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No. 73, High Street

No. 73 was occupied for nearly fifty years by John Aikin, a printer and bookseller. After he died in 1889, Trenowath Brothers took over the premises, combining Nos. 73 and 74. A separate account is given of the combined Nos. 73 and 74 from 1889 to 2006.

c1830 – 1889 (John Wingate Aikin)

First listed in 1830 (Pigot), White’s Directory for 1836 lists John Wingate Aikin (John Aikin IV), a bookseller, printer, stationer, binder and seller of patent medicines at this address. He was also an agent for Clerical and Medical Life Insurance. He was living here in 1841 with his son Arthur, aged four, and his sister-in-law Sarah Ann King (b. c1813 in Lynn).

John Aikin was born in Mepal, Cambridgeshire, on 8th June, 1805. In his direct line there were three John Aikins before him. His great, great, grandfather John Aikin I (1664-1723) was born in County Galway, Ireland in 1664. On the other side of the family was his great, great, grandmother, Anna Laetitia Wingate (1686-1770), from whom he inherited his middle name.

The Wingates lived at Horsehill Farm in Harlington, Bedfordshire. This was on the other side of the road to Harlington Grange, where the Aikins lived.

The next John Aikin (II) was a dissenting minister and took a teaching post at Warrington Academy at Bridgefoot.

His grandparents were John Aikin III (1747-1822) and Martha Jennings (1747-1830). John III’s sister Anna Laetitia (1743-1825) married the Rev. Rochemont Barbauld and she became one of the best known and most respected female poets of her time. She was also an essayist, hymn writer, literary critic, editor and children’s author. At Warrington Academy, Laetitia Barbauld met John Priestly and he was later to claim that he inspired her to write poetry. The Barbaulds moved to Palgrave in Suffolk to establish and teach at a new dissenting Academy.

John IV’s father was a farmer and land owner, George Aikin (b. 20/06/1774 – d. 20/11.1847) who married Elizabeth Vipan at St. Ives in 1798. They had four children, the two eldest born in Elstow, Bedfordshire, the two youngest in Mepal Cambridgeshire:-

1) William Orton (b. 12/08/1799 – m. Mary Anne Mason). 2) Anna Letitia (b. 08/06/1803). 3) John Wingate (b. 08/06/1805 – m. Harriet King on 14/06/1836 – d. 08/12/1889, aged 84). 4) Arthur Jennings (b. 31/01/1807).

John and Harriet had three children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Frances Wingate (b. c1836 – d. 1842, aged 6). 2) Arthur Edward (b. 1837 – d. 1866, aged 29). 3) George William (b. 1838 – d. 1839).

Harriet died in October, 1839, and John did not marry again. His sister-in-law, Sarah Ann King (b. c1813 in Lynn – d.1901, aged 88) stayed with him as his housekeeper for the rest of his life. Another sister-in-law, Emma M. King (b. c1824) was staying with them in 1881.

On 14th February, 1843, the following notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘JUST PUBLISHED, By. J. W. Aikin, 73, High Street, Lynn, Price 1s. 6d., An Account of the CHARITIES belonging to the Borough of King’s Lynn, being an authentic copy of the Report of the Commissioners, for enquiring concerning Public Charities. ALSO, Price 1s. 6d. A Report of the Proceedings of the Municipal Corporation Commissioners AT KING’S LYNN, With a Copious Appendix containing the PRINCIPAL CHARTERS, List of Charities, Copies of the Corporation Accounts, and other matters furnished to the Commissioners.’

In addition to his business as a bookseller, stationer and printer, John Aikin sold patent medicines, was an agent to the Clerical, Medical and General Life Assurance Company, and the Suffolk Alliance Fire Office, and he also ran a circulating library.

In Harrod’s directory for 1868, the business is listed as ‘Aikin & Son’. His son Arthur had been working for him in 1861 but he died in 1866, aged 29.

Isabella Aikin, who had been married to John’s nephew (b. c1837 in Lynn – d. 1898, aged 62) was assisting in the business in 1881, when he was 75 years old.

Frederick Carpenter (see No. 8) started out as an apprentice to John Aikin. John Jex Rolfe (b. 1839/40 – m. Emma Samson in 1866 – d. 1921/2, aged 82) was employed as a young man by John Aikin, later becoming a brewer (London Road Brewery c1875). Another lad who trained under John Aikin was Oscar Backham (b. c1843 in Lynn), who later published a number of guide books on Lynn and locality. He co-founded Backham’s Almshouses in Goodwins Road, Lynn, in 1901.

John Wingate Aikin died in 1889, aged 84.

1889 (Trenowath Brothers)

The next occupiers of these premises were Trenowath Brothers, cabinet makers, upholsterers and furniture removers, who combined Nos. 73 and 74. Details of the Trenowath Brothers and Woolworths are given at Nos. 73 & 74, High Street.

2006 (Monsoon)

Monsoon, a store selling classic women’s clothes and accessories opened here after Woolworths left. They also sell their own range of fragrances, gowns, evening wear, swimwear, suits, jewellery, and handbags.