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No. 85, High Street

 The premises at No. 85 were substantial, although slightly smaller than those at Nos. 84 & 84a. During the years that each was occupied by a single business (see Robert Barrows Household c1854), this would have been one of the larger shops in High Street. For over 60 years this was a hat and glove manufactory, where many of the products sold in the shop were made on the premises, and where apprentices learnt their skills in the workshops at the back of the premises.

In later years, Nos. 85 and 86 High Street became one shop.

1790 – c1854 (John Keed I) (John Keed II) (Maria Keed) (John Keed III)

There were at least three generations of John Keeds in Lynn who were hatters and glovers. They were part of an extended family that included a Piccadilly glover, William James Keed (b. 20/09/1819 in Cambridge – m. Elizabeth Scrivener Cross on 16/02/1843 – d. 1894). The Lynn business was established in 1790, and the three John Keeds are referred to as follows:

John Keed 1 (dates not known).

John Keed II (1782-1845).

John Keed III (28/03/1810 – 1871).

The founder was John Keed I, and the Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices lists him as a master glover in 1799, when he had a female apprentice, Elizabeth Bates, and in 1800 when Robert Balding was his apprentice. The Poll Book for 1802 has him as a freehold owner in the town. Apart from this, little is known about him. He and his wife, Jane had at least two children, both born in Lynn:-

1) John Keed II (b. c1782 – m. Maria Durrant – d. 1845, aged about 63). 2) James – see No. 41, High Street (b. 1784 – m. Mary – d. 1851, aged about 67).

John Keed II presumably learnt the trade under his father’s guidance, but by about 1805 he had set up on his own account as a hatter and furrier at No. 21, High Street. He married Maria, the daughter of Timothy and Elizabeth Durrant. Maria was born in Saxlingham on 16th August, 1783. They had four children born in Lynn and baptised at the Stepney Baptist Chapel in the town:-

1) Maria (b. 15/08/1805 – m. James Barnard on 08/04/1835). 2) John Keed III – see below (b. 28/03/1810 – m. Elizabeth Ann Bunnett on 23/09/1833 – d. 11/04/1871, aged 61). 3) Timothy Durrant (b. 28/07/1819 – d. 1836, aged 17). James (b. 08/08/1823).

It is thought that James died before 1845 because he is not mentioned in his father’s will.

References in the records to John Keed jnr. in 1822 (Pigot) and in 1841 both relate to John Keed II.

John Keed II died in 1845 and his widow Maria continued the business, placing the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser on 19th April, 1845:-

‘HAT MANUFACTORY, London Hat and Cap Warehouse, and Dealer in British Wines, 85, High Street, Lynn. Mrs. KEED takes the present opportunity of returning her sincere thanks to the numerous circle of friends, who have for a period of upwards of 40 years patronized her late husband, and begs to solicit a continuation of their support, it being her intention to carry on the above business in its various branches, on the most advantageous terms possible. The quality and style of the goods supplied will be of the very best kind, and which she trusts will secure for her the support she respectfully solicits. Lynn, April, 1845’.

Interestingly, she combined the business of hat manufacturer with that of a supplier of British wines. She continued to place advertisements in the newspaper, but in October 1847 there was no mention of the supply of wines. Maria retired from business in 1848.

John Keed III undertook some major refurbishment of the premises before moving here from No. 114, High Street in February 1849, when he placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘Established 1790. RE-OPENING OF THE OLD ESTABLISHED HAT WAREHOUSE, No. 85, HIGH STREET. JOHN KEED begs to inform his numerous Friends and connexions, that he has removed from his Residence, No. 114, to No. 85, the Premises so long occupied by his Father, where he intends carrying on the HAT and FUR Business in all its branches, on an improved principle. It is his intention to submit to the Public all the Old Stock, at an unprecedently Low Price, in order to clear the premises previous to a handsome selection for the Spring. The Shop, which has just been elegantly and commodiously fitted up, will be OPENED on Saturday next, the 17th instant. Lynn Feb. 1849’.

Born in Lynn on 28th March, 1810, John was living here in 1851 with his wife. He had married Elizabeth Ann Bunnett on 23rd September, 1833 in St. Margarets church in Lynn, and they had three daughters, all born in the town:-

1) Elizabeth Ann (b. c1835 – m. Josiah Brown, a linen draper from Attleborough in 1896 – d. 1915/16, aged 81). 2) Maria Jane (b. c1838). 3) Isabella Mary (b. c1843 – d. 1860, aged about 17).

