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No. 93, High Street

Prior to 1898, No. 93, High Street had a broad frontage to the street but it was a very old building with low ceiling heights to both ground and first floor. An attic floor had small dormer windows to the front and an additional roof light. The shop had been to the left with a central doorway and display windows to either side. To the right of the shop was the front door to the house, which had a large bow-fronted ground floor window. Later alterations to the property provided for additional shop and business accommodation, extending across the whole of the ground floor.

From the directory entries, it is clear that the premises were in multiple occupancy for many years. On occasions, reference to No. 92½, may have covered occupiers in part of No. 93. In 1858 (Kelly) Joseph Green is listed here at No. 93, whereas Joseph Towler is put at No. 92½.

In 1859, the freehold was sold at auction on behalf of the owner, Capt. Walker, who did not live in Lynn. Capt. Walker owned the whole block of shops from No. 93 to No. 97 at the corner of Purfleet Street. The properties were offered in three lots, and the description of Lot 3, which was No. 93, indicates the complexity of the small shops and houses in this part of High Street at this date:-

‘Lot 3. Two MESSUAGES and SHOPS, with the yards and premises lying behind the same, situate in High Street and adjoining Lot 2 on the south; frontage on High Street, 33ft. depth from front to back, 44ft. 6in. width at back 38ft 8in. Occupiers Mr Josh. Green and Mr. Towler. Rent per annum, £26.’

Nos. 93 and 94 were bought by Scott & Son in 1898 and were demolished to make way for a new furniture store, set back to a line prescribed by the Borough Council.

 c1831 – 1846 (Edward Sims)

Pigot’s directory for 1830 and White’s for 1836 list Edward Sims, a watch and clock maker, silversmith and jeweller at this address.

Born in Litcham, Norfolk, in about 1802, his parents were William Sims and Sarah Dunger. William was the innkeeper at the Bull in Litcham between 1803 and 1836. William and Sarah had at least three children:-

1) Sarah (b. 1798 – d. 10th May, 1838 in Lynn). 2) William – see No. 38½ and No. 81, High Street (b. 1799 – d. 1851). 3) Edward – see below (b. 1801 – m. Charlotte West in 1830 and Esther Thompson née Docking in 1843 – d. 1847).

Edward married his first wife Charlotte West at Stibbard on 26th December, 1830, and they were living in Lynn in 1831 when their son William was baptised at the Broad Street Independent Chapel on 17th October that year. Their daughter Sarah Ann was born the following year, on 30th July. Tragically, Charlotte died when the children were both quite young and they were living with their father Edward at No. 93 in 1841.

Edward married Esther Thompson, née Docking, a widow, on 20th December, 1843 at St. Margaret’s church in Lynn. A few years later Edward became ill and died on 20th January, 1847, after taking an overdose of Laudanum. The following report appeared in the Cambridge Independent Press on the 30th January:-

‘LYNN – Suicide: Mr. Edward Sims, watchmaker, of this place, destroyed himself last week by swallowing a quantity of laudanum. Having bought three ounces of the drug from a shop in the town, he proceeded on Wednesday morning to the Unicorn public house, where having spent some time drinking with an acquaintance, he contrived to swallow the poison unperceived, nor was what he had done discovered until he became stupefied. Every means was then resorted to which could be devised to prevent the deadly effect of the narcotic but without success; and he expired on the following morning. An inquest was subsequently held on the body, and a verdict of Temporary Insanity returned.’

Edward’s son William Sims married Mary Ann Matthews in about 1850, and was living with his in-laws at Hemingford Grey, Huntingdonshire in 1861. He had been working as draper’s assistant but was out of work at that date. He was still living at his father-in-law’s house in 1871, but his mother-in-law had died by then. He was working as a draper, but later became a postman and had moved to Leyton in Essex by 1881.

Sarah Ann Sims married John Colley, an ironmonger’s assistant from Shropshire in 1857/8. She died in 1890/1, aged 57.

1839 (William Moore)

William Moore, a fruiterer, was listed here in Pigot’s directory for 1839. It is not known what relation, if any, he was to the confectioner William Moore (see No. 94, High Street).

1846 – c1850 (Edward Rose)

In Kelly’s Post Office Directory for 1846, Edward Rose, a boot and shoe maker is listed at No. 93, High Street.

Edward was the brother of John Rose, the saddler and harness maker (see Nos. 63, 64 and 85), and had been born in Castle Acre in 1818, the son of Samuel and Mary Rose.

