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Nos. 98 and 98a, HIGH STREET (Burtons’ corner)

 (From 1935 – Nos. 98 & 99)

The shops at the corner of High Street and the south side of Purfleet Street have undergone change and redevelopment on occasions over the century between 1836 and 1935, when Burton’s store was built. Furthermore, the numbering of the individual trading units on this corner has changed or has been subject to erroneous recording in the various records, making it particularly difficult to be precise about the occupancy of each unit at a given date.

For the purposes of this record, three distinct periods have been identified:

  1. Pre. 1866. The corner buildings provided accommodation for at least two shops. One of these may have been used as a pub for several years, although this could have been in another part of the buildings.
  2. 1866 – 1935. In 1866, the Purfleet was covered over and New Conduit Street widened and paved. The old High Bridge was demolished, along with the buildings on it, explaining the missing numbers 27 to 33 on the eastern side of High Street. At the same time some buildings on the western side of the road were taken down. It may have been a year or two before the corner, with numbers 98 and 99, was redeveloped. There are no listings for No. 98 in Harrod’s directory for 1868 but several business addresses are given as just ‘High Street’. A three-storey building was erected here with at least two ground floor shops and commercial space at first floor level, where there was a restaurant / coffee tavern for several years. The second floor provided living accommodation.
  1. 1935 – 2014. At this first date, the corner building was demolished to make way for a new Burton’s store. This was given the numbers 98 and 99. The first shop after the corner, which had previously been No. 99, became No. 99a.


The Richard III public house was at No. 98 for several years during this early period. It is not listed in 1822/3 (Pigot) or 1836 (White) but it may have been here before the first record in the 1841 census. A complication arises due to the listings by Pigot in 1839 and by Slater in 1850 of the Richard III being at No. 97, High Street. This would appear to be an error – perhaps due to a lack of clarity in the numbering or even a change. A further analysis of the evidence is given at No. 97, High Street.

In 1841, the publican of the Richard III, George Brown, was recorded at No. 98. Although no numbers are given, it is clearly at the southern High Street / Purfleet Street corner. In 1845 (White), George Brown is listed at the Richard III, No. 98, High Street. In 1854 (White), William Parsley is at the Richard III, also given as No. 98.

It does seem unlikely that the pub moved across the road between 1839 and 1841 and then back again in 1850 – only to have crossed back once again by 1854.

Details of the publicans and their families are given here, rather than at No. 97.

It is likely that there were at least two trading units at street level, with other commercial uses at first floor level. However, the nature of the buildings is not known and the numbering of shops as 98 or 98a may be inconsistent.

c1836 – c1841 (Jarman Clark) (Catherine Clark / Clarke)

In White’s directory for 1836, Jarman Clark, a butcher, is listed at No. 98, High Street and at No. 29, Queen Street.

His house was in Queen Street and he was at home there in 1841 with his family. He was born in about 1795, being baptised in Lynn on 23rd August that year, and he married Rhoda Barnes at St. Nicholas Chapel in Lynn on 31st December, 1818. Five of their children were living with them in 1841, and it is not known whether they had any more. They were all baptised at Lynn:-

1) Jane (b. c1821 – bap. 22/02/1821). 2) Harriett (b. c1824 – bap. 12/07/1824). 3) Louisa (b. c1827 – bap. 04/10/1827). 4) Mary Ann (b. c1831 – bap. 10/01/1831). 5) Emma (b. c1837 – bap. 10/03/1837).

The 1841 census, although it does not give numbers, places the Richard III at No. 98 and Catherine Clark next door. Her living quarters would have been on an upper floor and it would seem that her shop was between No. 98 and No. 99, making it No. 98a.

In 1845 (White) a Mrs. Clark, butcher, was listed at No. 99, High Street.

In Slater’s directory for 1850, Jarman (spelled Jarmin) Clark was listed at Purfleet Street, with Catherine Clarke, a butcher, at No. 98. She was living at No. 98 in 1851. A widow, aged 36, she had been born in East Walton, Norfolk, in about 1815. Her unmarried sister, Sarah Lubbock (b. c1812 in Surrey), was living with her at census time.

The relationship between Jarman and Catherine Clark is not evident from the census records. Slater and Kelly both give her name as Clarke, while White and the census enumerators have it without the ‘e’. The last reference to Jarman is in White’s 1854 directory, however neither he nor Rhoda have been found in the 1851 census.

The London Gazette of 26th February, 1850, listed names of bankrupts, including Jarman Clark, butcher of King’s Lynn, his case having been heard at the County Court in Lynn on the 9th of that month.

Catherine and her sister Sarah were working as dress makers and living together at Checker Street in 1861. A Catherine Clark died in Lynn in 1869/70, but the age given (63) does not exactly equate with the census Catherine.

Sarah Lubbock died in Lynn in 1890, aged 78.

