Bury St Edmunds historian Martyn Taylor seeks out clues that point to once thriving cattle market auctioneers Simpson and Sons
And with the passing of the kindly David Simpson, of Horsecroft Hall, the company also ceased in one capacity or another. His obituary announced in the Bury Free Press read: “Simpson DAVID WILLIAM died peacefully at home on 30th March 2013 aged 86 years. Beloved brother of Jill and greatly respected friend of many. Private cremation 18th April 2013 at 1.30pm at West Suffolk Crematorium, Bury St Edmunds. Family flowers only. Donations if desired for 'Woodland Heritage' c/o L. Fulcher Funeral Directors, 80 Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1NX, Executor/Administrator: Ashton KCJ, 81 Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 1PZ.”
Simpsons was a prominent firm of auctioneers from the middle of the 19th century.
On July 25th 1857 a co-partnership was formed with George William Salter and William Thomas Simpson (dissolved January 26th 1912) but continued to advertise as Salter, Simpson & Sons as per a Borough Guide of 1970. Another partnership was made between WTS and a J Bacon in 1862. William Thomas Simpson lived at Old Buckenham, Norfolk, which is close to Attleborough where he had an office.
He has his initials and the date of 1887 on the rear boundary wall of 47 Whiting Street, which also acts as the boundary wall of 56, Westgate Street. However, he did not live here but a relative, George Augustus Simpson did. Why WTS should be here is not known. William Simpson also signed a lease with the borough in 1873 for an office at the Town Hall, today’s Market Cross.
For many years the business was also established at 21 Buttermarket (Starbucks 2017). Other WTS initials were on a boundary wall backing on to 59 St Andrew’s Street South, these initials with the date of 1875 on a plaque were re-located at The arc on to a wall facing the new car park along with J Rolfe, seedsman of St Andrews Street South.
Farmer and auctioneer William Thomas Simpson’s probate will was proven in 1897.
For those wanting to carry out research on Simpson Auctioneers, the Suffolk Records Office in Raingate Street has 11 boxes of Simpson documents and photos under the file name HC593.
-- Martyn Taylor is a local historian, author and Bury Tour Guide. His latest book, Bury St Edmunds Through Time Revisited, is widely available.