Builders who started stripping off six layers of wall coverings as they renovated an old newsagent uncovered a piece of Lynn’s past.
The work at 1 High Street, was being undertaken by Ryan Rix and Gary New, who are co-directors of RGR Developments Ltd, based in Magdalen.
After stripping off the wall coverings and plasterboard, they discovered a poster dating back to 1840.
The poster glued, immovably to the wall, reads: “Eligible Investment ... Sold By Auction. Mr Robt Horne.”
The super sleuths, Ryan and Gary, entered the name in the imprint at the bottom of the poster into a Google search and found that John Thew, had been a printer, publisher and stationer.
The building at 1 High Street had been his main office and printshop.
Ryan said: “It’s nice to see a bit of history that’s been hidden up for so long.”
Gary said: “I always like uncovering local history and we have had people from neighbouring shops and just passers-by coming in to look at what we have uncovered.”
A search online reveals that one of John Thew’s publications was called The Antiquities of King’s Lynn, by William Taylor, 1844.
John Thew died aged 56 in 1856.
Further links to him can be found on the war memorial in Tower Gardens where two of his young apprentices are honoured; Charles Albert Bracebridge, originally of the Norfolk Regiment but transferred to the Worcestershire Regt was killed in France during World War One and Herbert Walter Smith, of the 8th Norfolks, also died in France during the First World War.
Some of the earliest editions of the Lynn Advertiser feature Mr Thew’s name and his extensive stock held at his premises at 1-2 High Street, King’s Lynn.
Further research reveals that the newsagent was later a jewellers.
History will soon be hidden again as ongoing renovations cover-up the poster within the next two weeks.
Gary said: “We can’t take it off the wall without destroying it so we will just have to cover it over when we finish.”
So any future builders working in the premises in many years to come may once again uncover this little slice of our town’s history.
n Do you know anything about John Thew and his contribution to Victorian life in Lynn? Let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org