John’s mother Maria was living with the family here in 1851. She died in 1858, aged 75.

John Keed III ceased trading to become a Baptist minister. He left Lynn and in 1861, when he was living in Cambridge and serving as a minister at the Zion Chapel.

He died in Kensington House, Acton, Middlesex on 11/04/1871, aged 61, and Elizabeth Ann died in 1891, aged 82.

c1854 – c1863 (Robert Barrows Household)

By 1854, Robert Barrows Household had expanded his drapery business from No. 84 into these premises. According to the directory entries, he was at Nos. 84 & 85 for nine years or less, relinquishing No. 85 by 1863.  He also had a carpet warehouse on the premises. Like many drapers at this time, he provided accommodation for several of his employees, possibly over No. 85, which address was not mentioned in the 1861 census. There were six assistants and two apprentices attached to the family at this date, together with two servants. The family had been living at Coronation Square, Lynn, in 1841. Although Robert’s drapery business was one of the larger ones in the town, he withdrew from No. 85 and was listed only at 84 in Harrod’s Directory for 1863. More details about his family will be found under No. 84.

c1863 (Richard Munks)

In 1863, Richard Munks, a boot maker from Grantham, Lincolnshire, born c1809, had his shop here at No. 85. He had been trading on Lynn High Street for over twenty years but had moved premises from Nos. 32 & 33, where he was in 1861. In the census for 1871, he was aged 62 and living with his wife, Jane, from Ancaster, Lincolnshire. Their married daughter, Mary Elizabeth Minns, born in Lynn in 1847, was staying with them on census night, with her baby Richard, just one month old. Mary had married Walter James Minns, a 28-year-old seaman in 1870. By 1881, Richard Munks had retired but was still living in the centre of the town. More details about his family may be found at No. 33.

1878 – c1914 (London Tailoring Company)

The first advertisement for the London Tailoring Company at No. 85 was in the Lynn Advertiser on 30th March, 1878, announcing the opening of the new store on Tuesday 2nd April. In a second advertisement on 13th April, the following announcement appeared:-

‘The Apparel oft Proclaims the Man! CASH versus CREDIT. THE LONDON TAILORING COMPANY (H. J. Seaton, Manager) 85, HIGH STREET, KING’S LYNN, Respectfully inform the Inhabitants of King’s Lynn and Vicinity that their NEW ESTABLISHMENT, as above, was opened on Tuesday, April 2nd, with a Choice and Unrivalled Stock of GENUINE WOOLEN GOODS, Suitable for the present and approaching Seasons, which will be well worthy an early Inspection. Purchasers will here find the best possible value for their money, combined with superior Fit! Style! Quality! And Workmanship! ALL GOODS WARRANTED THOROUGHLY SHRUNK! LIVERIES! HUNTING BREECHES! RIDING TROUSERS!’

Advertisements in Bury, Manchester (1867), and in Liverpool (1879), may indicate that the business was established as a national chain at around the earlier of these dates. The Liverpool advertisement read:-

‘To Tailors – Wanted, first class Trousers makers. Constant work.’

Henry John Seaton – manager 1878 – 1882

Henry John Seaton was the first manager of the Lynn branch of the London Tailoring Company, and is recorded in the 1881 census here. He had moved to Lynn about three years earlier, having previously worked in Ross-on-Wye and in Warwickshire. He had ten people working for him, including his son Henry.

Henry John’s father was Henry Seaton snr. who was the publican at the Lion & Lamb inn at 25, Duke street, Chelmsford in 1841, when he was living there with his wife, Susannah, and their children, including Henry jnr.

Henry snr., had been born in Chelmsford in about 1809, and Susannah was born in Epping in about 1811. They had nine children, all born in Chelmsford:-

1) Henry John – see below (b. c1834 – m. Elizabeth Christiana Halfhide and Maria Frances Scott – d. 1916, aged 83). 2) Susannah (b. c1837). 3) William Andrews (b. 1837/8 – d. 1842, aged 4). 4) Jessy (b. 1840 – m. John Compton in 1869 – d. 1878/9, aged 39). 5) Clara (b. 1841 – d. 1853, aged 11). 6) William Andrews (b. 1843). 7) Richard (b. 1845 – d. 1868, aged 21). 8) Alice (b. 1848). 9) Edith (b. 1850 – d. 1854, aged 3).

