Where we shopped in Great Yarmouth during the pre- and post-war boom years
PUBLISHED: 15:48 10 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:48 10 March 2018
Idle curiosity? A passing thought? Difference of opinion requiring to be settled?
Sometimes these things, however trivial, can nag away at us, pleading to be answered so we can carry on our daily lives... and probably worry about something else equally lacking in importance.
Recently a caller at the Great Yarmouth Mercury’s new offices in King Street inquired if anyone knew what business had been conducted previously in the neighbouring premises, occupied the local branch of national jeweller H Samuel.
Unfortunately, nobody could answer for sure, and the enquiry was passed to me as an old-timer who had lived in the borough for most of my life... but I could not help either, beyond saying that the shop had been H Samuel’s for as long as I could remember.
Certainly the jeweller has outlived all the other businesses once trading on that eastern side of the short area of King Street between the Market Place and Regent Road.
On the corner opposite the end of the market where the chip and six-day stalls traditionally stood, gentlemen’s tailor Montague Burton was in business for decades
Veteran Yarmouthians continue to refer to it as Burton’s Corner.
I cannot envisage anyone ever updating that to Lloyds Bank Corner to reflect the current occupant; more likely, some will probably dub it to recall long-gone neighbour Chelsea Girl.
Pre-war Burtons also had a shop on the Market Place near Palmers department store and the famous Red House pub with its electric model railway running round the bar at picture-rail height.
Next door in the King Street terrace was probably the most prominent and popular trader - Marks & Spencer, long before it trendily truncated its name to M&S and then dismaying Yarmouthians in recent times by closing and relocating its food store to the Gapton retail park.
The vacated store is now a sad embarrassment in the heart of town.
Marks and Spencer arrived here in 1911 as a “penny bazaar” in George Street opposite Broad Row, moving to the former Bonings department store in King Street in 1932.
Wartime bombing in 1941 wrecked the shop but it reopened in the redundant Central Cinema in the Market Place, returning to King Street in 1952.
According to Kelly’s Directory in 1972, adjacent to Marks and Spencer was the shoe shop Stead and Simpson, followed by fancy goods dealer Spalls, wallpaper specialist Brighter Homes and then H Samuel, tobacconist Norton and, on the corner, the Gallon Pot public house.
But none of that answers the original question about H Samuel’s predecessor.
However, the solution was supplied by local historian and author Colin Tooke who included it in his 2006 book Time Gentlemen Please, listing Yarmouth and Gorleston’s many public houses.
He wrote: “At 11 King Street was the Rose, also known as the Rose & Crown, which extended through to Theatre Plain, having an entrance in both King Street and Theatre Plain.
“In 1822 this was described as ‘a porter shop, frequented by rough customers from Yarmouth beach’.
“In 1884, a fire that completely destroyed the adjoining draper’s shop of Mrs Bostock also damaged the Rose.
“It was owned by Lacons Brewery for a short time who sold it in 1904 to Divers & Sons. The Rose closed in 1906 and the licence was transferred to the Crown on the corner of King Street and Regent Street.
“The site of the Rose is now the jeweller’s shop of H. Samuel.” The Theatre Plain rear end was a cafe for many years.
As for the stylish Crown pub, it became a victim of a demolition squad in 1967, and a shoe retailer is now on the site. Decades earlier, it had belonged to the Diver family and despite changes in ownership and name, continued to be popularly called Diver’s by Yarmouthians who also dubbed its location Diver’s Corner, a name still familiar to veterans despite the passage of time since the building’s removal.
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