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No. 97, High Street

This was a corner shop in a prominent position, at the High Street, Purfleet Street junction. The premises had two floors with attic rooms with dormer windows to the front.

Slater’s trade directory for 1850 has the Richard III public house here at No. 97. This pub did move and was at the Purfleet Street / King Street corner in later years (renamed the London Tavern). However, other later directories list it at No. 98, and the earlier listing may be in error. In one census this shop was listed as No. 98 and this was either a mistake or there had been a numbering change. For the purposes of this record it has been assumed that the Richard III was here for a few years c1850.

The use of No. 97 as a public house is confirmed by the fact that a public house called the ‘Jenny Lind’ was apparently on the High Street frontage in 1859 when Capt. Walker, the freehold owner of the block from 93 to 97, inclusive, sold it at auction. In the particulars of sale placed by auctioneer Mr. Hillyard in the Lynn Advertiser on February 19th that year, Lot 1 was described as:-

‘A Messuage or PUBLIC-HOUSE called the Jenny Lind, with the Messuage, Shop and Premises, lying behind the same, situate in High Street and Purfleet Street; frontage in High Street, 19ft.; on Purfleet, 57ft. 9in.; depth at back, 19ft.; occupiers (now or late) Mr. H. J. Herling and Mr. J. Nokes.’

For very many years this was John Nokes boot and shoe shop (although the description of Lot 1, above, would place his shop in Purfleet Street in 1859). This family suffered more than its fair share of tragedies and when they ceased trading here there was a succession of short occupancies before Scott & Son bought the premises as part of their large furniture store.

In a deliberate strategy to prevent the Borough Council from acquiring land to widen High Street, Scott & Son retained the old building on the corner here, rather than redeveloping it in line with their other properties (Nos. 91 to 96, High Street).

c1836 (Richard Garman)

White’s Directory for 1836 lists Richard Garman, a hairdresser, at this address. In the same directory, a Richard Garman, innkeeper of the Three Tuns, 9, Church Street is also listed. There is no indication that these were the same persons, although this is perfectly possible. Another possibility is that they were related to one another.

Richard Garman is listed at the Three Tuns in 1846 (Kelly) and 1850 (Slater), but he died in 1851/2. His widow Sarah (b. c1812 in Castle Acre) continued working as an innkeeper, taking over the Wheatsheaf Inn, Victoria Road, Heacham, from about 1854, and where she was living in 1861. She retired later that year and in 1871 she was living at Albert Street, Lynn, where she stayed until her death on 9th July, 1888, aged 76.

It seems quite likely that Sarah took on the main role as ‘mine host’ at the Three Tuns, allowing Richard to venture into the hairdressing business, if only for a short time.

1841 (Thomas Valentine Wright)

The boot and shoe maker Thomas Valentine Wright, who later became the mayor’s officer and County Court High Bailiff, appears to have been living at No. 97, High Street, with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Mary Ann in 1841, although no numbers are given in the census. He may have been here for a very short time, or he may have run two shops for a while.

He was at No. 80, High Street for several years, and more details of his family are given at that address.

1845 (James Rix)

James Rix, the hosier and haberdasher, was listed at No. 97 by White in 1845. In 1836 (White) he was at No. 96, and in 1850 (Slater) he was at Nos. 89 & 90, so he did move about a bit. More information about him and his family will be found under No. 90, High Street.

1850 – 1859 (‘Richard III’ PH) (‘Jenny Lind’ PH)

There is uncertainty over the position of the Richard III between 1839 and 1845. On the balance of the evidence, it was always on the southern corner of Purfleet Street and High Street (i.e. No. 98).

There was certainly a public house at this location (No. 97) in the 1850s (see the particulars of sale for February 19th 1859, above). Whether this public house was called the ‘Richard III’ for any time between about 1850 and 1854, is less clear. In 1859 it was called the ‘Jenny Lind’. The following are the relevant directory and census records. Of particular significance in locating the ‘Richard III’ at census time is the position of the ‘Trinity Hall’ ward boundary at Purfleet Street.

1830 (Pigot) – not listed

1839 (Pigot) – ‘Richard III’ at No. 97, High Street (Richard Bunn)

1841 (Census) – High Street – no number – (George Brown – publican).

In 1841, the publican of the Richard III, George Brown, was recorded at No. 98. Although no numbers are given, the entry is at the start of the ‘Trinity Hall’ ward of Lynn. The ward boundary was at Purfleet Street, putting this entry on the southern corner (i.e. No. 98).

1845 (White) – ‘Richard III’ at No. 98, High Street (George Brown)

1850 (Slater) – ‘Richard III’ at No. 97, High Street (John Stimpson).

1851 (Census) – No entry for No. 97.

