|MANCHESTER HOUSE by AJO
(No. 2. High Street)
What is the connection between Manchester House and the
1926 England-Australia Air Race?
A Manchester Warehouse was the old name for an establishment dealing in textiles - in other words a draper's shop.
On a billhead dated 1851, one Jno. Harrison of Manchester House advertised himself as:-
"Grocer, Linen and Woollen Draper, Silk Mercer, Haberdasher and Hosier, Glass, Earthenware and ironmongery, Irish Linens, Ribbons and Fancy Goods, Funerals Furnished and Family Mourning, Hats and Caps, Ladies' Boots and Shoes, Stationery. Agent for the Royal Exchange Life and Fire Insurance Office."
I have often wondered what he did in his spare time!
During the 1960's, Mr. Geoffrey Broadwater, the present owner, found a sovereign dated 1824 in mint condition, lying on top of a beam immediately beneath his upstairs toilet. In 1969, when he had some alterations made to the property, he told me that he had a pane of glass from an old window bearing the inscription Darling Kate, J. Turnell."
I was able to tell him that for a short time around 1883 one Jabez Turnell was the proprietor of his shop. By 1892 the shop had been taken over by Henry Scarfe. On 4th December, 1893 Fred Sier issued a printed letter reading:-
" Dear Madam, Having taken over the business lately carried on by Mr. H. Scarfe, I hope, by strict personal attention and offering best goods at lowest possible prices for READY MONEY, to merit a continuance of those favours so liberally bestowed upon my predecessor.
I am, Madam, Your Obedient Servant,
Mrs. E. M. Hall took the business over from Mr. Sier on or about 1st January, 1914, but after a year she had to sell the business for private reasons. Mr. John Broadwater who first came to Feltwell in October, 1903 and worked for Mr. Sier, purchased the business on 2nd March, 1915. When he retired in June, 1954, his son, Geoffrey took over the business.
There is a fine old cellar beneath the shop and there has always been a legend that a tunnel ran from the cellar to St. Mary's Church. When the mains sewers were laid in the 1960's, the top of such a tunnel was found beneath the street a few feet from the shop door but running parallel to the shop front. An ornamental bracket made to hold an oil-lamp can still be seen over the shop front.
ARTHUR B. ELLIOTT
Arthur B. Elliott came to Feltwell about 1912/13 to live with his uncle, Mr. Lynes, who was employed on Feltwell Lodge Estate and lived in the gatehouse to that Lodge. He attended Feltwell School for a short time and, on leaving, spent a few months as errand boy to Mr. Sier of Manchester House. He was an intelligent lad and eventually joined the RAF and then became Sir Alan Cobham's crack engineer. He was killed by a stray bullet (in the Middle East) while flying with Cobham in the England-Australia Air Race of 1926. Mr. John Hutchinson, now of 16, Lodge Road, Feltwell, while serving with No. 84 Squadron near Basra, helped Elliott to change a propeller on Cobham's plane shortly before the Air Race, when Cobham flew over the proposed route.
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