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The shop was first established in the19th century, possibly as early as the 1850s, by Robert Allen and his wife Jane, and appears in the 1861 census.  These early census records did not have accurate addresses, but Robert and Jane Allen appear as grocers in a building near the Kings Head.  The building at that time would have consisted of a small shop at the right hand end (as you face it from the road), with a cottage between the shop and the King's Head. The land behind the shop, between the shop and the river, had commercial maltings with access for loading wherries on the river, and a yard with a number of small cottages, long since gone.  The whole area around what is now the common, but at that time was a busy staithe, must must have been a thriving commercial area - effectively a port for the transfer of goods to and from North Norfolk to the river for transport to Great Yarmouth and the sea.

Jane Allen died in the 1890s and Robert remarried to Emma Huddy Hart.  After Robert died in 1906, Emma took over and continued to run it until she died in 1935. The property was then acquired by Cyril James Morse, of the nearby Limes house for the sum of £575 and the shop was run by his wife Mabel Morse. Mabel's daughter Margaret (Riley) was born on the premises and lived in a cottage nearby until her death in 2017.

In 1974 the property and business were purchased by John and Barbara Wharton, passing to Wyndham and Sandy Rose in 1986, who sold it to Steve and Liz Haines, the present owners in 2002.

It's not clear exactly when the Post Office moved to this location - possibly in the seventies, although it could have been earlier.  Originally a small cubicle in one corner of the shop, the Roses enlarged the shop and moved the Post Office to a two position fortress counter in the converted middle cottage, backing onto the Kings Head.  The Royal Mail sorting office for the village, which had been run out of the old cottage, was moved into an outbuilding at the back of the shop.  In 2015, with changes to the structure of the Post Office, the PO was moved to an open plan counter alongside the main shop counter, and the fortress removed.

The newsagents business, formerly run by Mr. Francis from the shop next door (number 18, now a hairdressers) was merged into the business in the 1990s.  

So remarkably, this business has been run by just six different owners since around 1850!

  • c1850-1906 Robert and Jane Allen
  • 1906-1935 Emma Huddy Allen
  • 1935-1974 Mabel Morse
  • 1974-1986 John and Barbara Wharton
  • 1986-2002 Wyndham and Sandy Rose
  • 2002 to present day Steve and Liz Haines

If you know anything more about the history of the shop and the building, or even better, have any old photographs, please let us know - we'd love to hear from you.