John Brightwell
Mr John Rumbelow Brightwell was a gentleman of Victorian respectability, he was always dressed in a top hat, in business and public work, he would become mayor of Southend twice, first in 1894 and again in 1905. Brightwell owned his own drapery shop next to the Royal Hotel at the top of Pier Hill. John originally from Mildenhall, Suffolk married Eliza Maria Pettit in Ely, Cambridgeshire in 1873, they had five daughters. Eliza died in 1924 in Southend. There is a plaque and a window dedicated to John Rumbelow Brightwell and his wife Eliza Maria in St John the Baptist church by their five daughters dated MCMXXVII (1927). The store would trade for about a century under the Brightwells name until the 1970s when it closed, the building was then taken over by Pricketts Ltd and renamed Ketts. Since Ketts closed the building has seen various businesses come and go, later the top floors were converted into flats and called the Drapery Flats, the ground floor is still used for shops today.
Southend-on-Sea
c1905 Advert for Brightwell’s Store
Business Card from Ketts
Rear of Business Card with stamped address

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