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No. 62, High Street

c1836 – 1839 (Benjamin Kisch)

White’s Directory for 1836 lists Benjamin Kisch, a tailor, draper and hatter, at this address.

Born in London in about 1803, Benjamin’s grandparents were Simon Kisch and Julia Cohen. The family had come from Bavaria but Simon was born in Groningen, Holland and moved his family to London, sometime before 1800, where they became prominent members of the Jewish community. Simon was a tailor, with premises at 40, Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, and a branch in Brighton. He and Julia had at least three children born in London:-

1) Abraham, Secretary and Reader at the Jerusalem Synagogue, St. Alban’s Place, London (b. 1796 – m. Isabella – d. 25/12/1849, aged 53). 2) Benjamin – see below (b. c1803 – m. Julia – d. 13/01/1861). 3) Moses, a wholesale shoe manufacturer in Norwich (b. c1810 – m. Hannah de Pass – d. 15/07/1861 in Norwich).

Abraham’s son Simon Abraham (b. c1823) became a solicitor but was taken to court by a client who had been cheated out of a compensation claim that he had won. The judge was very scathing about Simon Kisch’s actions and the court reporter concluded:-

‘It is to be hoped that Mr. Kisch’s next client will reap the benefit of the lesson which that gentleman has received at the hands of the pigeon which he attempted to pluck so unmercifully.’

Simon Kisch was later declared bankrupt. Three of his sons became lawyers and one, Henry (b. c1851), became a very successful barrister.

Benjamin’s brother Moses married Hannah (b. 20/11/1818 in Lynn), the daughter of Daniel de Pass, the London wholesale boot and shoe manufacturer who had premises at Lynn for several years (see No. 33, High Street). Moses worked as an agent to Daniel de Pass. The two were in partnership for a time, as shoe manufacturers at High Street, Wisbech, but they dissolved the partnership in 1840. Moses had his own boot and shoe manufactory, with premises on Magdalen Street in Norwich, but he was declared bankrupt in 1856. Hannah Kisch died in Brussels on 8th February, 1874, aged 55.

Benjamin and his wife Julia, who was born in Hampshire in about 1803, were living here in 1841, but it is not known when they left No. 62. The premises were advertised to be sold at auction on 15th April, 1841, along with those at No. 63. It would appear that Benjamin moved next door to No. 61, and that he then left Lynn in December, 1844 when all of his stock was sold at auction from No. 61:-

‘To Be Sold by Auction, by Mr. W. Wilde, on the premises of Mr. B. KISCH, No. 61, High Street, Lynn, on Monday, 30th December, 1844, and the following days, all the Valuable and extensive Stock of Cloths, Satins, Waistcoatings, Ready-made Clothes, Etc., Household Furniture and Other Effects.’

Benjamin’s business was in financial trouble and he was declared bankrupt in 1845, having gone out of business.

In 1851 he was living in Arundel Street, St. James, not far from the Thames in central London, and was working as a tailor again.

Julia Kisch died in Liverpool in 1857 and Benjamin died in London on 13th January, 1860.

1841 – c1844 (William Catliff)

William Catliff, a draper was here in 1842 but was not listed in any directories and may only have stayed for a very short time. On 8th November, 1842, he placed an advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘VICTORIA HOUSE, 62, High Street, Lynn and Market Place, Wisbech. W. CATLIFF, begs to inform his Friends and the Public, that he has just returned from London, where he has been selecting an entire NEW STOCK of GOODS, comprising every novelty of the season, which he is determined to offer at extraordinary LOW PRICES. The fancy department comprises an immense variety of Satinetts, Plain and Figured Silks, Clan Tartans in every material, Chene Chusans, Crape de Pekins, Parisian Lustres, Saxonys, etc., etc., etc. A most elegant assortment of French and English Bonnet and Gauze Ribbons, Velvets in every shade and color, Fancy Handkerchiefs, Scarfs, Collars, Flowers, Blondes, Lace, Plaid and Fancy Cloakings, etc., etc. C. has just received in the Domestic department, several Bales of Blankets, Counterpanes, Moreens, Furniture Chintz, Bed Ticks, Carpetings, Rugs, Sheetings, Irish Linens, Lawns, Diapers, etc., etc., to which he solicits particular attention.’

For several years he had a drapery shop at Union Street in the Market Place at Wisbech. Unfortunately, he had suffered some serious financial difficulties over the previous few years and had been declared bankrupt in 1837. In 1841 his properties in Bassingham, Lincolnshire, including a shop and some pastureland were sold under an order of the Court of Bankruptcy.

William had been born in Retford, Nottinghamshire on 25th January, 1808. His father was Robert Catliff, who married Mary Dunnell Nottingham on 2nd January, 1806.

