No. 2-3 High Street

Nos. 2-3 High Street hint at an elegant past, its upper storey exhibiting Art Deco detailing above the modern shopfront.

Prior to the current building, historic photographs suggest two late 18th/early 19th century buildings were on the site previously.

No 2

The earliest trade directory consulted dates to 1830 which suggests the building was occupied at this time by a silversmith and jeweller called Antonio Mantegani. Census data and trade directories suggest the Mantegani family continued to trade from a building in this location until at least 1896 when John Mantegani is listed as a clock and watch maker.

By 1904 Alfred Bates has taken ownership or occupation of the shop where he’s listed in Kellys Trade Directory as a “Grocer and Provisions Dealer” and by 1911 Hanry Hansed has taken over as a “fruitier”. In the 1930s, Turner and Sons, photographic artists, gramophone and record sellers were trading on the site.

No 3

Robert Wright, harness maker is listed in the early trade directories and census records between 1840-1870 at No 3 High Street. Saddle, harness and leather goods dealers continued to occupy the building until the 1930s. William Barham, saddler was there in the 1880s and 1890s and William Thermott from around 1900 to 1919.

No 2-3 Burton Montague

From the late 1930s/early 1940s until at least the 1970s, Burton Montague Ltd (later Burtons) were at No 2-3 High Street. Early planning documents held at Cambridgeshire Archives include an application for the laying of the foundations for the Montague Burton Store, submitted in 1936. This shows that the current building was one of the many purpose designed and built premises for the expanding retailer and constructed in a recognisable Burtons style by one of their in-house architects.

Plans from Fenland District Council planning department show proposals for alterations to the shopfront were submitted in 1970.

Internal inspection of the first floor reveals surviving wood panelling on the walls and original shelving from the days of Burtons when the first floor was used for gentlemen’s suit fitting.

Shoe retailers Stead and Simpson occupied the building from the 1980s through to early 2000s. The shop is now Shoe Zone.

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No.2-3 High Street

Comments about this page

  • Mantegani appears to be a snco in the Rifle Volunteers, according to this newspaper report about a shooting trophy.

    The Ladies’ Challenge Cup.—We notice that this silver cup, from design by Cellini, is now on view ‘ in the window of Serjeant Mantegani, silversmith, of High Street. It is a pretty cup, though in our in humble opinion not to be compared with that reoently won by Serjeant Lincoln, at Hythe. The time has not yet been fixed for the cup to shot for. Ref. Cambridge Independent Press – January 1862

    By Garry Monger (15/10/2021)
  • This notice placed in a paper may have been a previous occupant of no.2., he appears to have been singularly unfortunate in his choice of staff.

    NOTICE. FINDING upon investigation that a much greater system of robbery than was first imag-ned has been carried on by SAMUEL TURNER, late in my employ, but now in Wisbech gaol for embezzlement and whereas facts are daily brought to my notice substantiating the same, I shall take it as a favour if any of my friends will furnish me with the particulars of monies paid at any time to the said Samuel Turner on account. GEORGE NIXON, Saddler & Harness-maker. Corn Hill, and High Street, Wisbech. Wisbech, May, 1844.

    By Garry Monger (18/11/2019)
  • ALFRED MANTEGANI begs most respectfully to inform the Gentry of Wisbech and ita Vicinity that he Tunes Piano-fortes in the very best manner and very moderate charges, either by the year or otherwise; and from having been taught the art by a first-rate London Tuner at one of the principal manufactories, combined with knowledge of Music and the prompt attention which he intends to give, hopes to merit share of their patronage and support Pianofortes procured from any Maker, 10 per cent below the usual prices. High-street, Wisbech.

    Advert in Stamford Mercury 2 February 1849.

    By G Monger (15/11/2019)
  • FW Thurmott of High St is listed as a subscriber in FJ Gardiner’s History of Wisbech during the last 50 years 1848-1898. Presumably he had taken over the shop by 1898.

    By G Monger (25/10/2019)

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