63 – 64

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63 & 64, High Street

From the mid-1850s, Nos. 63 and 64 were combined. These were the premises of John Rose & Son, first listed in Harrod’s Directory for 1863, but purchased some years earlier. John Rose & Son moved out at the end of WWI and the premises were demolished, being redeveloped by the London Joint City & Midland Bank Ltd. (later the Midland Bank Ltd.) as a bank with offices above. Some but not all of the tenants who occupied the offices at the Midland Bank Chambers were listed in Kelly’s directories. Details are given under the entry for the bank.

c1854 – c1919 (John Rose & Son.)

There were several generations of the Rose family working as saddlers and harness makers in the East Dereham, Castle Acre and Lynn areas of Norfolk, from at least the 1790s until 1918.

The following article appeared in ‘Industries of Norfolk & Suffolk’ published by the British Industrial Publishing Company, and reproduced in the Lynn Advertiser on 6th September, 1890:-

‘An important centre of industrial activity in the town of King’s Lynn is the establishment of Messrs. JOHN ROSE & SON, Saddlers and Harness Makers, and also Carpet Factors, etc., of 63 and 64, High Street. This is an old established business, which has for over 100 years past furnished the nobility and gentry of the surrounding districts with goods of a high class quality. The stock of saddlery is large, and embraces all kinds of requisites for the stable or harness-room. A special department is also devoted  to repairing and renovating harness, the firm sending experienced men throughout a wide district to repair and renovate harness used for agricultural purposes. Messrs. ROSE & SON are also extensive manufacturers of Sacks, Waterproof Wagon, Drum, Engine and Cart Covers, Sheep Netting, Stack Covers, Rope, Twine, etc., in each of which departments a large stock is held; Brushes of every kind, Cocoa Matting and Mats forming articles of supply. The Carpet department is also of good size, and contains a large stock. There is also a large and well-assorted stock of Linoleums, Floor Cloths, Tapestry, Table Covers, Hearth-rugs, Stair Carpets etc. The house is noted for the excellence of the goods supplied, as well as the lowness of the prices charged.’

If the business had been going for over 100 years at that date, it would have been established before 1790. Although no records have been found to substantiate that, the ancestors of John Rose may well have been in the saddlery and harness business at that time, and possibly earlier. The five John Roses have been given numbers.

John Rose I (b. c1720 in Mattishall – d. 1781 in East Dereham.) married Ann Lyndo in East Dereham on 10th February, 1740. They had three children:-

1) John (b. 1745 – d. 1745). 2) James (b. 1753 – d. 1753). 3) John II (b. 1749 – m. Elizabeth Chad – d. 1805). It is not known whether John Rose I was a harness maker and it is thought that his son was the founder of the firm.

John Rose II – the founder of John Rose & Son – was born in East Dereham in about 1749 and married Elizabeth Chad in the town on 12th June, 1781. They had seven children:-

1) John III (b. 1783 – m. Susannah Atto on 28/03/1811 – d. d.21/08/1858, aged 75). 2) Samuel (b. 25/06/1785 – m. Mary Clark on 09/01/1812 – d. 29/07/1860, aged 85). 3) Ann (b. 25/01/1786 – m. John Dunn on 03/04/1809 – d. 23/04/1844, aged 58). 4) Edward (b. 19/03/1788). 5. Mary (b. 18/12/1791 – m. Abraham Mitchen on 09/09/1830). 6. Thomas (b. 02/10/1793). 7. George (b. 27/10/1796).

The business was in East Dereham until after John Rose II’s death in 1805, but his son John III moved it to Lynn, where it became established in premises at 2, Tuesday Market Place. Although the precise date is not known, his retirement notice in 1843 states that they had been in the town for twenty years, placing it at about 1821. They were listed by Pigot in 1830 as John Rose & Son. In White for 1836 and Pigot for 1839, the entries are for John Rose (without the ‘& Son’), but this may not have reflected a deliberate change. John III married Susannah Atto from Lynn in 1811. They did not have any children. However, he was joined by a younger John Rose in the business – his nephew, the son of his brother Samuel.

John Rose III died on 21st August, 1858, aged about 75, and Susannah died in 1864, aged 83.

