14. Norton’s Corn Stores

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As you can see from the ‘ghost sign’ on the end of the building, this building was Norton’s Corn, Hay & Chaff Stores. There are several Norton’s listed as living and trading in the area during the 19th century as shopkeepers, grocers, coal merchants and corn factors. The warehouse would have been supplied from the river. The remains of the wharf arm of the navigable River Nene is still there behind a guillotine-type lock gate.

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By 1899 the premises had become Matthews Van works, which specialised in building and repairing horse drawn vans. The double doors onto the street led into a coach showroom. In the yard were a body shop, wheelwrights and a smith. The site is still in the hands of the Matthews family, but now operates as a blacksmiths and fabricators.

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The Insurance Plan of 1899 shows the layout of Matthews’ Van Works

 

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The smithy and other workshops still in operation behind J.E. Matthews today