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No 25 High Street - Part of the King's Head

James Maggs (later to become Southwold's famous archivist and diarist) rents No 25 as a private dwelling from his former employer, High Steward of Southwold, James Jermyn of Reydon. Here, at the age of 25, Maggs decides to open a grocer's shop.

James Maggs moves next door to No 23 which he has had converted as a family home and school.

C Sawyer Jnr - Cabinet maker, moves his home and his business in to No 25. He has moved to Southwold from Saxmundham. In 1830 he marries Hannah Hufflet and, the following year. they move out. Hannah dies a few years later and Mr Sawyer marries again - to a Miss Wakeman. However, by 1840 both he and his second wife are dead, both aged only 37, leaving a son and two daughters. (M)

We have not yet discovered who occupies the shop and cottage between 1831 and 1845.

William Pashley, a farmer from Reydon, takes over the cottage and grocer's shop but hangs himself two years later. (M)

William John Blythe is now the owner of the grocer's shop, having inherited it along with No 23 (The King's Head), No 27 and No 29. Not known who actually runs the shop at this time. (K1896)

William Stammers - Grocer. William is 75 and his wife, Mary, 68. They live above the shop. (C1901). The owner of the premises continues to be William John Blythe(K1908)


William John Blythe dies this year and the entire block is inherited by his widow, Lily Elizabeth.

Violet Bumstead (nee Marshall) - this year rents No 25. Violet (35) is the daughter of John & Emma Marshall (See No 23 High Street) and a sister-in-law of William John Blythe. She is married to George Bumstead and they have a one-year-old son, Marshall George John Bumstead (Jack), having lost three other infants. George Bumstead Snr works as Foreman in Thomas Moy's coal yard just down the road at Southwold Railway Station. George and Violet have No 25 as their home and pork butcher's shop.

To read an account by the late George Bumstead (Jnr) of the background to his parents' decision to become shopkeepers, click here.

Violet Bumstead - Pork Butcher (K1916). By now, George & Violet have a second son, also called George.

George Bumstead (Jnr), recalls that his father,George Bumstead (Snr), had to take early retirement from the coal yard because of ill health.

Later (date not known) Violet also rents No 27 next door which, like the rest of the block, is now owned by Lily Elizabeth Blythe, the widow of William John Blythe, Violet's brother.


Mrs Violet Bumstead - Now described in Kelly's as a 'Shopkeeper' rather than a 'Pork Butcher', still runs No 25 and No 27. (K1924)

No 25 is run as a Grocer and Greengrocer. However, according to Violet's son, (the late George Bumstead), Violet opens a dress and millinery shop next door at No 27. called the 'Hat Box'. George remembers the shop's slogan which was printed on every invoice: "The hat that is becoming to you means that you must be coming to us." (LM) The advertisement, right, indicates that the drapery side of the business (though not necessarily the hats) predates 1929.(SWCG)


Mrs Violet Bumstead - Shopkeeper. Presumably this is still a grocery and greengrocery business. George (Snr) and Violet have also acquired (in 1930) the Greengrocery shop at No 21 Market Place which is run by their son.
However, Violet dies in October 1930 aged 55. (Kelly's Directory 1933 mistakenly continues to record her at this address.)

George Bumstead (Snr)- Shopkeeper (K1937). On the death of Violet, sons, Jack and George(Jnr) decide to discontinue the dress shop next door and integrate No 27 into the Grocery / Greengrocery business at No 25. (LM)

George Bumstead (Snr)- Shopkeeper. The shop is closed for the duration of the War on 28 June. (SRB). George Bumstead's two sons, Jack and George, are now in the RAF.

We gratefully acknowledge the help of Jim Blythe in providing information on the Blythe, Marshall and Bumstead families.

J Noel Cooper, Williamson & Falck - Solicitors. We do not know when they set up at No 25 but they leave the address this year on 5th May. (SRB)

Albert J Finch - Fruit and Vegetables. (SRB) Two months after the solicitors leave No 25, Finch is placing adverts inviting members of the community to register with him as their grocer. This would enable him to expand his product range and open up this shop once more as a full grocery. Food is still subject to wartime rationing in 1947. Each family or individual has to register with a specified local supplier from whom their rations will exclusively be bought. It is only permitted to purchase rations from the supplier with whom you are registered. Albert Finch is one of four brothers: Frank and Jo run the garage and motorbike repair shop at No 19a Church Street, while Kenny has an antique business at No 59 High Street, (LM)


Albert J Finch - Provisions - Fruit and Greengrocery (CSP)

Albert J Finch - Provisions - Fruit and Greengrocery (See Forum comment below)


1972 - 1975 (approx)
Tom Bryant - Grocer and Greengrocer. (LM)

Adnams Brewery This year,No 25 is absorbed into the King's Head at no 23, becoming part of its restaurant.

Adnams Brewery - The King's Head

Adnams Brewery - The King's Head


Adnams Brewery - The King's Head


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
Our forum facility has been withdrawn by the provider. Sorry for the inconvenience. We are looking for an alternative.

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.

Above, now part of the King's Head, No 25 still clearly betrays its origins as a shop. Below, the pretty Regency, bow-fronted shop window dates from James Maggs' time.

Violet Bumstead with sons Jack and George in c1917

Violet Bumstead (nee Marshall) with her elder son, Jack and baby George in approx 1917.
Picture courtesy of Jim Blythe.
Click the photo to enlarge

1929 advertisement for Violet Bumstead's shop.
The drapery side of the business later became conentrated on hats as 'The Hat Box'
From Southwold Wesleyan Church Guide 1929. courtesy of Heather Osmer

Advertisement in the 1931 edition of the Southwold Golf Club Handbook. The Bumstead family were advertising their greengrocery business both here and No 21 Market Place.
Image courtesy of Robert Temple

A J Finch's Store in 1949

Photo courtesy of Karen High

Click image to enlarge