No. 13-17 High Street

The current buildings at 14-17 were built in 1925 (No. 13 was constructed slightly earlier) in classical style with central pedimented bay and large first floor windows with stone surrounds. The building is dated 1925 and attributed to “JTE”. The parapet has stone balustrades. The ground floor has lost much of its traditional character, although one part of its historic shopfront survives. This building has three shops at ground floor level (14, 16 and 17) and is currently one open space at first floor along with No 13. This entire upper floor used to house the Boro’ Restaurant/Cafe and then a snooker hall in the late 1970s.

Pre-1900 Buildings

Photographs from the late 19th and early 20th century show a row of small terraced buildings where 13-17 currently stand. A photograph from the Stanton Album held at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum depicts a short terrace of two storeys with dormer windows. At this time the advertisements over the shops are for a drapers by the name of Loose.

An undated postcard which looks to be late 19th century by the costumes worn, shows that the Great Eastern Railways Enquiry and Receiving Office was trading from 13-17.

A later photograph also held in collections at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, thought to date around the turn of the century shows the same row of terraces under the name of what appears to be Brenner’s Bizarre. By this time No 13 has been constructed, the sign above advertising as “Borough Restaurant Dining and Tea Rooms”.


Historic photographs and postcards show that this building was constructed earlier than the adjoining No 14.

In 1850 no. 13 High Street was occupied by Thomas Tims, a confectioner. A valuation book for 1865 reveals that the owner was John Collins (perhaps the china and glass dealer at No,11?), although the Tims family continue to trade from the shop until at least 1870 when a trade directory lists a Jemima Tims as the owner.  The shop is still a confectioners in 1883, run by Paul Williams and by Harry Hockney, pastry cook from at least 1896 until 1911 who is also occupying no 14. Still a confectioners No, 13 is run by Edington & Son in 1911 and by 1916 it is being run by Edwin Easingwood.

By the 1930s Edwin Easingwood appears to retain the shop but also has a cafe – presumably this is at first floor level which he continues to operate until at least the 1950s. An undated advert for Easingwoods describes the shop as a “High Class Confectioner” and is trading at No 13…Borough Restaurant.

By 1993 the shop is taken over by Pickfords and is currently occupied by “Global Image”.

No. 14 and 15

Edward Jackson, clock-maker is the earliest name associated with No 14 from the Trade Directory of 1860 and 10 years later the shop is occupied by Robert Hewetson, a stationer and newsagent who remains at no 14 until at least 1883.

In 1860, William Goodger,a butcher was operating at No 15 and between 1870 and at least 1883, Jayne Springfield was running a “Fancy Repository” here.

By 1911 Max Brennar has opened a shop called “Brennars Bizzare” at no 14 and 15 as shown on the historic postcard and by 1932 Pearks Dairy Ltd has taken over where they trade until at least 1954. Photographs from the 1960s show “Purdys Griddle and Coffee Bars” above 13-17 – a well known name amongst many Wisbech residents.

Alterations were made in 1970 when a planning application was submitted by Commercial Union Insurance to change the use of the shop and to replace the shopfront. Details of the internal alterations and the architects drawings for the proposed shop front are held amongst Fenland District Councils historic planning files.

During the 1990s and early 2000s the shop was an estate agents. Today it is Loafers Sandwich Bar.

No. 16 and 17

Historic records show that Mary-Ann Foster, a milliner was trading at No 16 High Street in 1850 and still there in 1861 at the time of the census where she lived with her husband Henry and three children. From at least 1840 until 1851 Henry Foster (presumably husband of Mary-Ann next door..?), a gun smith was trading at No 17. One of the earliest photographs of the High Street held at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum shows “Parker Haircutter” at No 17. A valuation book held at Wisbech and Fenland Museum records Alfred Bales as the occupier of 16 and 17 in 1865 and in 1869 but the buildings owner is listed as William Highbarn.

Kellys Directory of 1879 shows no 16 was a pawnbrokers under the name of Alfred Addison Loose, evidence of this is shown in the Stanton Photograph dated 1870s-80s. Loose must have been successful in his business as the next directory of 1883 shows he has a linen drapers and pawnbrokers at No 16 and No 17.

By 1900 No 16 and 17 are being used as the Great Eastern Railways Receiving Office which remains there until at least 1911 when its listed as the GER enquiry office.

By the early 1930s, presumably after the “JTE” building has been constructed, No 16 is used by the Singer Sewing Machine Company and No 17 next door is “Pullars of Perth”, later Pullars wool shop. These shops both trade from 16 and 17 until at least 1940. An historic photograph shows a busy crowd outside these shops in around 1930s.

Photographs from the 1960s show Sidney Ringwood at no 16 and Smiths Cleaners at No 17. By 1989 photographs from Fenland District Councils Conservation Files show Fancy Fayre has moved into No 16 and it is still trading there today.During the late 1980s and early 190s C&J Cylces operated from No 17, later to become a Sandwich Shop in 2001 and today it is a Property Lettings Agency.

