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History of the borough of King's Lynn (Volume 2) online

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England" — was awarded the prize — a horse-shoe scarf _ pin,
containing his portrait, set with diamonds. Owing to his innate
modesty, he seldom "sported" this public recognition of superior
ability. His facial expression was perhaps unequalled ; a momentary
glance often conveyed far more than an elaborate speech.
Unfortunately, he was square-shouldered, and appeared, when on
the stage, somewhat squat in figure. This defect in his stature stood
perhaps in his way, and hindered him in attaining as much fame in
the metropolis as he enjoyed in the provinces. Constituting, as it
were, a link between the old school of acting and the new, he will
be best remembered by the present generation of play-goers for his
inimitable personation of Eccles in Caste, Perkyn Middlewick in Our
Boys and Old Macclesfield in The Gov'nor. The conception of
Eccles was distinctly different from that of George Honey ; it was
a perfect embodiment of the pot-house politician.

Though lessee of the Lynn Theatre, "J. F. Young" vvas a
student thoroughly absorbed in his art, rather than a shrewd business
man ever ready to take advantage of propitious circumstances. Great
diplomacy indeed was needed to gain his consent to the issue of a
special placard, no matter what patronage had been secured or how
important the occasion. Although he invariably played the leading
role himself, and was assisted by his wife, his theatrical speculations
here were scarcely remunerative.

When Thomas W. Robertson engaged Toole's Theatre, for the
production of his father's popular plays. Young joined the new
company (1883), and made decided " hits " by his clever conception
of Isaac Skoone in ]\l.P., and General Shendryn in Ours. At the
termination of this engagement, he appeared at the Globe Theatre in
Mr. H. Hamilton's drama, Our Regiment; he acted, moreover, a
prominent part in Mr. A. W. Pinero's unfortunate play. Low Water.
His jjerformance in the second piece resulted in an engagement with
Mr. John Hare and Mr. William H. Kendal at St. James' Theatre,
where he acquitted himself with credit in The Ironmaster. Sub-
sequently, he joined the " Caste Company," of 'which he was a
conspicuous member at the time of his death.

Mr. Young was twice married ; both wives were actresses — the
first, being petite, excelled as " chambermaid," and the second in
boys' parts. For some years before his decease, the second Mrs.
Young lost her sight. To him this was a terrible blow, and her


death greatly aggravated the malady from which he suffered. He
died suddenly a few months afterwards at Stirling, where he was
buried (25th iMarch 1887). " In the death of Mr. Young the
theatrical profession has lost an able, experienced and thoroughly
conscientious actor, and those who had the felicity of knowing him
will miss a warm-hearted, sincere friend." [T/ie Stage.]


(whose father William Baly (1779-1847) carried on business as a
grocer in Norfolk Street, where Mr. R. Catleugh lives), was born at
Lynn in 1814. With Sir James Clark, he was appointed regular
physician to Queen Victoria. Many erudite works on pathological
subjects proclaim him to be one of the brightest stars in the firmament
of his profession. His death was sudden and involved in mystery
(j8th January 1861). Whilst travelling on the South-Western Rail-
way near Wimbledon, one of the carriages swerved over an embank-
ment. After a protracted investigation, during which the guard,
engine-driver and pointsman were praised for their promptitude and
presence of mind, the coroner's jury failed to discover the exact cause
of the catastrophe, and could only recommend that additional brake-
power should be provided, in order to secure greater control over the
movement of all railway trains. On the death of Dr. Baly, The
Queen gave a suite of apartments in Hampton Court to one of his
sisters; the other had married William Shipp, a retired Lynn ship-


was born at Lynn (1800); he was the son of George Holditch,
described as pilot, beaconer and harbour-master, to whom the Society
of Arts awarded a gold medal for the invention of life-saving beacons
(1833); modifications of whose designs are still erected upon the
treacherous sands of the Lynn Deeps. The son was for three years
instructed by the Rev. i\L Coulcher, at the Grammar School.
When eighteen years of age, he was admitted pensioner
of Caius College, Cambridge (i6th February 1818); he gained
his B.A. (senior wrangler and Smith's prizeman) in 1822,
when, as a mark of esteem, he was presented with the
freedom of Lynn; his M.A. in 1825, and was senior fellow from
1823 to his death. Probably, in view of a fellowship, he was
baptised late in life at St. Michael's church, Cambridge (17th March
1823). He held various responsible college offices, for example,
Hebrew and Greek lecturer, bursar (1828), etc. He was remarkable
for his extreme shyness. Owing to some slight, perhaps more
imaginary than real, he absented himself for many years from Hall
and Chapel, and was thus known to a few only. Hence a junior
fellow, taking him for an interested strnngcr, ])olitely shewed /lim
round the college ! He delighted in angling, and spent his summers
in Scotland or Wales. In 1850 he gave jQioo tr) the new college
buildings. He died in college the 12th of December 1867, and was
buried at North Wootton.