1854 (White) – Richard III at No. 98, High Street (William Parsley).

1861 (Census) – Richard III at No. 98 High Street (Samuel Glason). Note: No number given but this was recorded at the start of the ‘Trinity Hall’ ward ‘Commencing on High Bridge at the Public House occupied by Mr. Samuel Glason including all the West Side of High Street to No. 123 …’.

It is absolutely clear that the ‘Richard III’ was at the southern corner of Purfleet Street and High Street (i.e. No. 98) for several years between 1841 and 1861. The uncertainty arises over two directory entries – 1839 (Pigot) and 1850 (Slater). While the former could be correct, indicating that the pub moved across the road between 1839 and 1841, the 1850 entry is harder to accept as being correct.

c1854 – c1896 (John Ayton Nokes) (John Henry Nokes)

For many years, this was the shop of John Ayton Nokes, shoemaker, and his son John Henry.

John Ayton Nokes was born in Lynn in about 1821, the son of John Nokes (b. 1759 – d. 28/03/1845, aged 86) who had a shoe making business in Friars Street, Lynn and was living there in 1841.

John Ayton Nokes married Jane Langley in 1840 and was working as a cordwainer in Kirby Street, Lynn, in 1841. According to one of his later advertisements he founded his own business in 1848.

He was listed at 11, Blackfriars Road in 1850 (Slater) and was living there in 1851. In 1854 his shop was at No 100½ High Street (White).

The family had moved to No. 97, High Street by 1861. John Ayton and Jane Nokes had one child, John Henry, who was born in Lynn in 1841 (see below).

By 1871 John Ayton Nokes had retired and was living in London Road, Lynn. He then moved to Fairlight Lodge in Goodwins Road, Lynn and was there from at least 1881 until about 1898, when he and Jane moved to Hunstanton. Jane died in 1902/3, aged 83, and John Ayton died in Hunstanton on 17th October, 1905, aged 86.

John Henry Nokes had taken over his father’s business at No. 97, High Street by 1871, when he was living on the premises with his wife and their five children. In 1863, John Henry had married Emily Mary Inkson, the daughter of William Inkson, the High Street butcher (see No. 43). She had been born in Lynn in 1843. She and John Henry had eight children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Alfred John, a boot shop manager in King’s Cross Road, Islington in 1911 (b. 1864 – m. Ida Nuthall in 1892). 2) William Frederick, a commercial traveller in Hampden Road, Islington in 1911 (b. 1865 – m. Clara Hawks on 03/03/1889 – d. 1924, aged 59 in Surrey). 3) Harry Langley, a commercial traveller in Acocks Green, Birmingham c1911 (b. 1866 – m. Sarah Schofield in 1893/4 – d. 1945, aged 79 in Birmingham). 4) George Edward (b. 1868 – died in infancy). 5) George Harvard, a draper’s assistant in Acocks Green, Birmingham in 1911 (b. 1869 – m. Mary Elizabeth Dennis in 1900 – d. 1947, aged 78). 6) Arthur Edward, a journalist (b. 1871 – d. 03/06/1907 at Kroonstad, Orange River Colony, South Africa). 7) Florence Emily (b. 1873 – died in infancy). 8) Ada Emily (b. 1874 – m. William Batley in 1902 – d. 1941, aged 66, in Sheffield).

John Henry’s wife Emily died in 1875, aged just 33. Not long after her death, her widowed sister, Harriet Jane Nuthall moved in as housekeeper. Harriet Jane Inkson (b. 1838 in Lynn) had married Nevil Nuthall in 1864/5 and their daughter Ida was born a year later. Tragically, Nevil died in 1868, aged 31. In 1871, Harriet and her daughter Ida had been staying with her sister Louisa Nuthall, who was married to Nevil’s elder brother Benjamin (b. c1831 in Lynn), a baker  in Norfolk Street. Harriet and Ida stayed with the family at No. 97 until John Henry Nokes died on 10th March, 1885. Harriet was one of the executors of his estate.

John Henry’s eldest son, Alfred, took over the business and Harriet stayed on as housekeeper, with her daughter Ida becoming an assistant in the boot shop.

In 1892, Harriet Nuthall died, aged 53, just a few weeks before her daughter Ida married Alfred Nokes.  Alfred and Ida had one son, John Nevil Nokes (b. 1897 – m. Edith F. Barlow in 1924 – d. 1956, aged 59 in Birmingham).

