High St / Alfred St

Follow this link for pdf file of High St maps

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. There is anecdotal evidence that  a fair was held on the field seen on the left below, which became the corner block of Cross St.

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.

General views:

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

Moving south towards Cross St:

Central Radio Service c. 1960’s before it expanded towards the corner.

Photo courtesy of Ann Popham.


Above: now BoS cafe

Above: now Chandni Indian Restaurant


Advert above from Burnham  Golf Handbook, probably 1910’s.

Below, across the road, Ernest Brewer’s at No 63 (this was established  later than Emily Brewer’s similar business at No 35 Victoria St)

Moving south to north between Adam St & Cross St:

Came’s Fruiterers now the St Margaret’s Hospice Shop

Hutchin’s interior, courtesy of Bob & June Thomas

Above now Bastins (Adverts from Mate’s Guide 1903 & Burnham Guide 1940). Later the business also became an optician’s and radio supplier.

Below: antique pot lid (courtesy of Barry Popham). Kelly’s Trade Directories for 1894-7 show that Arthur Pumphrey’s pharmacy immediately preceded  Hutchin’s . The premises later became the first home to Boot’s.

Next to Hutchin’s was Skuse’s stationery and lending library.


(Advert from Burnham on Golf Handbook, probably 1910’s.)

Scan courtesy of Bob & June Thomas. Many local shopkeepers put flyers such as this through letterboxes.

Bevan’s and Tofield’s premises were later absorbed into  Brown Brother’s stores and the site is now occupied by a 1960’s building, currently Peacock’s (previously Lipton’s  / Presto) . The van driver in the picture below was Charlie Butt.

Between Adam St & Cross St c 1980:

Postcard courtesy of Ann Popham.
Image , 1984, courtesy of Roy Broome.

Sequence of photos below show the development of the premises on the south east corner with Cross St. (Photos courtesy of Bob & June Thomas).

Mrs Ellen Thomas, Mother of Fred ran the Burnham Coco and Coffee Tavern. By the 1890’s two of her sons were running a plumbers business here until they went their separate ways, one to No.55 ( see photo below)
Thomas Brothers Plumbers advertising flyer.
John Tyler then ran an a ironmongery business here in conjunction with his Highbridge business. He was succeeded by Henry Haines. Unless this is now filled in this was one of only a few properties to have a cellar.
Tyler’s bill head.
In more recent times Johnson’s Dry Cleaners.
Thomas’s plumbers & decorators on the opposite corner of Cross St, before WWI, at No. 55 High St. Photo courtesy of Bob & June Thomas.

Cross St to Adam St, west side:

Above: now Patty & Frank Restaurant


Above: now Costa Coffee.

Adam St to South St:

Above & below: recently ‘New Look’ Fashions.

(Adverts above from Mate’s Guide 1903 & 1940’s Burnham Guide)

Above: Fed Thomas and his wife outside the shop.

Three pictures of Thomas’s above (all courtesy of Bob & June Thomas), showing the updating of the shop and the hairdressing salon at the rear. Note Central Electric Co next door which was owned by one of the Thomas’s sons.

See here for recollections of a Thomas’s employee.

We do not have any information about the origin of the public clock, perhaps readers can help us (comment below). In the picture below Herbert Dyer is seen with the plaque which was put up to commemorate the restoration of the clock in celebration of the 40th year of  the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, 1992.

Photo courtesy of Ann Popham.

Isabella Beavan’s sweet shop occupied part of what became Hurley’s newsagents.


South St to Pier St:

During the latter half of the 19th century some of 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.

The theatre building was later taken over by Woolworths

Photo courtesy of Robert Thomas (From The Book of Burnham on Sea).

Just south of the theatre Pearce’s sweets and tobacco shop (below) took on  the first shop premises to open in a short terrace of private houses which later all became shops.

Photo courtesy of Bob & June Thomas.

Later during the 1950’s and early 60’s Durrant’s butchers occupied this same spot (No 4). Here they are with prize winning livestock.

Photo courtesy of Ann Popham.


Photo courtesy of Ann Popham, probably 1930’s.

On the south west corner the old college building was converted into Thomas’s Temperance Hotel before becoming Russell’s Belmont Hotel and Restaurant.

College St to Regent St:

Back at the north end, 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 northward extension of Alfred St. At the same time ‘The Lifeboat‘ Temperance Hotel was built. (The whole street was  renamed to High St. in around  1911)

Below is a photo from 1980 showing the wishing well on the north west corner of College St with High St, since removed. if anyone knows when this was installed and removed, or anything else about it, please comment at bottom of page.