1858 (George Cranwell Phenix)

Also listed at No. 98 during this period was butcher George Cranwell Phenix (Kelly, 1858). He had been at Pilot Street in 1839 (Pigot), and at No. 88, High Street in 1854 (White). He died in 1859.

c1839 – c1866 (The Richard III)

There are two directory listings for the Richard III at No. 98, in 1845 and 1854, both by White. The 1861 census clearly places the Richard III at No. 98, although the numbering stops at No. 97. Pigot in 1839 and Slater in 1850, both put the Richard III at No. 97.

In 1863 (Harrod), Samuel Glason is listed as the licensee at the London Tavern, High Street. Although no number is given, this was the new name for the Richard III. The pub later moved to the King Street end of Purfleet Street, possibly in or about 1866, when the High Bridge was demolished. Further consideration about the 97 / 98 numbering for the Richard III is given under No. 97, High Street.

Richard Bunn (c1839)

Richard Bunn is listed as the licensee of the Richard III in Pigot’s directory for 1839.

George Brown (c1841 – c1848)

George Brown (b. c1811 in Norfolk) was the publican of the Richard III in 1841, and was living here, at No. 98, with his wife, Ann (b. c1811). He was listed again in the directories for 1845 (White) and 1846 (Kelly). Ann Brown died in Lynn in 1848. George Brown, a widower working as a boot and shoe maker (b. c1809 in Lynn) was living in Holborn, London in 1851, and this may be the same man.

John Stimpson (c1850)

John Stimpson was listed as the publican at the Richard III in Slater’s directory, but the address was given as No. 97.

John Stimpson has not been found in 1851 or 1861. A retired builder, John Stimpson, born in Lynn c1812 was living at 29, London Road, Lynn from at least 1871 to 1891, with his wife Mary Ann. His niece, Amelia Turner Billing (b. c1861 in Lynn) was staying with him in 1881 and 1891. Amelia married Samuel Denny Hunt in 1892 (see Nos. 37 & 38, High Street).

Mary Ann Stimpson died in 1896/7, aged 93, and John died in 1899/1900, aged 88.

William Parsley (c1854 – c1861)

William Parsley was listed as the publican at the Richard III, 98, High Street, in 1854 (White). However, in 1851 he described his occupation as ‘retired victualler’. Born in Chigwell in Essex in about 1793, he was living with his wife Ann (b. Runcton Holme, Norfolk c1821) in Kirby Street, Lynn in that census year. He came out of retirement and worked as a publican until his death, aged 76, in 1869. After a spell at the Richard III, he was the publican at the Greyhound in St. Nicholas Street.

William Parsley married Ann Mary Caney in Lynn in 1850. They had six children, all born in Lynn:-

1) Elizabeth (b. 1851). 2) Mary Ann (b. 16th May, 1853 – m. James Edwards, a shipwright, on 24/12/1873 – d. 24/04/1931). 3) Emily (b. 1855/6 – m. 1873/4). 4) Alfred William (b. 1859). 5) Levina (b. 1862 – m. Abraham Crown in 1895/6 – d. 1949, aged 87). 6) Henry (b. 1873 – d. 1880, aged 6).

Following her husband William’s death in 1869, Ann Mary Parsley became the licensee of the Prince Arthur in St. Nicholas Street, Lynn, where she and her family were living in 1871. She stayed there until her death in 1875, aged 50.

Samuel Glason (c1861 – c1866)

Samuel Glason was born in Harwich, Essex, in about 1801. He ran a fish shop at No. 15, High Street for several years between about 1841 and 1860.

He changed jobs in about 1860 to become the publican at the Richard III here at No. 98. He was at the Richard III when it changed names to the London Tavern in about 1863, and he was in premises on High Street in 1865 (Poll Book). He may have stayed here until 1866 when the High Bridge was demolished together with the buildings at this corner. In 1876 he was licensee of the Fountain in Blackfriars Street, where he was in 1879 (Kelly).

Samuel Glason died in 1882, aged 85. More details of his family may be found at No. 15, High Street.

1866 – 1935

Ground Floor Shops

1875 – 1886 (Thomas William Cooke)

From 1875 (Kelly) to 1883 (Kelly and White) the tobacconist and fancy repository shop of Thomas William Cooke was listed at No. 98, High Street.

Thomas William Cooke was born in Lynn in about 1829, the son of boot and shoe maker William Cooke (b. c1803 in Gorefield, Lincolnshire) and his wife Charlotte (b. c1800 in West Lexham).

William and Charlotte Cooke had three children, all born in Norfolk:-

1) Thomas William – see below (b. c1829 – m. Eliza Arnold in 1867 – d. 1886, aged 58). 2) Frederick Charles, an attorney’s clerk in 1851 (b. c1835). 3) Albert Walter, an agent for the Prudential Assurance Company in 1891 (b. 1839/40 – m. Fanny Elizabeth Offord in 1864 – d. 1896, aged 56, in Ely).

Following her husband William’s death sometime between 1851 and 1861, Charlotte worked as a stationer and bookseller. She was living in Purfleet Street in 1861 and her sons Thomas and Albert were staying with her. Thomas had become a boot and shoe maker like his father, but Albert was a solicitor’s general clerk. The brothers were both musicians.

