Follow this link for pdf file of High St maps
Construction of Alfred Street, projecting southward parallel to the sea front, was begun at around the same time as the cutting of College St. By the mid 1850’s construction had reached what became Cross St., with Lott’s Commercial Hotel (below, now Berryman’s Estate Agent) being completed in 1853.
By 1879 Alfred St. had been completed as far as South Terrace and South St. Many of the buildings were originally houses but were later changed to shops. The picture at the top of the page shows the view northward from near the Adam St. junction, probably early 20th century.
Above: Looking north from Adam St, 1950’s.
Below: looking north from Cottage Row, 1950’s.
Below: looking north from Abingdon St, 1920’s.
Next a number of adverts and photos of businesses in the street from the first half of the 20th century:
Above, corner of College St & High St, early 20th century
Above: now BoS cafe
Above: now Chandni Indian Restaurant
Advert above from Burnham on Golf Handbook, probably 1910’s.
Above: now Bastins
(Adverts from Mate’s Guide 1903 & Burnham Guide 1940)
(Advert from Burnham on Golf Handbook, probably 1910’s.)
Shops in the three pictures above now Peacock’s
Above: now the St Margaret’s Hospice Shop
Above: now Patty & Frank Restaurant
Above: recently ‘New Look’ Fashions
(Adverts from Mate’s Guide 1903 & 1940’s Burnham Guide)
Above: now Costa Coffee
During the latter half of the 19th century the land extending southwards from South Terrace to the railway station and eastwards to Oxford St. was laid out as pleasure gardens, including a maze, but these became smaller over time as Technical St., Jubilee St. and Hudson St. were built on them. Eventually all that was left became a Tea Garden (see below: advert from Burnham Guide of the 140’s).
The Southward extension of Alfred Street. was essentially finished by the completion of Alexandra Villas, between South Terrace and the Station in 1885. The Electric Theatre was built on ground known as ‘Sunnylawns’ on the opposite side in 1912.
It was not until 1895 that the narrow passage cutting past the side of the Mason’s Arms from College St to Regent St. was widened to become a proper extension of Alfred St, when ‘The Lifeboat’ Temperance Hotel was built. (The whole street was renamed to High St. in around 1911)
Hausers Hardware store was one of the well known businesses that opened up in final northern section of the street, with a sign of a large golden key suspended outside. The building remains, as does the name on the entrance tiling. Later Hausers expanded into ‘The Arcade’ opposite, which was built behind The Lifeboat Restaurant in 1906 and went through to Victoria St. See comments section below for information from Des Parsons about the Hauser family history (5/1/2020).
Advertisements from Mate’s Guide 1903
At some point in the early 20th century the street was renamed High Street (possibly 1911 but accounts vary as it was under consideration for some time).
2019 sees the 100th anniversary of G.W. Hurley, probably the oldest retail business now functioning in Burnham. The original business was opened on the High St. as a bric-a-brac shop in 1919 by Florence Gilbert Wesley Hurley. She was asked if she would sell newspapers and agreed to take it on.
Mr Colin Morris, Mrs Hurley’s grandson, took on the business 53 years ago in the premises over which he was born. He expanded the shop space rearward and took on a broader newspaper distribution area, to include the surrounding countryside. Eventually this was merged with Weston and taken up by W.H. Smith.
Mr Morris explains that this shrinking of the newspaper part of the business was one reason for the expansion into wider retail and the purchase of the larger premises on the eastern side of the street where generations of parents have now bought their children’s toys. Salway’s hardware shop in Regent St. was also acquired and continued to run as a traditional hardware shop until 2018.
Unfortunately old photographs and records of the business were all lost in the fire at Pople’s warehouse, behind the High St, in the 1980’s.
The photo below, probably taken in the early 1960’s, before the acquisition of the new premises (the original book department can be seen through the left hand window), was kindly supplied by Mr Morris.
MARCHENT’S TEA GARDEN
In the mercury and Gazette of 2nd July 1986 Eleanor Marchent (then 82) recollected that her parents expanded her grandfather’s bakery business on the High St into the Tea Garden in Technical St in the early 1900’s. She recalled the business being popular with Sunday school and other outings from the area . “In those days they used to arrive in farm carts or open wagons and the horses, which were all decked out in their finery, were kept in our stables while the children played on the beach….For those parties we did a plain tea for adults at ten pence and children at eightpence. For that they had tea, bread and butter and two cakes but no jam……I remember that early on my brother Hubert used to go round the town with one of those covered hand carts selling cakes at seven for sixpence or four for threepence-halfpenny, and a loaf of bread for fivepence.”
Other related links:
(Information courtesy of Winston and Robert Thomas: ‘The Book of Burnham on Sea’)