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No.13-17 High Street

Comments about this page

  • Special notice
    To those about to marry!
    HARRY HOCKNEY’s old established and popular warehouse, next to the Corn Exchange, Market Place, Spalding.
    WEDDING CAKES, Richly ornamented, packed and sent to all parts of the country. WEDDING PARTIES supplied with every requisite, on most Reasonable Terms.

    Confectionery in all its Branches.

    ARE MORE POPULAR THAN EVER. HUNDREDS DINE WEEKLY. Bill of fare embracing all Dishes in Season.

    Note the address – next to the Corn Exchange, Market Place, Spalding.


    Lincolnshire Free Press – Tuesday 26 January 1897

    By Garry Monger (28/01/2021)
  • WISBECH BAKER’S AFFAIRS. The first meeting was held on Wednesday of the creditors of Ernest Elsom. of 13. 14, 15. High Street, Wisbech, Cambridge, baker and confectioner. The debtor’s statement of affairs showed gross liabilities amounting to £690 19s4d.. of which sum £629 8s. 10d is expected to rank, the deficiency being £515 8s 2d. The causes of failure, alleged by the debtor, are: “Bad trade and heavy expenses.” The Official Receiver, his observations, stated: “An execution having been levied upon bis effects, the debtor instituted these proceedings upon his own petition, part the proceeds realised by the sale of his pony to pay the necessary fees. The debtor commenced trading as baker and confectioner at Wisbech April. 1901 and acquired the business from the trustee of the previous proprietor for £265. £2OO which was obtained on loan, as his own capital did not exceed £25. The debtor admits having been aware of his insolvent position for the past two Years. The books kept comprise cash book, day book, round books, and customers’ ledger. The whole of the unsecured liabilities are in respect of goods supplied in the way of debtor’s trade. The partly secured creditors are the debtor’s bankers, their security being (so far as the debtor’s estate is concerned) the deposit of a policy of insurance upon the debtor’s life.” It was left for the Official Receiver to wind the estate.
    Norfolk News – Saturday 09 June 1906

    By Garry Monger (28/01/2021)
  • I don’t imagine many High Street properties have had royal visitors. Ref. PS p7. 20 April 1928.

    Thursday 19th 1928
    PRINCE’S SURPRISE VISIT. A Brief Talk with Peterborough’s Stationmaster.
    Peterborough and Wisbech were honoured on Thursday by an unexpected visit from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, but the fact was not generally known until long after the Prince had left. His Royal Highness arrived in Peterborough by the 11.34 am train from Town. He was met by a private car, and proceeded to Necton, Norfolk, to particpate in the West Norfolk Hunt point to point meeting (which was attended by his aunt, Queen Maud of Norway). The Prince, who was a competitor in the member’s lightweight race, drove to the course just before he was due to compete and changed into riding kit with his red and blue racing colours. Officials rode round the course asking spectators to refrain from cheering the Prince when he mounted and took the jumps. Accordingly the crowd was quiet when the Prince rode to the starting point on Degomme II. He was No. 1 in a field of ten runners, and favourite at 2 to 1. The crowd, however could not resit a little cheer when he got away at the srart with a lead of several lengths. The Prince took jump after jump in splendid style and for some distance rode neck and neck and with Captain Clarke on Spruce II. At a particularly difficult hedge, however, the Prince’s horse landed badly. Turning a somersault, the mare threw the Prince clean out of the saddle. Happily he was uninjured, and pluckily endeavoured to remount Degommer II, , but the horse was frightened and galloped away. The Prince returned to the Paddock on a horse belonging to one of the officials. The Prince left the course by car, and on his way to Peterborough to catch the train to London called at Easingwood’s Restaurant in High-street, Wisbech for tea. He stipulated there should be “no fuss” and partook of refreshment in the ordinary tea room upstairs.Resuming his journey by car His Royal Highness reached Peterborough in time to catch the 5.57 pm train for London. Whilst awaiting the arrival of the train the Prince conversed with the stationmaster Mr. H. Ireland. It was the intention of the Prince to attend the initiation of his brother, Prince George, at the Navy Lodge of Freemasons in London that evening, but he arrived too late for the ceremony, although he was able to attend the banquet which followed at the Cafe Royal.

    By G Monger (30/12/2020)
  • An advert in the Wisbech Standard of 20 September 1889
    Shows that J.J.Anderson, auctioneer, Drapers’ Valuer, and Commission Agent have their office at 15, High St and residence at 5, Market St.
    There’s is also an advert for the Star Tea company local branches at 31 High St and 17 High St, King’s Lynn and 13 Bridge St, Spalding.

    By G Monger (24/09/2019)
  • An advert in the South Holland Advertiser of 17 August 1897 states Harry Hockney’s occupy 13,14 and 15 High Street. And braces in Spalding and Rushden.

    By G Monger (24/09/2019)
  • I don’t think it became estate agents until at least 2000. Then it was taken over by Sean (Hotson) and me trading as Specs4Less Ltd

    By Barrie Hotson (15/09/2017)

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