a scholar of varied attainments, was born at Great Yarmouth (1794);
he studied at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, and acted for some years as
classical tutor at William Beloe's academy in New Conduit Street.
After his ordination (1820), he accepted a curacy at St. Margaret's
church, where he remained until 1842. For seven years he was
curate, and afterward, to the time of his death (1871), vicar of East
Winch. He married Ann, the daughter of the Rev. Edward
Edwards, the lecturer of St. Nicholas. The literary w^orld is
indebted to him for The Flowering Plants of Norfolk (1841), forty
copies only were printed for private circulation, but the work was
subsequently incorporated in White's Directory of Norfolk; An
Analysis of the Domesday Book of the County of Norfolk (1858)
and Local Names in Norfolk — aji attempt to ascertain the true
derivation of the names of towns and villages (1876).


1846. James Rowker died of consumption at Pisa, Tusamy, aged 56 j'ears

(nth Nov.).
1846. Frederick Lane, town clerk, died at Travannes, Switzerland, from injuries

received in a fire, by which the hotel, at which he was slaying, was

destroyed (24th Sept.).

1848. James Scraggs, artist, aged 58 years (13th Nov.).

1849. Rev. Edward Kdwards, aged 84 years (15th March).

1854, Edward Mugridge, printer, aged 64 years (14th Nov.).

1855. Commander Thomas Curtis, R.N., a native of Lynn, who served his

country from 1793 to 1815, aged 82 years (3rd Sept.).

1855. Allen Scott, aged 86 years, the last of the Lynn Waterloo soldiers ; he was

in the army from 1792 to 1817 and took part in the Egyptian Ciimpaigu
and the Peninsula war.

1856. John Thew, printer, aged 56 years (6th Nov.).
1879. Edward L. King (i8th Jan.).

1882. Edwin Woodward, surgeon (25th Feb.).

1882. I'Vancis J. Cresswell (19th Sept.).

1882. John Thorley at Southport (28th Dec).

1883. John Bray, musician (30th Jan.).
1883. Josiah Carver, schoolmaster (ist .April).
1885. John Sugars, builder, at Hastings (31st Oct.).
1885. Edward E. Durrant, at North Runcton (loth Nov.).
1888. William L. Armes (and May).

1888. Samuel Street, organ-builder (nth May).

1888. Oscar Backham, printer (25th June).*

1888. Sir Lewis W. Jarvis (2nd Nov.).

1888. Mrs. Rachel Cresswell, daughter of Elizabeth Fry, aged 85 years (4th Dec).

iS8g. John Wingate Aikin, printer (8th Dec).

1890. John Eulcher (24th Aug.).

1890. Charles Iblierson, also Miss Henrietta Blencowe (27th Nov.\

1890. John O. Smcatham (27th Dec).

1891. Robert Wise (17th Feb.).

1891. Richard Bagge, aged 81 years (5th April).

1891. John Dyker Thew, aged 63 years (15th Oct.).

1892. Frederick Ludby, killed on the railway between Wolferton and Wootton

(ist June).

• The Almsliouses, Goodwin's Road, were founded through the munificence of Obcar Backham, and
\x\i motbei, Caroline Backhaiu (1901).


1892. John Wales, J. P., also Henry Measham, "the Lynn miser " (15th March).
1892. William Thompson, timber merchant, aged 61 years (4th Oct.).

1594. David Ward, magistrates' clerk (i6th June).

1894. Darius Clack, architect (24th June).

1595. William Seppings, solicitor, aged 54 years (2nd March).

1895. Caroline Backham (13th June).

1896. George Holditch, merchant (19th May).

1897. Frederick Savage, machinist (27th April).
1897. Robert R. Reed, surgeon (13th Sept.).
1897. William Bardell, builder (1st Oct.).

1897. Carlos Cooper, recorder, aged 82 years (25th Oct.).

1899. Thomas G. Archer, town clerk, aged 82 years (26th Feb.).

1900. William Johnstoun Coombes died at Falmouth (20th July) ; he predicted

that the impure water supplied not only at Falmouth but at Lynn,
where he previously lived, would cause typhoid epidemics. His words
came true in each case. His agitation banished visitors from Falmouth
for two years, and he used to be hissed as he went about.