Photo from Somerset & West Monthly, Aug 1980.

Hausers Hardware store was one of the well known businesses that opened up in the 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

Victoria St.

Acland’s was originally at No 81 (now Thomas’s Key Cutters) in the early 1930’s before moving to College St. Thanks to Ann Popham for photograph.

The Blue Bird Tea Rooms occupied the High St portion of what was once Tucker’s Stores on the corner with Regent St (later International).

Photo courtesy of Bob & June Thomas.
Advert from the Burnham on Sea and Highbridge Amateur Operatic Society programme 1956.

 An article about a Rail excursion to Burnham, in the Western Gazette of 28th August 1931, says:

 ‘I lunched late at the “Blue Bird.” I mention this fact not because  suppose that my gastronomic cravings can in the smallest degree interest the reader, but because he ought to know that the “Blue Bird” exists. It is a delightful cafe, and one is served well. Besides the name is charming and appropriate. If Maeterlinck’s blue bird*can flourish anywhere, surely it can at Burnham.’      

(*The magical ‘Blue Bird of Happiness’  from a play by Maurice Maeterlinck)

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.

Below: Hurley’s Invoice c. 1950




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.”

The Tea-Garden premises in Technical St.

Other related links:

Electric Theatre

Burnham College


(Information courtesy of  Winston and Robert Thomas: ‘The Book of Burnham on Sea’)

11 thoughts on “High St / Alfred St”

  1. Hello I have an old family photo of the Royal Pharmacy owned by Woodman m.p.s. in burnham on sea and it looks to be in the 1800’s. I can find nothing online. Can you kindly help?

    1. Hi Sue,
      Thanks for your comment. The only record we have of Woodman’s pharmacy is from trade directories which place it at No 1 Regent St ( on a corner site just off the Esplanade) between 1914 and 1950. Our records of commercial occupancy are quite patchy though, and we have very little information from before the late 19th century, so it is quite possible the business occupied other premises in the town before this. We also have records showing Woodman’s footwear in Victoria St from 1836 well into the 20th century (see our Victoria St page) and Woodman’s Bakery, also in Regent St in 1910 (see out Regent St page for advert). Possibly the same family? If you are willing to share your photograph with us and can send it in electronic form please let us know in the comments and I will contact you by email to make arrangements.

    1. Hello Norman and thank you for your posting. Please share with us if you have any interesting facts of you time at this butchers.
      Thanks again as it’s comments like your that prompts other postings.

  2. Looking for info about the commercial cafe which was in the high Street. It was owned by a Mr and Mrs Wills . Not sure of the date

    1. Hi Linda,
      There is a record of Wills’ ‘Coronation Cafe’ and Cooked Meats Purveyor at No 40 High St (now Sue Ryder) in the Burnham Town Guide of 1940 and Patey’s Almanac of 1949. The only record we have of a ‘Commercial’ was the ‘Commercial Hotel’ at No 46 (now Berryman’s). Click on the ‘map’ link at the top of the High St page to see more about the occupancy of premises. Hope this helps. Other readers may know more. Please let us know if you find out any more details.

  3. I have researched Hauser’s family tree. It all starts with Francis Louis Hauser, born in Switzerland in 1819. He married Agnes Harvey from Bovey Tracy, Devon in 1851. They moved to Ireland and had three children. Returning to England, Louis Sidney was born in Weston in 1865, now one of eight children. Francis ran the Plough Hotel 53 High Street Weston, (now Café Nero). Louis married Annie Bucklee in 1890. They lived at “The Limes” in the Berrow Road. Their son Albert Edward (Bert) born 1908 later ran the shop as we remember it. My uncle (Bill Chappell) worked for Bert when they ceased trading and was a great friend of Bert and his wife Doreen. I did the research on his behalf. I think Hauser may have originally been Hanser and has been altered when they came to England? Hauser is German for House.

    1. Thanks for your information Des, it is very interesting. This is exactly the sort of additional detail that we hope to draw from readers. I have put a note in the text referring people to your comment.

  4. As one the few remaining Hausers (my great grand father established the golden key) it brings me tremendous joy to see this information preserved for future generations. As well as knowing we had such a place in Burnhams history.

    1. Thank you for your comment Luke. It is good to hear that our site has brought pleasure and that our efforts are appreciated.
      If you have any other information or pictures which you could share please let us know.

      1. I have now properly formatted the Hauser receipt and added a magnifier tool so that it can be more easily read.

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