Thomas married Eliza Arnold in 1867 in Lynn. Eliza was the daughter of Lynn’s Town Crier, George Arnold (b. c1795 in Deptford, Kent). Thomas and Eliza had one daughter, Charlotte Arnold, a governess in 1891 (b. 1867 – d. 1961, aged 94).

Thomas Cooke held the lease of No. 98 for a few years but in April, 1881, the freehold of the premises was offered for sale at auction and he bought it for £445.

Thomas William Cooke may have been here until his death in 1886, aged 58. His widow, Eliza, left Lynn and was living in Shoreditch, London, in 1891.

 1890 – 1935 (Alfred Smith)

Occupying part of the premises in 1890, according to the listing in White’s directory, was Alfred Smith, who was a watchmaker, jeweller and optician but who also ran, with his wife Cornwall, a glass, china and earthenware shop at No. 101, High Street. However, the numbers are rather confusing and Alfred Smith is listed at No. 99 in Kelly’s directories for 1879 and 1883.

Alfred’s parents were (John) Alfred Smith and Martha Mary Lawson. The census entries omit his first name and he is referred to here as Alfred Smith snr. He was a tailor born in Lynn c1813 who spent some time with his new wife in France, where they may have been married and where Alfred jnr. was born c1849. The family moved back to England and were living in London, where Martha had come from and where their next son Charles was born c1850.

Alfred and Martha had moved to Lynn by 1852 and were at No. 2, Farm Yard, Lousia Terrace, West Lynn, in 1861. They had twelve children:-

1) Alfred jnr. (b. c1849 – see below). 2) Charles, a shopkeeper in 1891 (b. c1850 – m. Alice Dennis in 1875 – d. 1899). 3) Sarah, an apartment house keeper at Hunstanton in 1911 (b. 1851). 4) Henry, a ship broker’s clerk in 1891 (b. 1853 – m. Fanny Rose Dewson in 1881 – d. 1892, aged 39). 5) Stanley, working as an agent in 1891 (b. 1855 – m. Eliza Bullen in 1878 – d. 1894, aged 39). 6) Herbert, a clerk in 1891 (b. 1856 – m. Annie Plant in 1878). 7) Alice (b. 1858 – m. Charles Joplin in 1871 – d. 1936, aged 84). 8) Uri, a headmistress in 1901 (b. 1860 – d. 1942, aged 82). 9) Edwin, an accountant in 1911 (b. 1863 – m. Amelia c1894 – d. 1949, aged 86, on the Isle of Wight). 10) Emily (b. c1866). 11) Arthur, a clerk in 1891 (b. 1869). 12) Lucy, a shop assistant in 1911 (b. 1871).

John Alfred Smith, died in 1871, aged 51, and Martha Mary Smith died in 1901, aged 74.

Alfred Smith jnr. was apprenticed to Lynn watch-maker Thomas Pung at 54 High Street in 1863, and remained with him for eight years before setting up his own business in St. James’ Street in 1871. In 1879, he moved into premises on High Street which, although being listed at No. 99 in the 1879 and 1883 directories, would seem to have been here at No. 98.

In 1874 he married Cornwall Dewson, the granddaughter of a Lynn mariner. Cornwall was born in 1848, and her sister Fanny Rose, born in 1854, married Alfred’s brother Henry.

Alfred and Cornwall had four children:-

1) Annie Florence, a governess at the Church Missionaries’ Children’s House at Limpsfield, Surrey, in 1901 (b. 1875 – d. 1948, aged 74). 2) Beatrice (b. 1877). 3) Alfred John (b. 1879 – m. Grace Winlove Smith in 1905). 4) Percy Cornwall (18th Jan.1884 – m. Florence?).

Alfred John Smith trained as a civil engineer. He married Grace, the daughter of Charles Winlove Smith, the confectioner of No. 50 High Street, in 1906. At about this time, he became Lynn’s Borough Engineer, serving until at least 1922.

On 2nd January, 1886, Alfred Smith placed the following notice in the Lynn News & County Press, unfortunately not giving any shop number:-

‘THE NINTH WATCH CLUB – ALFRED SMITH, Watchmaker and Jeweller, High Street, Lynn, will commence his ninth WATCH, CLOCK and JEWELLERY CLUB, January 1st, 1886. Large numbers of Timekeepers procured through this medium are in use in the town and neighbourhood. In soliciting names for the new Club, Alfred Smith would call attention to one great advantage over clubs conducted at a distance – each Member has the opportunity of personally selecting his goods from a Large Stock.’

Alfred retired from business in 1914 but his son Percy Cornwall Smith, who worked with him, was called up to do war service and Alfred returned to keep the shop open until 1918. He was a Fellow of the Spectacle Makers’ Company and a ‘dioptrician’ of the British Optical Association. Alfred Smith was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in 1899. A noted local antiquary, he was very knowledgeable about the Borough of Lynn and was frequently consulted by local historians. Alfred Smith died at his home in South Wootton in 1924, at the age of 77.