Henry John Seaton married twice. His first marriage was to Elizabeth Christiana Halfhide (known by her middle name), who had been born in Hereford in about 1843. They had three children, all born in Ross:-

1) Henry Charles (b. 1867 – d. 1927, aged 60). 2) Florence May (b. 1868 – d. 1908, aged 39). 3) Edith Florence (b. 1871).

Christiana died in 1871, aged 27, and Henry John then married Maria Frances Scott (b. c1833 in Stourbridge, Worcs.). They had six children:-

1) Fitzgerald Major (b. 1905 in Ross – m. Harriet Eliza Sidwell in 1905 – d. 1959, aged 86). 2) Alice Olive (b. 1874 – d. 1948/9, aged 74). 3) Lucy (b. c1876). 4) Walter John (b. 1879 in Lynn – m. Eliza Janes in 1900). 5) Claude Hamilton (b. 1878 in Lynn – m. Elizabeth Jenks in 1903 – d. 1943, aged 64). 6) Constance Gertrude Georgina (b. 1883 in Norwich).

Henry Seaton and his family had returned to Warwick by the end of 1881 and he was working there as a tailor’s cutter in 1891. Maria died between 1901 and 1911, Henry died in 1916, aged 83.

Frederick Thurlow Blaxill – manager 1882 – 1902

Taking over the management at 85, High Street for the London Tailoring Co. was Mr. Frederick Thurlow Blaxill and this was notified in an advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser on 7th January, 1882:-

‘CASH versus CREDIT’ Under New Management. The London Tailoring Company is now under the Direction of  Mr. F. T. Blaxill, Member of the London Foreman Tailors’ Association, who holds the highest credentials for Fit, Style, &c., having had 15 years’ experience in the West End of London and Provinces. GENTLEMEN’S SUITES AND OVERCOATS MADE IN THE LEADING STYLES, SPECIAL ATTENTION GIVEN to JUVENILES. LADIES GARMENTS, INCLUDING NEWMARKETS, PALETOTS AND ULSTERS MADE TO ORDER. GOOD FIT, STYLE and WORKMANSHIP GUARANTEED Cheques and Post Orders made Payable to LONDON TAILORING COMPANY. RIDING HABITS, BREECHES, LIVERIES’.

On 9th June, 1888, the London Tailoring Company was advertising in the Lynn Advertiser from both No 85 and No 86, High Street. Their boys’ and youths’ summer clothing was on display in No. 86, while No. 85 housed their ‘Artistic Tailoring Department’.

Frederick had been in Ipswich immediately before coming to Norfolk and his father and grandfather were both tailors from Suffolk. His grandfather was Samuel Blaxill I, who had been born in Chediston, a village near Halesworth, in about 1801. Samuel I took a job as porter at the Blything Union Workhouse, possibly part time at first, and worked there from about 1851 until his death in 1872/3, aged 74. His wife Mary was born in Badingham, Suffolk in about 1806, and died in 1860, aged about 54. Samuel and Mary had at least four children, all born in Walpole, near Halesworth:-

1) Samuel II – see below (b. c1823 – m. Elizabeth Sampson – d. 1887, aged 64). 2) Charles (b. c1823 – d. 1842). 3) Mary (b. c1833 – m. Joseph Mays, a coach builder, in 1856 – d. 1866, aged 32). 4) Betsey (b. c1837 – m. Alfred William Pither, a coach builder, in 1856 – d. 1909/10, aged 73, in Reading).

Samuel Blaxill II worked as a tailor in Beccles, Suffolk, for several years before moving to London. He married Elizabeth Sampson (b. c1825 in Rumburgh, Suffolk), and they had four children, all born in Suffolk:-

1) Frederick Thurlow – see below (b. 1848 – m. Charlotte Maria Larke in 1870 – d. 1918/19, aged 70). 2) Mary Elizabeth (b. 1851 – m. William Henry Wright, a plumber, in 1876). 3) Walter Charles (b. 1856 – d. 1902, aged 46). 4) Willy (b. 1861 – died in infancy).

Frederick Thurlow Blaxill married Charlotte Maria Larke (b. Geldeston, Norfolk in 1851) in 1870, and they had ten children, the first six born in Suffolk, the others in Lynn:-

1) Arthur William, a tailor’s cutter in 1911 (b. 1872 – m. Rosa Shafto in 1899 – d. 1946, aged 74). 2) Frederick Charles, a clerk in 1911 (b. 1875 – d. 1940, aged 65). 3) Ernest St. George (b. 1876 – d. 1877). 4) Alice Maud (b. – m. James W. Bone in 1922). 5) Albert Augustus S. (b. 1879 – m. Florence J. Page in 1914 – d. 1919/20, aged 40).  6) Samuel Robert (b. 1881 – m. May G. Newby in 1926 – d. 1943/4, aged 62. 7) Walter Charles (b. 1883 – d. 1884). 8) Elizabeth Marion (b. 1884). 9) Anna Maria (b. 1886 – Herbert Rasberry in 1923). 10) Herbert Percy (b. 1888 – m. Annie M. Craske in 1918 – d. 1918, aged 29).