Edward Rose married Elizabeth Watts at Lynn in 1846. They had five children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Thomas Edward, a boot and shoe manufacturer’s manager (b.1848 – m. Kate Elizabeth Walker in 1877 – d. 1901/2, aged 54, in Bedfordshire). 2) Walter, a harness maker (b. 1850 – m. Harriet Webb in 1879/80 – d. 1941, aged 90, in Selby, Yorkshire). 3) Frederick John, a Customs and Excise officer (b. 1856). 4) Mary Ann (b. 1858/9 – m. Alfred Winterton, a grocer’s assistant in 1889/90 – d. 1928/9, aged 70). 5) Ellen (b. 1861/2 – d. 1931, aged 68).

Edward stayed here for just a few years but had moved to No. 95 by 1850. He died in 1862, aged about 43, and his widow, Elizabeth, may have moved the business immediately after his death, to No. 89, where it was listed in 1863. For a time her son Thomas Edward assisted in the business before taking it over and moving it to No. 105, High Street, where more details of his family will be found. He later moved to Bedfordshire, where he died on 29th January, 1902, aged 54.

Elizabeth Rose died in 1908, aged 85.

c1850 – 1898 (Joseph Towler)

In Slater’s Directory for 1850, Joseph Towler is listed at No. 93 as a boot and shoe maker. However, there are three other entries for this address:- Rebecca Green, a stay maker; Joseph Green, a tailor; and James C. Woods, a watch and clock maker. It appears that these businesses were operating from different parts of the premises. The stay-making enterprise is listed under Joseph Green’s name in White’s Directory for 1854, and Joseph Towler is listed here again, this time as a leather cutter, with his residence in Purfleet Street. In Harrod’s directories for both 1863 and 1868 he is down as a leather seller. There is another entry for a Joseph Towler in the 1868 edition, listed as a boot maker with premises at Purfleet Place. They are almost certain to have been one and the same. It is known that the Joseph Towler listed at No. 93, High Street was also a boot maker and that he had two premises, being listed later in King Street. In any event, it would seem that he did not live here on High Street. The property was not occupied on census night in 1871.

Joseph Towler was born in Heacham, Norfolk, in about 1819, he became a shoemaker and had moved to Lynn by 1841, when he was lodging with his cousin, Elizabeth, and her husband Robert Thompson, a brewer and publican, at the Cooper’s Arms in the Saturday Market Place. Robert moved to the Golden Lion in Purfleet Street soon afterwards but died in 1850. After his death, his widow Elizabeth Thompson was left a pauper and moved into modest accommodation in Russell’s Court off New Conduit Street. Joseph continued as her lodger and was living there in 1851.

In 1863, Joseph married Maria Lowe (b. c1832 in Lynn) at Marylebone Registry Office. They moved in with Maria’s widowed mother, Jane Lowe (b. 1801 in Lynn), who had a greengrocer’s shop in Church Street.

Joseph continued to live at the Church Street house, and not at No. 93, High Street.

Jane Lowe died in 1879, aged 78, and Maria continued to run the family fruit and vegetable business at Church Street.

Maria and Joseph Towler had three children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Edgar Joseph, a travelling mat salesman (b. 1865 – m. Emma Jane Foster in 1889 – d. 1933, aged 68). 2) Ellen Maria (b. 1867). 3) Bessie Louisa (b. 1869).

Maria died in 1881, aged 54, and Joseph died in 1902, aged 83.

 1865 (William Ryder) (Ann Ryder)

In Kelly’s Post Office directory for 1865, William Ryder, a photographer, and Mrs. Ann Ryder, a milliner, are listed at No. 93, High Street. No other references to them have been found.

 1898 (Scott & Son)

In 1898 Scott & Son had a shop at 89, High Street. On 6th August of that year, they made the following announcement in their advertisement in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘EXTENSION Of PREMISES – SCOTT  &  SON COMPLETE HOUSE FURNISHERS AND CABINET MAKERS, beg to announce that in addition to the large business carried on by them at 89 High Street, they will on SATURDAY NEXT, August 6th, Open Extensive New Show-Rooms on premises lately occupied by Messrs. Cox Bros., at 93 and 94 High Street, and will make a MAGNIFICENT DISPLAY OF FURNITURE, BEDSTEADS, AND BEDDING, Manufactured at their Steam Factory in St. James Street, in which new  labour-saving machinery has lately been added.’

Further details of Scott & Son are given at Nos. 91 – 97, High Street.