The business remained in his name in the trade directories until 1930, when Percy Smith’s name appears for the first time, listed at No. 98. It is clear from this entry in Kelly’s directory that the business was situated in the middle of the three frontage units. That year’s directory lists Mrs Daisy Rueff of the ‘Coffee Tavern’ as No. 97 but this is clearly wrong because Kelly places Scott & Son at Nos. 91-97 and then gives the direction ‘here is Purfleet Street’. Daisy is listed as Mrs. E. Roofe in the directory for 1932/3. Percy Smith probably stayed in business here until the properties were acquired by Messrs Burton c1934. He may then have retired because there is no commercial listing for him in Kelly’s Directory for 1937. His home address then was ‘Fortismere’, Gayton Road. He moved to Worthing and died there in 1979 at the age of 95.

1889 – 1896 (Knowles & Co.)

On 2nd November, 1889, the following notice appeared in the Lynn Advertiser:-

‘KNOWLES & COMPANY, The London and Provincial Colonial Meat Salesmen, Have Opened a Branch Establishment at HIGH STREET, LYNN (Opposite New Conduit Street), with a Prime Supply of New Zealand Beef and Mutton, fed on our own farms, Tomsand, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.’

Knowles & Co., foreign meat butchers were listed at No. 98½ in 1890 (White) and they also had a shop in Peterborough. By 1892 (Kelly) they traded under the name of Knowles Brothers, and in 1896 (Kelly) they were listed as Frank Knowles Ltd.

Frank Knowles advertised as an Australia and New Zealand butcher (Kelly’s Lincolnshire directory 1892). By 1895, Frank Knowles Ltd. had three shops in Grimsby, together with branches in Grantham, Newark, Boston, Louth, and King’s Lynn (Stamford Mercury 5th April, 1895).

The business of Knowles Brothers appears to have been a partnership between Frank and his younger brother, Samuel (b. c1867 in Donington – m. Alice M.). The partnership was dissolved in September, 1894. Frank Knowles Ltd. did not operate for long and was wound up in 1897.

In 1901, Frank was working as a meat expert on his own account, and in 1911 he was engaged as a meat inspector for the War Office.

Frank was the son of Joseph Knowles (b. c1841 in Donington) a butcher and publican, and Emily Tillson (b. c1840 in Peterborough), who married in 1864. Joseph and Emily had ten children, all born in Donington:-

1) Frank – (b. 1865 – m. Amelia Perfect in 1888/9). 2) Samuel (b. 1866/7 – m. Alice Mary Eaves in 1890/1 – d. 1891, aged 25). 3) Elizabeth Mary (b. 1868). 4) Harriet Platt (b. 1870). 5) Charlotte Eliza (b. 1871/2). 6) Emily Annie (b. 1873). 7) Dora (b. 1875). 8) Kate (b. 1876). 9) Caroline (b. 1877). 10) Joseph (b. 1880).

c1899 – c1900 (Joseph Bullen Garwood)

Joseph Garwood, another butcher, was here in 1900 (Kelly), listed at No. 98a, but may have stayed for only a short time. Born in 1871, he came from a Yarmouth family. His parents were Charles Barnes Garwood (b. c1835 – d. 1906, aged 71) and Elizabeth Easter Bullen (b. 1839 – m. 1855 – d. 31/01/1907, aged 67). They had at least 12 children, all born in Great Yarmouth:-

1) (Sarah) Elizabeth (bc1856). 2) Charles Bullen (b. 1857). 3) William Bullen (b. 1859). 4) William Arthur Bullen (b. 1860). 5) Joseph Bullen (b. 1864). 6) Alice Bullen (b. 1865 – m. William Ernest Sacret – d. 15/05/1932). 7) Thereza Bullen (b. 1867). 8) Robert Joseph Bullen (b. 1870). 9) Joseph Bullen – see below (b. 1871). 10) Frederick Arthur Bullen (b. 1874). 11) Florence Selina Bullen (b. 1876). 12) William Ernest Bullen (b. 1884).

Charles Barnes Garwood was a licensed victualler at the Queen’s Head in Howard Street, Great Yarmouth between 1858 and 1869, in succession it would seem, to Elizabeth’s parents Charles Bullen (1839-1846) and Sarah Bullen (1850-1856). Having given up the licence, Charles ran a business as a fish merchant and grocer for a time. By 1881, however, he was again working as a licensed victualler.   Charles had retired by 1891, when he was living in Princes Road, Yarmouth. He died in 1906, aged 71, and Elizabeth died the following year, aged 67.

Joseph was the second child in the family to be given that name. His elder brother, born in 1864, died in infancy. However, this was not his first name – he was named Robert Joseph Bullen Garwood. Joseph began in the butchery business in Yarmouth, and was working there in 1891.  He married Mildred Eliza Wright (b. 1879 in Lowestoft) in 1898. They came to Lynn and were in the town in 1899 when their first child Josephine (Mildred Elizabeth Josephine) was born. It is not clear whether they had left the town by 1901, when they were staying with Mildred’s family in Cleethorpes, Lincs. They moved about after that date, to Yarmouth (1903), Cambridge (1905), and Hitchin (1906). They were still in Hitchin in 1911, when Joseph was a manager at a butcher’s shop. Joseph and Mildred had at least six children:-

1) (Mildred Elizabeth) Josephine (b. 1899 in Lynn – m. Charles Richard Frowen in 1922 – d. 1951, aged 51). 2) Doris Easter (b. 1903 in Yarmouth). 3) Joseph William (b. 1905 in Cambridge). 4) Claude Bullen (b. 1906 in Hitchin – d. 1992). 5) Frank (b. 1913 in Hitchin – d. 1994). 6) Frederick Bullen (b. 1917 in Hitchin – d. 2000).

