From the Archive

Post date: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 15:43

Can a man’s pocket be empty when he’s got something in it? Yes, when he’s got a hole in it!

This is one of the riddles printed underneath a series of cartoons on a large sheet of paper with “Richard Amiss Grocer, Draper & General Dealer” and “Reepham” beneath each one.

The paper is broadsheet size and looks like an early form of advertising. One side contains 12 cartoons with an extra riddle underneath. The other side has snippets of songs that come from familiar folk songs, such as The Keel Row, sentimental ditties and humorous music hall songs popular in the mid-19th century, such I won’t be a nun.

Maybe the whole sheet was used for wrapping large items bought in Richard Amiss’s shop?

It would not have been cheap to have sheets like this printed so we assume that Amiss was a fairly prosperous merchant; he is mentioned in various early directories as a Grocer, Draper & Tailor.

In 1841 he was working as a tailor in Norwich Road with two young apprentices. Ten years later he is named as a Master Tailor, Grocer & Draper employing a Journeyman Tailor with two apprentices and by 1861 his shop was in the Market Place.

He had at least four children: two boys, Alfred and Elijah, who died in their youth, and two daughters, Louise and Pamela. Louise married Samuel Sewell Eglington. Pamela, the youngest daughter, married Edward Page, a carpenter and coal merchant. By 1871 the Pages were running the Crown Inn and Pamela continued to run the Crown after Edward’s death in 1911.

Janet Archer

  • The Reepham Archive is open to the public on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham. Email

 

Post date: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 23:13

This photograph shows a wonderful example of an early motorbike with a basket-chair sidecar being driven by Frederic Gibbs with his younger cousin Edward Gibbs.

It was probably taken in 1912 or 1913. The first wicker sidecars were patented in 1903 and could be attached to any motorcycle in less than two minutes. The total cost for a Trafalgar motor cycle plus “side carriage” was about £50.

Ann Dickinson (nee Gibbs), who grew up in Reepham, sent the photograph to the Eastern Daily Press in 1993 and it was published as part of the Down Memory Lane series.

Ann was the daughter of Frederic J. Gibbs, who was living with his uncle Edward Gibbs, the ironmonger, in 1911.

The following note written by Ann for the newspaper gives some colourful details of her father’s life.

“Fred had been invalided out of the East India Extension Telegraph Company, for which he had been cable-laying, and came to Reepham in 1904. The Reepham Gibbs were his only relatives, his father having been murdered at sea by Chinese pirates and his mother having died. After recovering from TB he took up photography, taught himself clock-making, made a car from bits and pieces and made wirelesses.”

Note : Frederic gave his birthplace as “The Straits Settlement, Singapore” in the 1911 census, and in 1898 there is a record of an F J Gibbs, Joiner, age 16, as part of the crew of the cable ship Sherard Osborn, arriving in Sydney from Singapore.

Janet Archer

  • The Reepham Archive is open to the public on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham. Email: reephamarchive@gmail.com

 

Post date: Monday, May 22, 2017 - 18:59

Before the days of refrigeration all kinds of foods were preserved by many different methods. For example, hard-boiled eggs could be pickled in vinegar and fresh eggs could last for up to six months if immersed in a “water-glass” solution (sometimes confused with isinglass, which is made from fish swim bladders).

The water glass (sodium silicate in solution) blocks and seals the pores of the egg, which prevents bacteria from entering and moisture from leaving, so the eggs would last through the winter when the hens were not laying so many.

The following is an edited extract from Reepham Petty Sessions, January 1926 (usually held at the King’s Arms).

Mary Lovick was summoned on the information of Arthur Charles Spinks of Scarning (an egg collector for Messrs Sainsbury), for selling eggs not of the quality demanded by the purchaser.

Spinks had bought some hen and duck eggs from Mrs Moy, remarking that some looked like water glass eggs. Mrs Moy replied that they came from Mrs Lovick and should be all right.

(Spinks had been an egg collector, mainly for Sainsbury, for three years, sometimes taking as many as 5,000 from Reepham Market. If any were not new-laid he would have to bear the loss.)

Percival John Hilton, grocer of Reepham, said Spinks brought a box of eggs to his shop on November 25. On December 9 an inspector to Messrs Sainsbury applied the candle test to 22 duck eggs and 18 hen eggs and found that 13 of the hen eggs were preserved. The box was sealed and the eggs taken away to the County Analyst.

When informed of Spinks’ complaint Mrs Lovick said: “I know I sent about nine preserved eggs to make up two score. I didn’t think there was anything wrong in that.”

Mary Lovick was fined £5 and £3 18s costs.

Janet Archer

Hiltons’ Stores in Reepham Market Place (now the police station)

  • The Reepham Archive is open to the public on the first Wednesday and Saturday of the month from 10 am – 12 noon (or by appointment), upstairs in the Bircham Centre, Market Place, Reepham. Email