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No 40a - 42 High Street

Pre 1846
Joseph Blowers b1794 d1880. Blacksmith. Joseph is the first of three generations of Blowers to own the forge at this address. He and his wife, Mary (nee Upcraft) have 11 children - 4 boys and 5 girls.

On May 14th 1846 his mischievous 11-year-old daughter, Margaret, very nearly kills herself with a prank in the smithy. The event is recounted by James Maggs in his Southwold Diary:

"...while amusing herself with a Flask of Gunpowder by sprinklin it on the fire it ignited, made a tremendous explosion, and had not the window blown out of the house, the girl must have been killed - she was seriously injured losing her right thumb et et."

On March 16 1853 James Maggs reports in his Diary that a Joseph Blowers is consigned to Beccles Gaol for one month "for non payment of a bastard child." It is not clear whether this refers to Joseph ( 59) or his son Joseph (27) or another Joseph Blowers altogether.

William Blowers (Billie) - Blacksmith (W1874, K1896) William (Joseph's son), now himself aged 54, has taken over the forge although his 80-year-old father, Joseph, will survive until 1880. (Source A J Blowers). William has been married to Ann (nee Stannard) since 1843. William's younger brother, Charles Blowers, is also a blacksmith - trading round the corner in Bartholomew Green. (C1891, K1896)

Note: William Blowers is the uncle of the butcher William Blowers at No 71 High Street and later, 23 Market Place.

Robert Charles Blowers - Registered Shoeing Smith (C1901,K1908) William's son has taken over the smithy (his father having died two years ago). He is married to Mary Ann 'Polly' (nee Dawkins) and they have four children. Mary Ann dies in 1905 aged 54.


Robert Charles Blowers - Shoeing and General Smith. Robert, now a widower, has been sharing his home with a cousin, Florence (Florrie) Farmery (C 1911) whom he marries in April this year.

William Henchman Miller - William H Miller & Sons - Blacksmith & Wheelwright (K1916). William Miller has run No 2 Victoria Street, next door, as a wheelwright's shop, for many years. At the turn of the century he also had a wheelwright business at Bartholomew Green (C1901)though it is not clear whether he ran the two branches simultaneously. William's two sons, Edward (Ted) and Shrofield, are also in the business.

At about this time the Miller business at No 2 and the Blowers' business at No 42 become amalgamated as parts of William H Miller & Sons.

This year the blacksmith's shop is taken over by Arthur Noller working for William Miller's son. Ted. (LM)

Arthur Noller
The Blacksmith's shop closes this year (SRB 9.9.39)


No 40a has become a shop and, after a fire at the town Post Office opposite, also acts as a temporary post office. Later it becomes residential.






Craftco -
a co-operative of local artists, printmakers and craftspeople. This business has moved here from No 10 Market Place.


Craftco - a co-operative of local artists, printmakers and craftspeople.


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.


William Blowers Smithy in the 1890s.
Southwold Museum P234
Click the picture to enlarge

'Billie' Blowers, one of Southwold's best known blacksmiths. He made the metal parts of fishing gear and, during the summer season, started work so early in the morning that the neighbours complained. From Barrett Jenkins book ' Bygones and Local Characters of Southwold' , reproduced by permission of the author's daughter, Ann Thornton.

Ann Blowers

Ann Blowers, nee Stannard, the wife of William (Billie) Blowers above. The photo is thought to date from about 1880 when Ann was in her early 60s.
Photo kindly supplied by A J Blowers.

William Blowers in his Smithy

Billie Blowers in his Smithy in 1875.
Photo kindly supplied by A J Blowers.
Click the picture to enlarge

Robert Charles Blowers and his sister, Harriet Ann in about 1860s

Photo courtesy of Ian Goffin

Robert Charles Blowers in 1870

Robert Charles Blowers in 1870
Photo kindly supplied by A J Blowers.
Click the picture to enlarge

This picture, taken outside the forge in 1895, shows three generations of Blowers - Billie Blowers in the front, Robert Charles, his son, on the right and Jack, his grandson, on the left. The man at the back is an employee.
Photo kindly supplied by A J Blowers.
Click the picture to enlarge

Bill head dating from 1900, from a collection in Southwold Museum.

Robert Charles

Robert Charles Blowers, now a widower, in about 1910 before his marriege to Florence (below)
Photo kindly supplied by A J Blowers.
Click the picture to enlarge

Florence Blowers (nee Farmery)

Florence Blowers (nee Farmery), Robert Charles' second wife in 1918.
Photo kindly supplied by A J Blowers.

Knife sharpener outside Blowers Forge
Mobile knife sharpener outside the Blowers smithy, believed to be about 1913. Identity of the tradesman not known. The sharpening service may or may not have been part of the Blowerrs service. Further details welcomed.
Photo by Marcus Dawkins: Mike Hardy collection.

Click the image to enlarge

Wheel-rim fitting at the forge 1911
Wheel-rim fitting at the rear of the forge probably about 1913..
Photo by Marcus Dawkins: Mike Hardy collection.

Click the image to enlarge

Arthur Noller outside the forge. He ran the smithy from 1921 until the Second World War.
Photo courtesy of Paul Scriven, MBE

Click the picture to see the full image

No 42 in the 1950s

No 40a in the 1950s when, for a time, it became the Post Office following a fire at the regular Post Office across the road.

From a postcard in the Robert Palmer collection, courtesy of Margaret Palmer

Click on the image to see the whole scene