Joseph died in 1951, aged 80, and Mildred died in 1966, aged 87.


The census for that year listed No. 98a as being in occupation, but gave no details.

No. 98b was recorded as being unoccupied.

1904 (Frank Giles)

Frank Giles, an English and foreign fruiterer, greengrocer, florist and seedsman, was at No. 98 in 1904 (Kelly). By 1908 (Kelly) he had moved out to 36, St. James Street, and had another shop at 55, London Road. By 1916, he had moved to No. 28, London Road.

Frank Giles was born in Lynn in 1880, and married Nellie Hilton in 1905. They had two sons, both born in Lynn:-

1) Thomas Theodore Lenard (b. 31/01/1910 – d. 1990, aged 80. 2) John Reginald (b. 26//05/1912 – m. Ivy Whiley in 1936 – d. 1992, aged 80).

Frank Giles died on 9th October, 1964, aged 84.

1905 (Mazawattee)

On 6th July, 1905, the Town Council’s Streets and Buildings Committee resolved to approve the plans for a new shop front at No. 98, High Street for the Mazawattee Tea Company but the business was not listed in the trade directories under that name.

 c1916 (Charles Barrett)

For many years, from about 1875 to about 1904, Charles Barrett had a grocery business at No. 100 High Street (where more details of his family may be found) and at Tower Street. By 1916 (Kelly) he had expanded further and had a confectionery business here at No. 98. This latter may have been run by his wife, Elizabeth (see below).

1925 – 1934 (Mrs. E. Barrett)

Mrs. E. Barrett, a confectioner, was listed at No. 98 in successive Kelly’s directories from 1925 until 1934/5. This would almost certainly have been Elizabeth, the widow of Charles Barrett (see No. 100, High Street). If this was the case, she would have been in her 70s and 80s when she was running the shop. The shop must have closed in about 1834 when the site was acquired for redevelopment by Burtons. Elizabeth Barrett died in 1938, aged 89.

1866 – 1935

First & second floors.

 The King’s Lynn Coffee Tavern.

The site at the corner of High Street and Purfleet Street was redeveloped at some time after the demolition of the old buildings in 1866. The new building provided for a large commercial space at first and second floor levels. For many years, from at least 1881 to 1934, the King’s Lynn Coffee Tavern was accommodated here. The company had two coffee taverns in the town in the early 1880s, the second one being in St. Ann’s Street, near the docks. It is known that the St. Ann’s tavern had ten bedrooms, a bathroom, a large reading room, a billiard room, a large bar, and kitchens. It is likely that the High Street tavern had similar facilities, and that it offered cheap hostel accommodation to men and women. There was also accommodation for the manager’s family.

When the licence for the Coffee Tavern came up for renewal it was sometimes opposed by the police and was the subject of objection. The Norfolk Chronicle of 1st September 1888 reported that the licence renewal of the High Street Coffee Tavern was opposed due to noise nuisance; ‘…..a number of youths were permitted and encouraged to assemble there of an evening and allowed to have a sort of Christy Minstrel entertainment or free and easy’. The singing of these boys and the noise caused by the stamping of feet was a nuisance to the neighbours. Mr Wright (Clothier) residing at the corner of New Conduit Street, said that ‘the nuisance lasted up until eleven o’clock on Saturday nights and frightened his children almost out of their lives’.    The manager undertook to abate the nuisance and the objection was withdrawn.

The entrance to the Coffee Tavern was in Purfleet Street and stairs would have ascended from street level to the bar and communal facilities on the first floor.

The chairman of the company in 1891 was Mr. J. T. Bunkall (see Ladymans at Nos. 39 to 40, High Street). He presided at the annual meeting that year, as reported in the Stamford Mercury on 13th February:-

‘KING’S LYNN COFFEE TAVERN COMPANY – The Annual meeting was held on Monday at the High Street Tavern, under the presidency of Mr. J. T. Bunkall. It was stated that since the establishment of the company, altogether £529 5s had been written off. A dividend of 5% per annum was declared. The Chairman suggested that in future the barmaids and other servants of the company should have a proportionate share of the profits (which was now accorded to the manager and secretary), and contended that it would secure efficiency amongst their workpeople and prove an inducement to them to remain in the company’s employ. This concluded business.’

On 31st December, 1891, Millie Ella Sophia Pank gave birth to a son, Horace Brown. She was staying at the Coffee Tavern at the time (or may have been employed there), while the father of the child, William Robert Brown, was living at South Street. He was a railway engine fireman (b. c1863 in Pentney), and his mother Frances (b. c1844 in Pentney) and his sister Kate Ann (b. c1873 in Lynn) were staying with him. After marrying Millie Pank in 1895, William Brown progressed to becoming an engine driver and the family moved into a house in Tennyson Avenue, where they were in 1901. Millie Brown died in Lynn in 1939, aged 69.