William was married twice. On 25th April, 1833 he married Ann Shilcock at St. Peter’s in Wisbech and they had seven children, five born in Wisbech and two in Long Sutton:-

1) Mary Ann (b. 06/07/1834 in Wisbech). 2) Robert William (b. 20/12/1835 in Wisbech). 3) Elizabeth Ann (b. 1840 in Wisbech). 4) William Dunnell, a china dealer (b. 1842 in Wisbech – m. Sarah Lailey in 1877 – d. 1902, aged 60). 5) Eleanor Ann (b. 1843 in Wisbech). 6) Joseph Henry a seaman on the ‘Anconcagua’ (b. 1846 in Long Sutton – drowned at sea in 1863, aged 17). 7) Louisa Ann (b. 1847 in Surfleet).

William’s business was listed at Union Street, Wisbech in 1839 (Pigot), and he and Ann were living in the town in 1841.

Following his short business venture in Lynn in 1842, William Catliff continued to run his shop in Wisbech for another two years but he relinquished the lease in May 1844 and opened a draper’s shop in Gosberton Risegate, Lincolnshire. In 1848 he gave up this business too, and all his stock, together with his furniture and other effects were sold in July that year.

He then moved to London and changed jobs. In 1851 the family were living at Albany Street, St. Pancras, and William was a tobacconist. Ann died there early that year, aged about 36.

William married for a second time, to Ann Rayner Woodhouse Hastings, in January 1860.

By 1871 William had moved to Brighton and was working as a confectioner. He died two years later, at the age of 65.

c1846 – 1864 (William Joseph Baker)

William Baker, a woollen draper is listed here in the Nine Counties Directory for 1846, and may have moved in the previous year after Benjamin Kisch’s departure. He had been at No. 66 in 1836, where he was listed in White’s directory for that year. Also listed in that directory was Wm. Baker & Co., woollen drapers, at No. 91, High Street, but there is no confirmation that this was the same William Baker.

Born in Holt in about 1806, William Joseph never married and appears to have continued trading at No. 62 until his death on 25th January, 1864, at the age of 57. However, in addition to the drapery business, he had taken up farming and, by 1861, was running a farm of some 300 acres, while employing six men and one boy.

Also working for him at that date, as a draper, was his nephew William Edward Baker (b. 1841 in Swaffham – m. Catherine Failes in 1867/8 – d. 1904, aged 63). William had been sent to boarding school in London Road, Lynn, under the tutelage of George Cawthorn. Following his uncle’s death, William took over the farm, at Tilney All Saints, whilst his younger brother Joseph succeeded to the drapery business.

1864 – 1905 (Joseph Charles Baker) (Helen Baker)

Joseph Charles Baker was born in Swaffham in 1842 and was sent away to George Cawthorn’s commercial school at London Road, Lynn, with his brother William Edward. By 1871 he was here at No. 62, probably taking over the drapery business after his uncle’s death in 1864. The business was briefly listed as Baker & Steward (White, 1864).

In 1870, Joseph married Helen Smith (b. c1847 in Dalston, Middlesex). They had nine children, all born in Lynn, but only the following seven survived into adulthood:-

1) Henry Edward, an outfitter in 1911 (b. 1871– m. Edith Smale in 1900). 2) Francis Charles (b. 1873). 3) Joshua Joseph (b. 1875). 4. William Frederick, a shop assistant in 1911 (b. 1877 –– m. Helen V. Watts in 1917). 5) Helen Bayliss, a milliner (b. 1880 – d. 03/05/1917 in Victoria, British Columbia). 6) Arthur Louis, a draper’s assistant in 1911 (b. 1882). 7) George Augustine, a carpenter (b. 1885/6 – m. Lily M. Joplin in 1914/15 – d. 1964, aged 78).

Joseph Baker died on 9th February, 1901, at the age of 58, and his widow Helen continued the business for a few more years before retiring to live in All Saints Street. She died in 1918 in Lynn, aged 71.

1905 – c1912 (William John Girling)

In Kelly’s directory for 1904, William Girling, a clothier, hatter, hosier and gentlemen’s complete outfitter, is listed at No. 84, High Street. He moved here that year after Helen Baker retired, and advertised as a ‘bespoke tailor’.

William John Girling was born in 1865 in Cratfield, Suffolk. His parents were Robert Girling (b. c1822 in Cratfield) and Ann Fisk (b. c1827 in Newcastle upon Tyne). Robert was a wheelwright who served his apprenticeship with Samuel Hill of Badingham before setting up on his own account in Cratfield. Robert and Ann married in 1847/8 and they had at least nine children, all born in Cratfield:-

1) Eleanor (b. 1850 – m. Horace Herbert Dunnett in 1881 – d. 1931, aged 81). 2) Emma (b. 1853 – m. Charles Clark in 1872/3). 3) Clara (b. 1858 – m. Charles Gooch in 1881 – d. 1888, aged 30). 4) Mary (b. 1859 – m. George David Brinton in 1882/3 – d. 1916, aged 58). 5) Arthur Robert (b. 1860/1). 6) William John – see below (b. 1865 – m. Eliza Bullingham in 1897 – d. 1955, aged 89). 7. Anne Eliza (b. 1866/7). 8. Jessie Florence, a music shop owner in Saxmundham in 1911 (b. 1868/9 m. Coppock Alexander Wright in 1895 and Ebenezer Ballard in 1911 – d. 1944, aged 75). 9. Edith Blanch (b. 1871 – m. George Alban Cole in 1906 – d. 1949, aged 78).