Samuel Rose (b. 25/06/1785 at East Dereham – d. 29/07/1860, aged 74 at Castle Acre) was the second son of John Rose II and Elizabeth Chad. While his elder brother John III moved to Lynn, Samuel established his own business as a saddler and harness maker in Castle Acre, initially in partnership with James Kidall (c1776-1843). A notice in the Norfolk Chronicle for 7th March 1829 announces the end of that partnership:-

‘NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the CO-PARTNERSHIP between Messrs. JAMES KIDALL and SAMUEL ROSE, Collar and Harness Makers of Castle Acre in the county of Norfolk, was this day Dissolved by Mutual consent. – Witness our hands this fourth day of March, 1829.’

After the dissolution of this partnership, Samuel continued in business on his own in Castle Acre, probably working up until his death in 1860. He married Mary Clark on 9th January, 1812 at East Dereham, and they had seven children, all born in Castle Acre:-

1) Elizabeth (b. 1815 – d. 1892). 2) John IV – partner in John Rose & Son – see below (b. 1817 – m. Sarah Ann Ward in 1841 – d. 1893, aged 76). 3) Edward, a boot and shoe maker – see No. 95, High Street (b. 1818 – m. Elizabeth Watts in 1846 – d. 1862, aged about 44). 4) Sarah (b. 1821). 5) Thomas, a harness maker at Castle Acre (b. c1824 – m. Sarah Ann Dennington in 1851 – d. 1892, aged 68). 6) Mary Ann (b. c1825). 7. Emily (b. c1831 – m. William Comer in 1854 – d. 1910, aged 79).

John Rose IV had moved to Lynn by 1841 when he was living in Norfolk Street. He had already joined his uncle John III at John Rose & Son, and indeed may have served his apprenticeship there. In March 1843, John III announced his retirement:-

‘Tuesday Market Place, Lynn. JOHN ROSE, Harness & Collar Maker, Saddler etc., offers his sincere thanks to his Friends, for the liberal support with which he has been favoured during the last twenty years, and begs to announce to them that he has retired from business, and is succeeded by his Nephew JOHN ROSE, who will carry on the above Trade in all its branches, and who earnestly solicits a share of the patronage received by his predecessor, assuring his Friends and the Public, it shall always be his study to merit the same. London Whips of every description.’

John III and Susannah moved from the Tuesday Market Place to London Road, and his nephew, who had married Sarah Ann Ward in 1841, moved his family into living accommodation at John Rose & Son’s premises, where they were in 1851.

The business was moved from 2, Tuesday Market Place between 1854 (White) and 1861, when the family were living at No. 64, High Street. The accommodation at No. 63 was rented out at that date, and the firm retained a workshop at the back of the Tuesday Market Place premises..

John IV and Sarah had at least seven children, all born in King’s Lynn:-

1) Frederick John, a saddle & harness maker in Enfield (b. 1843/4 – m. Emma Clipston in 1869 – d. 1887, aged 43). 2) George Edward – partner at John Rose & Son – see below (b. 1845 – m. Thirza Ann Eastwick in 1870 – d. 1918, aged 72). 3) John Alfred, collector of dues at Bristol docks (b. 1855 – m. Clara Garner in 1879 – d. 1926, aged 70). 4) Charles Edgar, a Halifax jeweller (b. 1857/8 – m. Annie Jane Anderton in 1882 – d. 04/11/1938, aged 80). 5) Emma Rosa (b. 1861 – m. Robert McAdam in 1889 – d. 1931, aged 69). 6) Agnes, accountant at John Rose & Son (b. 1864 – d. 1959/60, aged 96). 7) Lilian, principal of Cranford House, a private boarding school at Westbury-on-Trym (b. 1865/6 – d. 26/11/1952, aged 86).

In 1871 John Rose employed two men and a boy. His two eldest sons Frederick and George Edward both joined him in the business but Frederick had left Lynn by this date to work on his own at Oundle, later moving to Enfield. His third son, John Alfred, started out as a newspaper reporter before moving to work at Bristol docks. His youngest son, Charles Edgar, was a clerk in a surveyor’s office in 1871, presumably that of Thomas Burton who lived above No. 63, but later moved to Halifax where he worked as a jeweller. His daughter Agnes worked as an accountant for John Rose & Son for many years.