In 1903, a story relating to an unfortunate incident in the Coffee Tavern did the rounds of the regional and local newspapers throughout the country, including the Worcestershire Chronicle, in which the following item appeared on 23rd May that year:-

‘I must have cake if it kills me’, said a King’s Lynn man in a coffee tavern. When the cake was half eaten, he burst a blood vessel and died.’

 The following managers of the Coffee Tavern have been identified:

 c1881 – 1883 (William Henry Moody)

Born in Brettell Lane, Staffordshire, in 1849, William Henry Moody was living in High Street, Wollaston, Northamptonshire in 1871 and working as a crate maker. However, by 1881 he had moved to Lynn, taking the job of manager of the High Street Coffee Tavern. At the time he was living in Albion Place. He and his wife Mary had five children (a sixth died young), the first three born in Stourbridge:-

1) Florence Emma (b. 1870). 2) Arthur William (b. 1871). 3) Wilfred Harry (b. 1874 – m. Ingeborg A. Kloed – d. 1939). 4) Lizzie Gertrude (b. 1877 in Birmingham). 5) Eveline Pansy (b. 1885 in Newcastle-on-Tyne).

After leaving Lynn, William Moody took a similar café manager’s job in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, where the family was living in 1891. William and Mary both had good jobs at the Bradford Metropole Hotel in 1901 – he was the café manager and she was the hotel manageress. They had similar jobs in 1911 in Hull.

William Henry Moody died in Shipston-on-Stour in 1930, aged 81.

 c1890 – 1892 (William Dixon)

William Dixon was recorded as the Coffee Tavern manager in 1890 (White), and was here in 1891. Born in Royston in about 1840, he was the son of William Dixon, a labourer born in Royston c1817, and his wife Sarah Walker. William and Sarah had married in 1839 but he died in 1856, aged about 39. Sarah then married William Leavens, a publican (b. c1829 in Linton, Cambs.).

William Dixon jnr. was living with his mother and step-father at the Duke of Gloucester in Cambridge in 1871. He married Ann Elizabeth Squires later that year. In 1881, William jnr. was working as a groom in Cambridge, and Ann was a dressmaker.

One of the servants at the Coffee Tavern in 1891 was Ellen Parker (b. c1870 in Lynn) she married Thomas Boorman, aka Thomas Gibson – see No. 9, High Street.

 c1892 (Harry Gibson)

Harry Gibson was listed as the manager in 1892 (Kelly).

In April 1895, an application was made on behalf of the Coffee Tavern for a music licence. The applicant was Mr. W. R. Sadler, and this may have been the Lynn solicitor William Sadler.

 1896 – 1900 (Miss L. Townley)

In 1896, the manageress was Miss. L. Townley (Kelly).

c1900 (Maud Chapman)

The manageress in 1900 was Maud Chapman (Kelly). Born in Cambridge in about 1873, she was working as a servant for Robert Garrod (b. c1838 in Beccles) and his wife Jane at the dining rooms at the Tuesday Market Place, Lynn in 1891.

 c1901 – c1911 (Harriet Ann West)

Born in Skirbeck, Lincolnshire, in 1868, Harriet Ann was the daughter of James Lawrence West and his wife Rebecca Willson. James was born in Donington, Lincolnshire in 1839, and worked as an oil miller in Boston (1871). He and Rebecca had seven children, the first six born in Boston:-

1) Louisa Willson (b. 1855/6 – m. Thomas Pearmain in 1885 – d. 1939, aged 81 in Worthing). 2) Harriet Ann – see below (b. 1868). 3) George (b. 1870 – died in infancy). 4) George Willson, a Lynn Borough Council labourer in 1911 (b. 1871 – m. Gertrude Skipper in 1894). 5) Mary Margaret  (b. 1873 – m. George Robert Skipper in 1895). 6) Lizzie (b. 1876 – m. Arthur Lawrence Leader in 1902 – d. 1956, aged 80, in Lynn).7) James Henry, a tool fitter in 1911 (b. 1880 m. Edith Addison in 1907). Note: Gertrude and George Robert Skipper were siblings.

The family had moved to Lynn by 1881 and James Lawrence West was working as a labourer that year, when they were living in Front Row, in the Tennyson Avenue area of Lynn. James later became a steam roller driver and the family moved to 39, Tower Street (1891). By 1901 he was back working in an oil mill, a foreman at a local works. Rebecca died in 1909, aged 69, and James died in 1910, aged 71.

When the family left Boston, Harriet finished her schooling in Lynn. She took over as manageress of the Coffee Tavern in 1901 and was listed here in 1904. There is no entry for the Tavern in 1908, and it is not clear when she relinquished the role.