The next in a series of tragedies to strike this family could hardly have been worse. There was a typhoid epidemic in Lynn. The town had a very polluted water supply and the disease was hard to control. The council even acquired a ship which was used to isolate some of the victims of the disease. Both Alfred and Ida succumbed to the disease in November 1897 and Alfred was bedridden for over four months. Ida appeared to recover from the illness but, like many victims, suffered from headaches and melancholia. On the morning of 18th March, 1898, Ida killed herself, her body being found hanging from a beam in a room at the back of the shop by her brother-in-law, Arthur Edward Nokes, who was still living at No. 97.

The Nokes boot and shoe business effectively ceased when Alfred fell ill in November 1897, and when he had recovered he moved to London, staying with his brother William in Tottenham in 1901. He became a boot shop manager in the City and was staying at a men’s lodging house in 1911.

Meanwhile, his young son John Nevil was looked after by other members of his family. In 1901 he was with Arthur and Ada Nokes in Checker Street, Lynn. Ada married the following year and moved to Sheffield. Arthur became a journalist and went to South Africa. John Nevil was next taken in by his uncle George Harvard Nokes and his wife Mary, who lived in Acocks Green, Birmingham.

1898 (Sidney Count)

When Alfred Nokes fell ill with typhoid in November 1897, the boot and shoe business appears to have ceased. Although the Nokes family continued to live on the premises, the shop was closed down.

On Monday 27th December, 1897 there was a great fire in High Street. It started in Jermyn’s big store and spread across and along the street, affecting fifteen shops in all. Amongst those that were completely destroyed was that of Sidney Count, the chemist, at No. 17. All of the traders affected quickly found temporary accommodation and were open again within a week. Sidney Count appears to have leased the empty shop at No. 97 from Alfred Nokes. His shop at No. 17 was quickly rebuilt and he only occupied No. 97 for a few months. He had moved out by September and advertised the remainder of the lease, commencing in the first week of October, in the Lynn Advertiser.

c1898 – 1900 (Frederick Glenny)

The lease was taken, by a Wisbech tailor, Frederick Glenny, who is listed in Kelly’s directory for 1900. He is a bit of a mystery, however, and his family has not been traced.

He is listed at No. 32, High Street, Wisbech in 1896 (Kelly), and he opened his Lynn branch in October, 1898, it would seem, but within almost exactly two years he had retired and sold his two shops to Messrs. Frost & West. On 30th November, 1900 he placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘IMPORTANT NOTICE. High Street, Wisbech, and King’s Lynn, November, 1900. HAVING retired from my Businesses, it is my pleasant duty to thank my Customers for their esteemed patronage in the past. My successors, Messrs. FROST & WEST, I know have a HIGH REPUTATION IN THE TRADE and will continue to conduct the same High-class Style of Business carried on at Wisbech for the past 65 years; and I trust you will extend to them the liberal patronage bestowed upon me. Yours respectfully, Fredk. Glenny.’

 1900 – 1901 (Frost & West) (Charles West)

Beneath the notice placed in the Lynn Advertiser by Frederick Glenny on 30th November 1900 was this one from Messrs. Frost & West:-

‘WISBECH, NOVEMBER, 1900. WE beg respectfully to announce that we have purchased of Mr. F. GLENNY the Old-Established Business of 32, High Street, Wisbech, also the Branch Establishment of 97, High Street, King’s Lynn. Having had many years experience in the leading houses of LADIES’ AND GENTLEMEN’S TAILORING TRADE in the West End of London and the provinces, we trust that by giving personal supervision to cut, style and finish of all garments, with good quality of material, you will extend to us that support and share of your kind patronage hitherto enjoyed by Mr. GLENNY. Thanking you in anticipation of your esteemed favours, we have the honour to subscribe ourselves. Yours obediently, FROST & WEST. HIGH STREET, WISBECH, KING’S LYNN & PETERBOROUGH’.

One year later the premises were sold and one of the partners, Charles West, advertised all of the stock for sale, commencing 21st October, 1901.

 1901 – 1904 (John Kirk)

Frost & West did not stay long enough to leave their mark and on the 29th November, 1901 the next occupant of No. 97 announced that he had purchased the business late of Mr. Glenny, rather than that of Messrs. Frost & West:-

‘JOHN KIRK, Having purchased the TAILORING, HAT & HOSIERY BUSINESS, late Mr. Glenny’s, has added a CHOICE SELECTION OF GOODS AT POPULAR PRICES. J.K. holds two First-Class West End Diplomas for cutting all kinds of Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Garments. JOHN KIRK, 97, High Street, (opposite New Conduit Street) Lynn.’

By 1908, John Kirk had moved to No. 67, High Street, where more details of his family may be found.

1904 (Scott & Son)

Scott & Son had taken occupation of No. 97 by December, 1908, when their advertisements included this address for the first time. More details of the business will be found at Nos. 91 to 97, High Street. They were probably here from 1904 onwards because John Kirk was listed at No. 67 in that year (Kelly).