George Edward Rose married Thirza Ann Eastwick at Lynn in 1870 and they were living in Johnson’s yard in 1871, moving to 20, Albert Street by 1881. George took over the business at around this time. He became a Town Councillor and was elected mayor for the year 1906/7.

By 1891, John Rose had retired and was living at 1, Gaywood Villas, Gaywood Road. His wife Sarah Ann had died in 1887, aged 66 and John died in 1893 at the age of 76.

One of the apprentices at John Rose & Son was Frank Harry Huns. Frank was born in King’s Lynn in 1878, the son of William Huns, who was working as a timber merchant’s foreman in the town. As a young lad of 15 in 1892 Frank started work at John Rose & Son’s saddlery, being required ‘to be of good behaviour, punctual, obliging and open to learn the art of saddlery’. The process involved learning the lengths and widths of pieces of harness for working horses, usually Percherons (heavy horses originating from La Perche region of France) some 18 or 19 hands high. Most farms had 28 working horses with two smaller hacking and one milk-cart pony. Making the saddle necessitated taking several strands of flax thread, twisting them together to make a thread attached to a blunt needle each end. Suitable cowhide was selected and cut from a ‘back’ to the proper width and length and these were stitched together at eight stitches to the inch, using a sharp awl. The hide was gripped between the knees as a clamp. Frank Huns became a master saddler and his tools, notebooks on horse sizes and orders taken on Norfolk farms are at the Leather Museum in Walsall.

Like many Lynn businesses, John Rose & Son supplied goods to the Sandringham estate. They were commissioned by the tenants to make harness and a gold-mounted driving whip as presents to the Duke of York and Princess Mary of Teck on the occasion of their wedding on 6th July, 1893. The Duke was so taken with them that he ordered a second set.

George Rose died in 1918 and Thirza died the following year. George’s three sisters lived in Bath and they decided to sell the business, stock in trade and premises to Frank Huns, who retained the name since the business was so well known within the local farming community. During the Great War, No. 85, High Street had been used as billet by the Yeomanry troops and their horses and after the war Frank Huns bought the premises from David Greig and moved John Rose & Son into new accommodation.

 1921 – 2008 (Midland Bank Ltd.) (HSBC Bank) (Midland Bank Chambers)

The premises were acquired by the London Joint City and Midland Bank Ltd., and the site was redeveloped with a new three-storey purpose-built banking hall with offices above.

The bank could trace its roots back to the Midland Banking Company (later the Birmingham and Midland Bank), founded in 1836 with premises on Union Street, Birmingham. In 1891 it merged with the Central Bank of London Ltd. and became the London City and Midland Bank Ltd. until 1918, when it changed to the London Joint City and Midland Bank Ltd. In 1923 the name was shortened to the Midland Bank Ltd.

The first manager of the bank in 1836 was Charles Geach (b. 01/05/1808 in St. Austell, Cornwall – m. Eliza Lucy Skally on 20/01/1832 – d. 01/11/1954, aged 46). Charles started his career as a junior clerk at the Bank of England, and progressed to being selected as one of the staff at the bank’s new branch in Birmingham. It was here that he became known and trusted by some of Birmingham’s most influential businessmen, who invited him to become manager of their new venture, the Midland Banking Company.  Charles stayed there from 1836 until 1851, when he was elected as Member of Parliament for Coventry. After leaving the bank, he became involved in a number of large engineering companies, including the Woodside Iron Works and Foundry, which supplied large companies engaged in railway and pipeline construction in this country and across the world. The Woodside Works supplied most of the cast iron frames for the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. Charles Geach was a promoter of the Crystal Palace project and became a director after its move to Sydenham. He was elected as an Alderman and became mayor of Birmingham. However, the hard work he put into business and into his political activities, took their toll on his health, and he died at the age of 46 on 1st November, 1854. Eliza Geach died on 3rd January, 1876, aged 65.

After Charles Geach left the bank, it continued to prosper and to expand. Acquisition of the Central Bank of London gave it a seat in the London Clearing House and it gained a head office in the capital when it bought the City Bank in 1898, the year that Edward Hopkinson Holden became managing director.

Born in Tottington, Lancashire on 11th May, 1848, Edward Holden became an apprentice at the Bolton branch of the Manchester and County Bank. In 1877 he married Annie Cassie. In 1881 he was appointed as accountant to the Birmingham and Midland Bank, becoming joint general manager in 1891. By 1918, the bank was ranked as the biggest in the world.

