No. 20 High Street

The building which stands at No 20 dates to the mid 20th century however there are historical photographs and records which provide details of the previous building which stood on the site.

A trade directory from 1830 reveals the shop was William Smiths chemist at time and later records suggest the chemists survived until at least 1883. A photograph from the Stanton Album held at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum shows William Smiths chemist around 1870-1880 and the building which used to be there at that time.

By 1916 The Star Tea Company occupied the building, possibly having moved from No 31 where it was listed in 1896 after larger premises became available. Records suggest The Star Tea Co. was still at No 20 by 1940-1.

In 1961 a planning application was submitted by the Eastern Electricity Board to erect a new showroom and office at No 20. A letter by the company’s engineer which accompanied the application explained that an application was made in the previous year to convert the former International Tea Stores building, however on inspection, the timbers and other features were in too poor a condition and therefore demolition and re-build was the only option.

Eastern Electricity continued to trade at No 20 until at lease the mid 1990s after which it became clothing store CanCan. The shop is currently an estate agents.



No.20 High Street

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  • DREADFUL TRAGEDY. On Saturday, the 31st ult., an inquest was taken at the late dwelling house of Mr. John Bailey, of Green-grove in the Isle of Ely, on the body of the said John Bailey and two of his sons, John, aged nine years’, and George, aged eight years.
    The inquest returned verdicts of |:-
    That John Bailey did shoot and kill himself.
    That John Bailey did poison and kill his sons.

    On the dressing table were phials labelled Prussis Acid – poison – three drams – William Smith, chemist and druggist, High Street.

    The jury debated the conduct of William Smith, the druggist of Wisbech, for the incautious or imprudent conduct of him or his asssistant in selling Prussia acid to any but medical men.
    Sussex Advertiser – Monday 15 February 1836

    By Garry Monger (28/01/2021)

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