Frederick Thurlow Blaxill stayed in Lynn for the rest of his life. The family lived at No. 85, High Street for about twenty years, leaving here between 1901 and 1904, and moving to No. 15, Queen Street. He died in 1918/9, aged 70, and Charlotte died in 1925, aged 73.

 George Henry Jacob – manager 1902 – c1914

When Fredrick Blaxill left, George Henry Jacob took over as manager of the London Tailoring Company, placing the following announcement in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘85, High-Street, King’s Lynn, 5th September, 1902. THE LONDON TAILORING COMPANY, Artistic and Fashionable Tailors. Riding Breeches. Liveries. Clerical Outfits. G. H. Jacob, Manager (Gold Medallist) from Cambridge.

Dear Sir,

 Having taken over the entire management of the LONDON TAILORING COMPANY (in which I have acquired a permanent interest) I beg respectfully to solicit the favour of your continued orders. I have been connected with good tailoring establishments in Cambridge and London, and can assure you of my ability to give a perfect fit in all gentlemen’s garments. In my last position I had entire control of a good class business for ten years, only recently leaving of my own accord. I have bought my new goods for the Autumn Season, which are delivered and can now be selected from. I shall study to supply all garments at the lowest possible prices, and shall have pleasure in allowing a discount of 5 per cent for prompt cash. Your early orders will be greatly esteemed. Yours very respectfully, GEORGE HENRY JACOB, London Gold Medallist.’ The business became a limited company and in Kelly’s Directory for 1908 was listed as ‘The London Tailoring Co. (King’s Lynn) Limited, bespoke tailors, breeches makers, liveries & clerical outfits etc.’

George Henry Jacob was the grandson of William Jacob (b. c1811 in Kimbolton, Hunts.), and his wife Rebecca (b. c1816 in Great Staughton, Hunts.). William was a carpenter who worked in the Kimbolton / St. Neots area for many years before moving to Islington, where the family were living in 1861. They had four children, all born in Kimbolton:-

1) James, a carpenter (b. c1831 – m. Sarah Usher in 1852 – d. 1903 in London, aged 73). 2) George, a joiner (b. 1841 – m. Annie Newman in 1863/4 – d. 1903, aged 62). 3) Mary Ann (b. 1843).

William Jacob died in 1854 and Rebecca died in 1861.

George was George Henry Jacob’s father, and he and Annie had eight children, the first two born in Stoke Newington, the remainder in Cambridge:-

1) William Newman, a builder, undertaker and decorator in 1911 (b. 1864/5 – m. Ellen Taylor in 1889 – d. 1940, aged 75). 2) George Henry – see below (b. 1867 – m. Florence Mary Allen in 1892 – d. 1956 in Cambridge, aged 88). 3) Louisa Maude (b. 1872 – m. Charles Austin, a gardener, in 1903 – d. 1955/6, in Lynn, aged 83). 4) Florence Rose (b. 1874 – m. William Dunwell, an accountant, in 1898 – d. 1958, aged 83). 5) Herbert Richard, a builder’s foreman in 1911 (b. 1877 – m. Agnes May Pettett in 1901 – d. 1932, aged 55). 6) Alice Ellen (b. 1880 – m. Thomas William Flinders, a blacksmith, in 1909 – d. 1978, aged 97). 7) Percy Charles, a photographer in 1911 (b. 1881/2 – m. Millicent Mary Unwin in 1909 – d. 1955/6, aged 69).

George Henry Jacob had been born in Islington in 1867, but was brought up in Cambridge, and was working in the city as a tailor’s cutter in 1891. He married Florence Mary Allen in 1892 and they set up home in Royston. They had three children, the first two born in Royston, and the youngest in Lynn:-

1) Bertram Allen, assisting his father in 1911 (b. 1893 – m. Elsie L. Gibson in 1919 – d. 1985, aged about 92). 2) Donald Allen (b. 1897 – d. 1917). 3) Kenneth Allen (b. 1910 – m. Eileen Last in 1934 – d. 1995 – aged 84).