Edward Holden was elected to parliament as the member for Heywood in Lancashire in 1906, serving until 1910, and was made a baronet in 1909. He remained as an economic advisor to the government and was sent to New York in 1915 to help negotiate an Anglo-French loan from the United States. He died on 23rd July, 1919, aged 71.

After the First World War, the Midland Bank expanded its branches across the country, introducing new banking services and automated systems. Following the end of credit restrictions in 1958, the bank embarked upon a number of important mergers and acquisitions, including the Forward Trust, and the London merchant bank Samuel Montague & Co., and the Thomas Cook travel company (the holding was sold in 1992).

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) acquired an interest in the Midland Bank in 1987 and full ownership in 1992.

The Midland Bank ceased as a name in 1999, becoming the HSBC Bank.

The first manager of the Lynn branch was Matthew Charles Camamile (b. 1881 in Lincoln). His father, William Joseph Camamile (b. 1855 – m. Alice Whittaker in 1878 – d. 1939, aged 83) was a clerk at a local foundry in Lincoln, where the family lived at West Parade.

Matthew, who worked as a clerk at a bank in Lincoln, married Emily Selina Wilford in 1909. They had two children, both born in Lincolnshire:-

1) Barbara (b. 02/05/1914 – m. Dennis Hasler in 1947 – d. 1997, aged 82). 2) Geoffrey (b. 1918 – m. Beryl Jones in 1947 – d. 1989, aged 70).

By 1933, Matthew Camamile had left Lynn. He retired to live in Grantham, Lincolnshire, where he died on 30th September, 1966, aged 85. Emily Camamile died in 1972, aged about 91.

The next manager of what had become the Midland Bank Ltd. was Frank A. Cooper. He was succeeded by Mr. A. J. Thornhill, who was here for at least ten years between about 1951 (Kelly) and 1964.

Midland Bank Chambers (1921-1966)

The occupants of the Midland Bank Chambers are listed in Kelly’s directories from the 1920s until 1966. None are listed in 1973 (Kelly). The dates given below are for the years that the names appeared in the directories.

1925-1939 (Mapus-Smith & Lemmon)

The accountancy firm of Mapus-Smith and Lemmon were here between 1925 and 1938/9. By 1960 they had moved to No. 19, Tuesday Market Place and they were at No. 48, King Street in 1973.

1925-1966 (Pearl Assurance Co. Ltd.)

First listed in 1925, the Pearl Assurance Co. Ltd. had their district offices here until at least 1966. During this time, their district managers were:-

Newland Dowsing -1925.

Joseph Newland King Dowsing was born in Suffolk in 1872 and Married Eliza Matilda Thurkettle in 1899. He worked as an insurance agent in Woodbridge, Great Yarmouth and Saffron Walden before coming to Lynn. He moved back to Suffolk and died in Felsham on 13th October, 1941, aged 69.

Sydney George Randall – 1928-1938/9.

Sydney Randall was born on 9th May, 1892 at Mattishall in Norfolk. He married Alice Wright in 1915, and died in Lynn in 1971, aged 79.

– (b. 1892 – d. 1971, aged 79).

William H. Robinson – 1951.

G. Bergman – 1954-1957.

1951-1966 (Alliance Assurance Co. Ltd.) (Sun Insurance Office Ltd.)

The Alliance Assurance Co. was listed at the Bank Chambers from 1951 until 1966. Mr. R.A.D. Willis was listed as the local secretary in 1951, ’54 and ’57.

The company was founded in 1824 as the Alliance Marine Assurance Company. In 1959 it merged with the Sun Insurance Company to become Sun Assurance, which merged with the Royal Insurance as the Royal and Sun Insurance in 1996. In 1966 the Sun Insurance Office Ltd. was listed at No. 63b.

In 2008, the HSBC moved its King’s Lynn branch to New Conduit Street.

2008 – (Nandos)

Nandos, the restaurant chain specialising in Portuguese-style flame-grilled chicken, opened its 200th UK branch here on 12th November, 2008. They converted the bank building into a restaurant with seating for 110 people, including space for eight in the former vault area. Many of the features of the old building have been retained.