I goo. Mrs. Mary Ann Fowler, a Lynn resident, attained the looth year of her
age. She married at twenty and had 17 children. At her decease
hve generations of her descendants were living, numbering 100 and
including seven great-great grandchildren. One grandchild has no
fewer than 21 children.

igoi. Robert Huggins, born at Lynn, noted as a wood carver, whose work
is compared with that of Grinling Gibbons, aged 70 years (July).

The Light of Hope.


To the members of the Subscription Library, founded in 1797, is due
the inception of a permanent home for our various literary, scientific
and musical societies. The subject, first placed upon the tapis at a
special meeting (2nd January 1852), was subsequently discussed by
the Town Council, who agreed to grant ;^5o annually, provided there
should be a surplus in the borough fund, towards the support of such
an acquisition (7th January 1853). For concerts, lectures and general
purposes, a public assembly room for one thousand persons was
greatly wanted. Encouraged by the Corporation and our benevolent
representative, Lord Stanley, a small committee was selected to
develop the scheme. By means of a prospective mortgage, debentures
and subscriptions, the sum of ^6,400 was raised. As a central
position was desirable, the house and premises of Dr. John Tweedale,
an early Radical, were secured. The old-fashioned structure was
screened by a row of neatly-lopped lime-trees, and protected against
runagate vehicles by sentinel posts with pendent chains. From the
upper windows of the doctor's residence, ingratiating aspirants for
political fame used to liberally outpour their specious eloquence for
the instruction of the eager listeners crowding Baxters' Plain, and
the salvation of the nation at large.


Plans for the proposed edifice were furnished by Messrs. Cruso
and Maberley, whilst the tender (;£4,i5o) from Messrs. J. and W.
Purdy — being the lowest of the six received — was accepted. The
work was satisfactorily carried out, but the contract proved
unremunerative to the builders. The architects and contractors
belonged to Lynn. John Stimpson bought the trees in the garden
and the 100,000 bricks the house was supposed to contain for jQtS^
agreeing, of course, to clear the ground (21st February 1853).

A broad corridor, 78 feet in length, extended from the principal
entrance, with class rooms on either side. Among other apartments
on the basement were the Conversazione room (33 by 25 feet), the
News room {t^t^ by 18 feet), and the Music Hall (82 by 45 feet). This,
the largest room, 32 feet in height, was lighted by five windows ; tha
walls were relieved with pilasters and a bold cornice at the spring of
the ceiling. At the north end was a platform and orchestra. An
ornate gas chandelier illuminated the room. On the ground floor,
too, was the galleried room (70 by 32 feet), first used as a museum ;
it had an open roof with a glazed lantern. The upper floor included
the Subscription Library (50 feet in length), with two adjoining
Reading rooms; and a commodious room — "the Stanley Library " —
with adjacent ante-rooms and separate staircase. The edifice, still
standing, is of red brick in the Italian style. The front is sur-
mounted by the statue of Minerva, the goddess of learning,
corresponding with Athena of the Greeks, whose temple was known as
the A-thcncEum.

Many enthusiastic educationists were enrolled as a committee of
management, for example, the Rev. Canon Wodehouse, Rev. F. L.
Currie, F. R. Partridge, Philip Wilson, John G. VVigg, Joseph
Cooper, William Taylor, Lionel Self, Capt. Astell, Edward
Mugridge, Robinson Cruso, Henry Smyth, Edward L. King, Charles
J. Whiting, Joseph B. Whiting, Henry Ladbrooke (artist), etc.

At first it was thought that the inauguration ought to assume
the guise of a local trades' exhibition, but after mature consideration,
it was deemed more appropriate for the display to be of an
educational character, illustrative of the various purposes for which
the new building was designed. The following list, suggestive of
the kind of articles acceptable, was circulated : —

fine AvU, — Sculptures, casts, models in wax or clay ; ancient and modern
paintings ; drawings, architectural designs and models, statuettes, medals,
engravings and etchings. Manufactures, — Models of machinery, specimens illus-
trating the' process of manufactures, models of marine architecture, tapestry, &c.
Mediccval Avt, — Ancient and modern specimens of painted glass, embroidery,
illuminated books, encaustic tiles, carvings in ivory, wood and stone, monumental
brasses, arms, armour and costumes. Photography, — Pictures by daguerreotype,
talbotype, collodion and wax paper processes [crystoleum] ; coloured specimens
to be accompanied by untouched specimens of the same subject. Foreign
Curiosiiies, — Costumes, implements of warfare, idols, models of temples, pagodas,
canoes, and any othor article illustrative of the manners and customs of other
countries. Natural History, — Specimens of preserved beasts, birds, fishes and
insects ; nests of birds ; examples of insect architecture ; geological specimens
and in fact any comprised in the wide range, that claims the notice of the
student in this department.


