BUILDINGS ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE HIGH STREET (PART 2)
Boswell House is closely connected with the adjacent Stafford House (see across), not just because the buildings are joined, but due to their long association with the Pococks family. Indeed, we know that from 1894, the two premises where used as a single property by the family living in Boswell House, with the butcher shop operating out of next door.
The building dates back to the 18th century, and was operating as a butchers from 1801. Owned at that time by Thomas Cruttenden with his son Edmund. In 1813, Edmund was declared bankrupt, and the house and business was purchased by Thomas Thwaites. Thwaites remained as the local butcher until one of his assistants, James Pocock took over the business and the lease sometime before 1851.
As well as the local butcher’s the Pocock family where involved in a more nefarious trade. Alongside the Gilhams and the Goomsbridge Gang, the Pocock family were one of the main smuggling gangs that were operating out of Bexhill during its golden era of black market trade.
The butchers would remain at the property until the end of the 20th Century, when a down turn in trade along the High Street forced its closure.
Stafford House was built at some point in the 18th century. It appears on the 1807 Dorset Estate Survey, and by 1887 it was owned by J E Cook, an agent for Pearl Insurance Co and a Crown Tax Collector for the district. It passed to his wife 1893, and a year later it was bought by the neighbour and local butcher who rented the premises, J L Pocock.
It was from this period at the end of the 19th Century that the building became the shop front for Pocock the butchers, that would remain on the High Street till the end of the 20th Century.
The shop was known to have the words ‘est. 1801’ inscribed on the awning, although this references the establishment of the long standing butchers located next door and originally owned by Thomas Cruttenden before passing to Thomas Thwaite and eventually James Pocock.