist in Regent Road, Great Yarmouth, in 1901, where their first child was born. The family then moved to Norwich. He and Rose had three children:-

1) Sybil Ursula Norton (b. 1901 – m. Leslie Challis Fryatt in 1929 – d. 1965/6, aged 64). 2) Doris Millicent (b. 1902). 3) Cyril Earl Russell (b. 1904/5).

Ernest Day stayed in Lynn until his death in 1932/3, aged 62.

c1934 –1935 (Love Bros.)

In about 1934, Love Bros. moved into No. 60 but were not here for long. They had been at No. 91, High Street for more than 40 years but moved out in 1927 when Scott & Son bought the premises. They went to No. 146, Norfolk Street for a brief spell before moving again to No. 60, High Street. More details about the partnership and the family will be found under No. 91.

1935 – 1937 (Burtol Cleaners Ltd.)

In February, 1935, Burtol Cleaners submitted an application to the Borough Council to install a new shop front.

1937 (Marks & Spencer Ltd.)

The premises were acquired by Marks & Spencer Ltd. in 1937 for the expansion of their store.