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No 24 High Street

The Allens were a 'dynasty' of stonemasons and builders who occupied this yard from 1825 until just before the Second World War.There is a mention in Maggs' Diary of a stonemason named Allen being involved in the 1857 restoration of St Edmund's Church and to have donated one of the new windows.

Allen & Son - Stone & Marble Masons (W1874)

Robert John Allen - Builder (K1896) Married to Susan Anna Lily (nee Fish)

Robert John Allen & Son - Builders (K1908) R J Allen and son are also recorded at this time at No 39 High Street. Is the latter their office, perhaps? (confirmation?).

Note: Robert John's son, Ernest Charles (born 1877) Marries Annie Eliza Andrews in 1901. He is a Southwold fireman from 1899 to at least 1928. Latterly he becomes Captain of the Brigade He is awarded a silver Long Service Medal in 1919. He also serves as Borough Mayor in 1928 and as Special Constable for Southwold in which capacity he receives a Long Service Medal with Great War clasp and a 1940 clasp. To see a 1928 photo of Captain Ernest Charles Allen with his Brigade and close-ups of his medal collection, please click here.

Robert John Allen & Son - Builders (K1916)

Robert John Allen & Son - Builders & Monumental Masons (K1924)

Ernest Charles Allen - Contractors and Monumental Masons (SPM 1928) Ernest Charles is Captain of Southwold's Fire Brigade.


Hubert Palfrey
- Describes his firm in advertising as 'Formerly R J Allen & Son'. (SPM 1935) H. Palfrey is a builder, previously trading from premises in Gardner Road . His firm has just finished building St Edmund's Church Hall (Opened in Feb 1934).

The Allen name is not totally out of the picture, however. John Allen (probably Leonard John, son of Ernest Charles), Monumental Mason, is advertising at the same premises from 1936 to 1940 (SPM)

1940 (approx)
John Allen dies at the age of 24 (LM)


Private residence








Do you have any memories or records about this address? Can you correct any of our information or fill in any of our blanks? If so, please email Barry Tolfree
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BSD - Bernard Segrave-Daly
BCS = Bygones & Characters of Southwold by Barrett Jenkins
C = Census
CP = Cinema Programme 1958
CSP = Coronation Souvenir Programme 1953
G = Gales Trade Directory
GRO = General Register Office
K = Kelly's Directory
LM = Local memory
M = James Maggs' Southwold Diary 1818-1876
MCG = Methodist Church Guide 1930
NA = National Archives
PP = Pantomime Programme 1933
PLR = Petrol Licence Records

POD = Post Office Directory
PPP = Pier Pavilion Programme 1924, 1926
RCE = Rotary Club Exhibition 1969
SCM = Southwold Catholic Magazine 1923
SCTG = Southwold Corporation Tourist Guide
SER = Southwold Electoral Register
SFP = Southwold Scouts Fete Programme 1947
SG = Southwold Guide
SGCH = Southwold Golf Club Handbook
SLHR = Southwold Local History Recorder 1980s 1990s (Mrs R. McDermot)
SMHS = Southwold Museum & Historical Society

SN = Southwold & Neighbourhood 1903
SPM = Southwold Parish Magazine 1895 -1954
SR = Southwold Recorder 1927, 1932, 1934, 1935
SRB = Southwold Rate Book
SRT = Southwold Railway Timetable 1915
SSAS = Southwold Sea Angling Society Handbook 1909
SST = Southwold Summer Theatre Programmes
SSW = Southwold Shopping Week Programme, June/July 1922
STG = Southwold Town Guide 1930
SVL = Southwold Visitors List 1907, 1930
SVCP = Southwold Victory Celebration Programme 1946
SWCG = Southwold Wesleyan Church Guide

TTR = 'The Town Revisited' - Portraits of Southwold by Stephen Wolfenden 2000
TTT = ''To The Town' - Portraits of Southwold by Stephen Wolfenden 1988
W = White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk 1874

Note on dates
Unless otherwise stated, dates given do not indicate the years in which the business started or finished but those for which there is firm evidence that it was trading at this address. Sources in brackets; key at bottom of page.

This little enclosed square was a stonemason's yard. Today it is residential, incorporating Nos 16-24 High Street

R J Allen bill head 1879
Southwold Museum collection
Click the image to enlarge

An itemised bill from RJ Allen dated December 1924 for refurbishment work carried out at the Blowers foundry (No 42 High Street) and at the milliners' shop run by Misses Aldis & Dunt at No 76 High Street. The bill is addressed to Eustace E Grubbe of Park Lane, ex mayor, retired parliamentary agent and property owner. The two premises in question are presumably owned by him.

To see the whole bill and the Barclays Bank cheque that settled it, click the image fragment above.

Courtesy of Murray Gellatly

Captain Ernest Charles Allen from a framed photograph in Southwold Museum showing the whole brigade in 1928 and presented to Ernest by his colleagues to commemorate his year as mayor of the borough.

Click the image to see the whole photo and close-ups of Ernest's medal collection .

1929 advertisement in Southwold Wesleyan Church Guide
Courtesy of Heather Osmer

(Southwold Museum) P1067 Stonemason

date 1949?