William John Girling served an apprenticeship with a gentlemen’s outfitter in Halesworth, Suffolk, before working as an assistant to Walter Bloxome in Church Street, Woodbridge. He married Eliza Bullingham (b. c1866 in Stoke Ash, Suffolk) in 1897 and they set up home in Anson Road, Great Yarmouth. William took a job as a manager in an outfitter’s shop in the town. In about 1903, William moved to Lynn and set up shop at No. 84, High Street. He and Eliza had six children:-

1) Alice Edith (b. 04/12/1898 in Gorleston – m. Hubert Henry Hyde in 1925 – d. 1982, aged 83). 2) Stanley Robert (b. 11/10/1900 – m. Kathleen Gladys Gore in 1924 – d. 1985, aged 61). 3) Doris Marianne (b. 11/07/1902 – m. Sydney G. Morris in 1924 – d. 1984, aged 81). 4) Marjorie (b. 01/11/1904 – d. 1982, aged 77). 5) Gladys Winifred, a corsetiere (b. 17/10/1906– m. James Blackburn in 1954 – d. 1998, aged 91). 6) Jack Allan (b. 28/03/1910 – m. Kathleen M. Bell in 1938 – d. 1989, aged 79).

By 1913, William Girling had retired from the business at No. 62 and for the rest of his life lived at 32, Sydney Street in Lynn. Eliza died in 1952/3, at the age of 86, and William died on 22nd April, 1955, aged 89.

1913 – 1914 (William Henry Cockle) (P. S. Targett)

For a year or so, No. 62 was let out on a short term basis and two High Street traders occupied them for a few months between 1913 and 1914.

On May 23rd 1913, William Cockle announced that, owing to a fire at his premises, No. 70, High Street, he had moved to No. 62:-

‘FIRE! FIRE! The Business of W. H. COCKLE, Chemist, High Street, Lynn, is being carried on at NUMBER 62, on the opposite side of the street. (Next Door to ROSE’s)’.  

By 27th June, his shop had been repaired and he had moved back to No. 70.

On 4th December, 1914, Percy Sarel Targett announced that his stationery business would be at No. 62 on a temporary basis:-

‘FOR XMAS PRESENTS go to P. S. TARGETT’s Temporary Premises: 62, High Street, King’s Lynn. Entirely new range of Xmas Cards, Boxed Autograph Cards, Calendars, Games, and all kinds of Fancy and Leather Goods. Just received, New Stock of Stationery, Account Books and Office Requisites. PRIVATE GREETING CARD BOOK sent to any address.’

c1916 – c1922 (Charles Francis Metcalf)

Plumber Charles Metcalf was here in 1916 but had moved to No. 59 by 1922 and to No. 83 by 1928. See No. 59 for further details of the family.

c1922 – c1973 (Florence & Marjorie Williams)

The Misses Florence & Marjorie Williams, costumiers, were listed here in Kelly’s directory for 1922. This was the only year in which Florence was recorded, and by the following year Marjorie was advertising as the sole proprietress. Their summer sale advertisement in 1922 read:-

‘EVE’S Great Summer Sale commencing Monday, July 3rd. Bargains in all departments. Crepe de Chene Blouses from 10/- Model Hats, Gowns & Costumes Greatly Reduced. 62, High Street, King’s Lynn’.

In 1967 the premises were offered for sale at auction but were withdrawn after the bidding reached £34,000.

Marjorie Williams continued to run the gown shop through to at least 1973, when the business was listed in Kelly’s directory. She also advertised from time to time as ‘Madame Eve’.

1994 – to date (Edinburgh Woollen Mill)

A branch of the clothing chain Edinburgh Woollen Mill opened here on 1st December, 1994.

The business was founded in 1946 by Drew Stevenson as the ‘Langholm Dyeing and Finishing Company’, undertaking the dyeing of yarn on a contract basis. In 1970 the company opened its first shop, in Randolph Place, Edinburgh. Their first branch in England opened in Carlisle two years later.

There have been numerous changes in the ownership and structure of the group, but it has grown and extended its range, now owning 265 high street stores, together with 88 speciality tourist shops (most being in Scotland) and 27 destination shops trading under local names, such as ‘Wilton Shopping Village’. They also have an online store.

The high street stores stock a range of quality brands including Isle for women over fifty, Pringle, Pg Field, Hector Russell, the Cashmere Shop and golf and leisure wear for both men and women.