|Like most of Rushden, the land was formerly farm land. This area was owned by George Denton, of Denton shoe manufacturers, and he sold it in the late 1880s.
Extract from Memories of 1890s by JEM:
Approaching Rushden from Higham Ferrers, 50 years ago, one passed a few cottages, known as "The Rookery," before coming to Mason's Farm, which was situated where the Victoria Hotel now stands. Then there was Denton's Farm, the original farmhouse having stood until recently. Laughton's Farm was where Queen-street now runs, and finally there was Smith's Farm standing where Griffith-street now is.
The plot was purchased by Wallis Wilkerson, possibly the first chemist or druggist to trade here. He built the row of five shops with living accommodation above, and he moved into No. 118a, the corner property, in 1888. [Note: the entrance was in Victoria Road, so perhaps originally this was part of Victoria Road and High Street not yet developed.]
Within a year the row was badly damaged in a fire, (which had started at 110 High Street, although un-numbered at that time). The buildings must have been repaired quite soon after as W J Sedgman, tailor was trading there and is mentioned in 1891 Industries of Rushden. [gives the name of the row]
Wellingborough News, 26th September 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins
I wish to offer my sincere thanks to all those who so kindly rendered help at the late fire on my premises, and to all those friends who have so generously expressed their sympathy, I beg to acknowledge their kindness.
(Signed) Wallis Wilkerson
Maurice J Seymour
Late Waterloo House, Rushden,
Returns his sincere thanks to the Inhabitants of Rushden for the kindness shown to him in connection with the late fire, and announces that he has obtained Temporary Business Premises at Mrs Clayton’s, Church-street, where all orders will be promptly attended to.
G Jordan offers his sincere thanks to all those persons who so kindly rendered assistance at the late disastrous fire which occurred on his and the adjoining premises at Rushden, on the morning of the 22nd inst.
September 25th 1890.
Rushden Fire Brigade
The Pumpers (with badges) who rendered assistance at the late fire will be paid at the Vestry Hall, on Monday evening, from 7 to 7.30.
F Knight, Captain.
A court case 1892 was in dispute with Harry Knight who had drawn the plans for the rebuilding.
Occupiers of the shops traced are :