By 1911 Harriet had moved to Providence Street, where she ran a small provision shop until her death on 27th April, 1928, aged 59.

c1911 (George Henry Mitchell)

George Henry Mitchell was born in Hull in about 1883. He was an ice cream vendor and a confectionery manufacturer with premises at 14, Tower Street. According to the entry in Kelly’s directory for 1912, he combined this business with his role as manager of the Coffee Tavern.

c1915 (Mr & Mrs Pells)

SEE the Lynn Heroes entry for John William Pells.

c1916 – 1922 (George William Stratford)

Between 1916 (Kelly) and 1922 (Kelly), George Stratford ran the Coffee Tavern at 98, High Street (Kelly erroneously has the number as 97). George had been born in Northampton in 1882 and had worked in South Africa for some years as a railway clerk before returning to England in 1914. By 1922, he had established the Army & Navy store in Norfolk Street (Stratford’s Ltd.) and became a very well known local shopkeeper.

George’s grandparents were George Snow Stratford (b. c1814 at Redbourn, Herts.) and Sarah Malins (b. 29/05/1816 at Bedford). George Snow Stratford was a veterinary surgeon in Padbury, Buckinghamshire for many years. He and Sarah married on 26th January, 1854 and had one child, John Daniel Stratford, born in 1854 in Padbury. Sarah died in 1865 and George Snow married Hannah Perkins (née Paintin) in 1869.

George Snow died on 9th May, 1901, aged 87, and Hannah died in 1904/5, aged 79.

John Daniel Stratford became an apprentice ironmonger to Mrs. Charlotte French in High Street, Newport Pagnell (1871). He married Mary Ellen Bertram (b. 1855 in Haigh, Lancashire) in 1880 and they were living in Northampton in 1881 when he had a job with a local ironmonger. By 1901 he had his own business in the town.

John and Mary had five children, all born in Northampton:-

1) George William – see below (b. 1882 – m. Emily Gertrude Carnegie – d. 1951, aged 69). 2) Aubrey Bertram, a mechanical engineer at British Westinghouse (b. 1884). 3) Alice Muriel (b. 1886). 4) Margaret Irene (b. 1888). 5. Gladys Hannah (b. 1891).

The whole family went to live in South Africa, where George married Emily Carnegie. They had one child, Audrey Muriel (b. 02/09/1907 in Johannesburg).

George, Emily and their daughter Audrey returned to England in 1911, along with his parents John and Mary, and lived in Norwich where George joined the Army as a recruitment officer. He was transferred to Lynn and both he and his father were running coffee taverns in the town in 1916 – George here at the corner of High Street and Purfleet Street, and his father at No. 108, Norfolk Street.

By 1922, George had established Stratford’s Ltd., the surplus military clothing store at No. 124, Norfolk Street.

Mary Ellen Stratford died in 1926, aged 70, and John Daniel died in 1948, aged 93.

George and his family lived over the Coffee Tavern for a few years, and Audrey went to school in the town, before attending London University where she graduated with a BSc in 1930. Audrey then joined the Bergman Osterberg Physical Training College as a lecturer, before moving to the Chelsea College of Physical Education in 1932. Audrey travelled widely, including to Australia and the USA, before coming back to Lynn towards the end of the Second World War to support her mother in the running of the family business when her father began suffering from ill-health. George Stratford died in 1951, aged 69, and Emily died in 1957, aged 77. Audrey took over Stratford’s Ltd., running it until her death in 2000.

c1925 (Amy Carnegie)

Miss Amy Carnegie was the manageress here in 1925 (Kelly).

c1928 – 1933 (Daisy Rueff / Roofe)

There are two entries in Kelly’s directories for Mrs. Daisy Rueff at the Coffee Tavern, in 1928 and 1930/31. Both erroneously give the address as No. 97, High Street. This is clearly wrong because they list Scott & Son at Nos. 91-97 and then give the direction ‘Here is Purfleet Street’.

In the directories for 1932 and 1933, a Mrs. E. Roofe is listed at ‘The Corner House Tea Rooms’. It is not clear whether this is the same person.

Mrs. Roofe placed the following notice in the Lynn Advertiser on 13th July, 1934:-

‘THE CORNER HOUSE Tea-Room and Home-made Cake Shop, HIGH STREET, LYNN. Mrs. ROOFE, proprietress, wishes to inform her customers that on JULY 9th the above BUSINESS WILL BE TRANSFERRERD TO NEW AND MORE COMMODIOUS PREMISES at No. 7b, NORFOLK STREET (opposite Donaldson’s).’

The Coffee Tavern / Corner House tea-room closed, as did the other businesses at 98 and 98a High Street, when Burtons bought the site for redevelopment.

 1935 to date.

Redevelopment by Montague Burton.