Donald Jacob was killed on the Western Front in the Great War, on 12th November, 1917. He was a Second Lieutenant in the Lincolnshire Regiment. He was wounded when he went out on night patrol with an N.C.O. and eight men. He was carried back to the British lines on a stretcher but died a few hours later.

It would appear that George Henry Jacob closed the shop down and retired to Cambridge at the outbreak of the Great War, or soon afterwards. In the directory for 1916, the company is not listed, and a notice in the London Gazette for 14th December, 1917 announced that the company had been dissolved and struck off the list of Joint Stock Companies.

 c1914 – 1918 (David Greig) (The Norfolk Yeomanry)

The premises were acquired by David Greig but were requisitioned by the Norfolk Yeomanry during the First World War for use as a billet for cavalry troops.

Details about David Greig will be found at No. 100, High Street.

c1919 – 1973 (John Rose & Son) (Frank Huns)

The saddle and harness makers and sporting and leather goods shop of John Rose & Son was the next to move in to No. 85.

At the end of the war, Frank Huns, who had just acquired the business from the Rose family, bought the shop from David Greig and moved John Rose & Son here from Nos. 63 & 64. The family moved too. Details of the history of John Rose & Son will be found at Nos. 63 & 64.

The business continued to supply saddles and harnesses for the horse trade, and every year in September a farm cart drawn by two horses would deliver a load of rye straw to the workshops behind the National Provincial Bank on the Tuesday Market Place. The straw was of minimum length of six feet specially purchased by Mr Huns from a local farmer and was used for stuffing horse collars and saddles, lined with check worsted cloth. Amongst the saddlers working for the company were Mr. Joplin of Nelson Street, Mr. Wilson, who was lame following an accident on a farm at Westacre, and Mr. Harrison, who was also caretaker at the bank.

In 1932, Frank Huns bought the warehouse at the rear of No. 85 from Scott & Son who had used it for storing china and furniture. This enabled John Rose & Son to relocate their entire workshop from the Tuesday Market Place. The top floor was furnished and let for a time as an art studio to Mrs Marsh who held classes there during weekdays.

As the harness and saddlery trade declined, the shop began to specialise in handbags, gloves and other leather goods, and by 1933 advertised as ‘The Handbag and Glove Shop’. For Christmas 1936 they advertised:-

‘JOHN ROSE & SON. Christmas Display of HANDBAGS of Modern and Exclusive Design. REVELATION TRAVEL-WARE. GLOVES and FANCY GOODS. “Nothing Like Leather”. 85, High Street, King’s Lynn.’

Sports’ Equipment had become an increasingly important side of the business and in April 1937, they were advertising that they catered for every sportsman. They supplied tennis racquets by all the leading manufacturers including Fred Perry.

By 1940, the top flat had been let to Mr. and Mrs. F. Foster, and below them, on the first floor, another flat was occupied by Mr. and Mrs. T. A. Valentine. In the early hours of Monday 2nd December, 1940, a fire broke out in the first floor flat, which destroyed the two upper floors of No. 85, and damaged the top floors of Mr. Goodchild’s house at No. 84. Tom Arthur Valentine had married Phyllis H. Prescott just three months earlier, and the fire almost completely destroyed their furniture and possessions. Tom Valentine was the managing clerk at Messrs. Alan G. Hawkins & Co. solicitors. He had been out with his wife and returned to the flat for supper. Mr. Valentine went into the kitchen but the lights went out and he smelt burning. He traced the fire to the floorboards underneath some furniture and a carpet. Mr. and Mrs. Valentine hurried out and went to alert the watchman stationed at Woolworth’s store, who rang for the fire brigade. The upper floors were not rebuilt immediately and for many years John Rose & Son’s shop was a single storey building.

In 1954, the upper two floors were rebuilt and the shop re-vamped to accommodate a new lingerie and women’s sportswear department. A toy department was later opened on the upper floor.

Roses held a contract with Norfolk Education Committee for 14 years as suppliers of sporting goods. They also supplied other education authorities across the country.

In March 1968 it was announced that John Rose & Son had been sold to the drapery firm of Lyons & Lyons Co. Ltd., a business with eighteen branches based in Camden High Street.

The company of John Rose & Son (King’s Lynn) Ltd. was officially wound-up in 1969.

c1973 (Van Allen)

By 1973, the costumiers, Van Allen were occupying these premises.

2007 (River Island)