A grand civic procession should have been a feature in the
inauguration ceremony ; unfortunately, however, on the eve of the
event, Frederick Kendle, the honorary secretary, issued a notice,
asking that, in consequence of the lamented death of Lord Jocelyn,
M.P., who was expected to take part in the proceedings, the proces-
sion from the Town Hall to the building might be " unaccompanied
by band, banners and other demonstrations." The mayur, John
Marsters, Lord Stanley, M.P., and the members of the Corporation
formally opened the institution (i6th August 1854). Li the course
of an interesting speech, his Lordship pointed out how this nation
was outstripped by others, because the facilities offered through access
to books were far greater abroad that at home. Nearly every town
of any pretension in England, he remarked, either had established
or was about to establish a free library — that is, one where the
subscription paid was nominal, and far too inadequate to maintain
the institution. The number of mechanics' institutes amounted to
800. In the north, they were spreading in all directions. Com-
paring the present with the past, educationists had some cause for
satisfaction ; if, however, the present state in England were compared
with other countries, the cause for satisfaction, he declared, would
vanish altogether.

During the exhibition a testimonial was presented to the late
Henry Edwards, Esq., in appreciation of his " exertions in connection
with the Athenaeum movement." *

Before tracing the changes through which the building has
passed, it may be advantageous to enumerate some of the societies,
etc., which have found shelter beneath its roof.

T/ie Museum occupied the large room with the gallery, for half
a century.

Tf/e Lynn Conversazione and Society of Arts was formed by the
late William Taylor for mutual help (1842). It flourished for many
years ; and examinations in connection with South Kensington and
the Society of Arts were held, from whence originated the Technical

TJic Musical Union, for the purpose of cultivating a taste for
vocal and instrumental music, was started (1851). Canon VVodehouse
was president ; H(;nry Edwards, vice-president ; Henry Wallack,
musical director; Robinson Cruso, junr., secretary; and John G.
Churchman, librarian. In 1852 the sum of ;^300 was raised in ^5
shares for the purchase of an organ, which was built by Mr. G. M.
Holdich (London) and placed in an alcove above the platform. The
Messiah, the first performance, was effectively rendered, Josiah F.
Reddie conducting (ist September 1854). The local singing classes
previously met at the school-room, Clough Lane. In 1853 there
existed an " English Glee and Madrigal Union," and later the
"Choral Union."

' A niPtlal was strui.k, bcariiiK 'ni our side the front elc\ation of the building, and — Erecteu a.d.
1834; and on the other — To Commemorate the inauguration op the AiiiiN-tuM, King's Lyn.v,
August i6tu 1834.


At the decline of the society, the organ was purchased by Messrs.
Street and Son; the swell, with five stops, was removed to Allsaints'
church (1867), and other parts to the church at Castleacre.

The Church of England Young /Men's Society was instituted by
the Rev. O. P. Vincent, a Lynn curate, the first meetings being held
in his drawing-room (i860). After this gentleman quitted the town,
the small society assembled in that part of St. Margaret's church
which forms a vestibule under the clock; later, rooms in the
Athenaeum were taken. The foundation stone of a permanent home
was laid by the mayor, James Bowker; John D. Thew being the
president (20th August 1884).

The Suhscnftion TJhrary was removed from Burlingham's court
to the new building ; and the Stanley Library, with 700 subscribers,
was opened the 15th of January 1854.

The King's Ly^in and West Norfolk Permanent Building Society
established (1861).

The Penny Bajtk.

In consequence of the withholding of the annual grant of jQso,
paid for many years by the tlorporation to the Athenaeum committee,
the entire block was sold in 1872 for ^3.500. The income derived
from the rent of the rooms was insufficient to pay the interest upon
the mortgages and at the same time to carry on the institution
efficiently. Passing into private hands, the buildfng was enlarged
the next year, by the Blackfriars' Hall (capable of seating 400
persons), several offices, known as the Athenaeum Chambers, and a
large private residence, at a further outlay of ;£3,5oo.

The Government purchased the front part of the block for a
central post office and telegraph station, for ^^4,400 (20th January
1883) and


secured the rest — an area of 2,000 square yards, including the Music
Hall, the Museum room, the Blackfriars' Hall, the Bank room, the
Liberal Club room, the Institute room, the private house and four
suites of offices, for ;,^5,25o. The intention of the purchasers was
to provide a general educational and recreative institution for working
men and women, without the slightest limitation as to religious sect
or political party. Lord Battersea and William Stubbs, the Dean of
Ely, declared the premises open (2nd November 1898).