On 23rd December, 1935, Montague Burton opened their grand new shop on the corner of High Street and Purfleet Street. The business was founded in Sheffield in 1900 and expanded rapidly, becoming, they claimed, the largest chain of retail tailors in the world, with 10,000 employees by 1935. The designer of this prestigious new shop was local architect Ernest E. Colman. The bold design of their latest branch reflected the success of the firm and the pride and confidence of its management. Atop the three-storey store, clad in terra cotta, was built a massive pediment bearing the company’s name, illuminated at night.  Above the showroom windows ran their ‘chain of merit’, the links of which contained the names of the towns where they had their other shops. The Burton name was repeated twice on the curved façade on a deep, polished emerald pearl granite fascia. Perhaps conscious of Lynn’s terrible legacy of shop fires, great emphasis was placed on the ‘fireproof construction’. Sited over the course of the old Purfleet, construction necessitated the sinking of massive piles, on which sat reinforced concrete beams and floors. The top floor was lit by large skylights in the flat roof. The main contractors were the London firm of F. J. Moreton & Son.

One of the features of Burtons stores built in the 1920s and 1930s was the provision of a billiards hall, and for many years, the top floor at the King’s Lynn shop was used as a dance hall and billiards saloon. The access was via stairs that ascended from an entrance in Purfleet Street. This was an extremely popular venue, especially during the war years.

The firm was founded by a Lithuanian Jew, Meshe Osinsky. He was only fifteen when he travelled alone to England from Russia in 1900, and settled in Manchester. In 1903 he borrowed £100 from a relative and opened a shop in Chesterfield under the name of the Cross-Tailoring Company. He sold ready-made suits which he bought from a wholesaler. On 23rd April, 1909 he married Sophia Amelia (Sissie) Marks. At the time of his marriage he was using the name Maurice Burton but he had not changed his name officially. Following his marriage, he changed the name of his company, which had become M. Burton, to Burton & Burton. Maurice and Sissie had four children:-

1) Barbara Jessie (b. 12/09/1909 – d. 27/09/1993, aged 84). 2) Stanley Howard (b. 29/05/1914 – d. 07/12/1991, aged 77). 3) Arnold J. (b. 1917 – d. 2013, aged 95). 4) Raymond M. (b. 1917 – d. 15/03/2011, aged 93). Arnold and Raymond were twins, and when their birth was registered their father he gave his name as Montague Maurice Burton, but he had still not changed it officially.

The business flourished and in 1910 Burton moved the manufacturing centre to Leeds. In 1913, there were five Burton’s shops.

The First World War provided an unexpected opportunity for the business to expand and Burtons supplied a quarter of all military clothing during the war. By 1918, the company employed 132 people at Leeds.

After the war, Burtons continued their expansion by developing their factory at Hudson Road in Leeds, and within fifteen years it had become the biggest clothing factory in Europe. In 1929 the company went public, at which date there were 400 Burton shops. The Second World War again saw the company supplying about a quarter of the forces’ uniforms, and demobilisation in 1945 presented Burtons with a further marketing opportunity – the supply of ‘demob suits’. They gained a third of this latter market. The suit comprised jacket, trousers, waistcoat, shirt and underwear, and it has been suggested that this led to the derivation of the phrase ‘the full Monty’. The phrase ‘gone for a burton’ is said to have a similar derivation. If a soldier had died in the war, he could not receive his demob suit and could be said to have ‘gone for a burton’.

Montague Burton was a progressive employer who provided facilities and services to support the welfare of his employees. At the Hudson Road factory he built a large restaurant. There was a dentist on site, and an eye specialist to treat the workers who may have suffered eye strain from the close needle work entailed by the job.

In 1931, Montague Burton was knighted for ‘services to industrial relations’.

In 1946, Burtons bought the Peter Robinson chain of women’s fashion shops, and by 1952 had become the largest multiple tailors in the world.

Sir Montague Burton died on 21st September, 1952, aged 67, and his sons Stanley, Arnold and Raymond took over the running of the business.

In the 1960s, Topshop, a department within Peter Robinson, aimed at the younger clientele, was launched, and in 1969, the company name was changed to the Burton Group. Topman was established in 1970, and other initiatives included the launch of stand-alone Topshops, the acquisition of Evans and Dorothy Perkins.

Burtons were the official suppliers of clothing to the English team at the 1966 World Cup, the 1996 UEFA Euro 1996, and the 2002 FIFA World Cup championships.

In 1997, the company demerged to concentrate on its fashion multiples, and the Arcadia Group was formed. Amongst the group’s brands are BHS, Burton Menswear, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Topshop, Topman, and Wallis.

1937 (Tew & Sons – Billiards Saloon)

In Kelly’s Directory for 1937, Tew & Sons Billiards Saloon is listed here.

1937 – 1966 (Inland Revenue – Collector of Taxes)

From 1937 to 1966 inclusive, the offices of the Inland Revenue Inspector of taxes were located here. Spencer R. Deeks was the Collector in 1937. D. H. Poole was the Inspector of Taxes in 1951 and W. Proudlove was the Chief Collector. The latter was also listed in 1954, but no names are given for either post in 1960 or 1966.

 1951 – 1966 (Molly Robinson) (André Bernard)

From 1951 to 1966 inclusive, Molly Robinson’s hairdressing salon was listed here. It was situated on the top floor.

1972 (Andre Bernard)

In 1972, André Bernard is listed here.

1954 (Brown Bros & Taylor)

The furniture business of Brown Bros & Taylor was listed here. They were located on the top floor of the building (see also No. 101, High Street).