It may not be inopportune here to briefly trace the development
of this powerful association. The first meeting, held in the Black-
friars' Hall on Sunday the 5th of October 1891, was attended by
67 men; for twelve months the w^eekly services of "the Pleasant
Sunday Afternoon " were for men only. However, in 1892, a
women's weekly meeting was started, and 'a year later it was resolved
to hold united services in the Music Hall. Having acquired so
important and suitable a building, ^^350 was expended in renovating
and refurnishing; the old organ from St. Nicholas' chapel was also
bought for ;^6oo to occupy the niche, where the organ of the Musical
Union formerly stood.



The museum at Lynn was the second established in Norfolk.
Its first home was a hired house in Union Street, subsequently known
as " Welwick House," and " The Armoury." After an elapse of
ten years, larger and more convenient premises were necessary ; a part
of the Athenaeum admirably supplied the want. Owing to the sale
of the premises (1898), the committee approached the Corporation,
with the view of obtaining a public building, wherein the valuable
collections in the custody of the trustees might be safely housed.
The council not only promised a site for a proposed new building,
but the adoption of the Museums Act to insure the support of the
institution, as soon as ;^i,ooo should be raised by voluntary
subscriptions to defray the expense of its erection. At this juncture,
the Union chapel, Market Street, which originally cost over ;^4,ooo,
was secured for ;^i,6oo. After a further outlay of ^1^400, this eligible
property was adapted for the purpose. The "Museum and Art
Gallery " was opened by Sir W. H. B. Ffolkes, bart., on the 14th
of April 1904. *

The museum contains a valuable collection of foreign birds,
presented by the late J. H. Gurney, M.P. for Lynn (1854-65); the
West Norfolk ornithological collection, with many rare birds; the
Nelson collection, given by Capt. G. W. Manby ; t a series of Greek
and Roman coins (4,700 electrotypes) from Capt. Fred. T. Hamilton,
R.N. ; paintings and curiosities forwarded by Thomas Baines,
F.R.G.S. ; a case of British lepidoptera (4,000 specimens) from
E. A. Afmore, Esq., F.E.S. ; a collection of local flint implements
from Charles B. Plowright Esq., M.D., ; besides many geological,
botanical and natural history specimens.


The first library was connected with St. Nicholas' chapel ; it
was founded in the year 1617. Not to be totally eclipsed by her
enlightened offspring, a second library was established at the mother
church of St. Margaret (1631). If a few of these books were
acquired by purchase, we may safely infer that many were presented
by the generous inhabitants themselves.

In 1 7 14 the number of books contained in the Church library
at St. Margaret's w'as greatly augmented by a clause in the will of
the Rev. Thomas Thurlin, D.D., president of St. John's College,
Cambridge, and, at the time of his death, rector of Gaywood. The
value of the books derived from this munificent bequest was estimated
at ;^i6o — their present value would of course be considerably greater.
There were 179 folios, 171 octavos and duodecimos and 84 quartos —
in all 44r volumes. The testator was buried in the church dedicated
to St. Faith the Virgin in the parish of Gaywood.

♦ At firit called the" Burlingham Art Gallery," after Alfred Burlingham, who w.is unfortunately killed
by an explosion of acetylene gas (<)th December 1898).

t George William Manby (1765-1854), the inventor of the mortar and grapnel (now the rocket
apparatus), was born at Denver; he was the eldest child of Matthew Pepper Manby and Mary tltf
daughter <jf Joha an4 Mary Woodcock of Lynn. Thoiijas, smother sor, was aa admira),


Of the many, who augmented the stock of books, three other
benefactors deserve notice : —

John Home, AM. (1644-1732), was the son of John Home,
vicar of All Saints, who sacrificed his living, because he could not
conscientiously comply with the Act of Uniformity (1662). He was
appointed master of our Grammar School (1678). Not only did he
bequeath his books to the Church library, but he left a legacy of
;^68o to the Corporation as trustees. The interest of this sum is
spent in apprenticing poor children.

George Hehhurn, M.D., or Hepbourn (1669-1759) was also a
contributor. Physician to Sir Robert VValpole, he is said to have
spent much time with his patron at Houghton.

Robert Barker, M.D., is described by an inscription on his
portrait, as a "benefactor to this library."

Online LibraryHenry J HillenHistory of the borough of King's Lynn (Volume 2) → online text (page 24 of 64)