The Wheatsheaf Inn at 24 Fore Street in the 1890s with comparison photograph in 2015 by Tim Leggett. Horse-drawn traffic dominates the late Victorian scene and it is before street-widening to accomodate the new tramway. The Wheatsheaf Inn has been described as the plain sibling of The Ancient House in Butter Market. In the period scene, the entrance south of it has a sign indicating that it is the Tollemache Bottling Plant which stood between Fore Street and Lower Orwell Street. to the nort was Sneezum's Jewellery, Clothier and Pawnbroker. Sneezums had a shop on the other side of the road, too, signed: 'Cycle Agents'.
Ted King decribes this row of buildings in detail in the oral history donated to this project:
"Next to that was a public house called the Wheatsheaf. You went up two steps into that and there was a sort of foyer at the top of the steps. That was all timbered with chevron brickwork in panels. Then you turned, looked right and there was a big door there. When we passed that door - we never went in - but it was the bar. It was the Wheatsheaf public house. Then we come outside, down the steps into the street and there were windows about five foot from the height of the path; mullioned windows with all diamonds of glass. And all surrounded by a timber frame. Mind you, the woodwork was old and that was split and ridged, but it wasn't rotten. Then above that was another large window - mullioned windows you'd call them with diamond windows also, and the heavy timber - there was a beam with carving just above this window which ran the length of the public house. The wall above that carved timber went up to a point and that, if I remember rightly, was a plaster facing with pargetting on it: that's the different shapes and patterns. And they had some sort of medallion standing out in the centre of it.
Going further from that you came down to another house which had six large mullioned windows in it, which had diamonds also with a heavy door in the middle. So there was three one side and three the other. It was timber-framed at the front and it had an overhang also. But the overhang had a rounded shape of the front and that also had carving in it. I can't remember what was carved on it; I think they were birds and elongated crocodiles, sort of things. Well, above that rounded section was more plasterwork and four windows up there. First there was white plaster, then there was the window, then there was a gap and there was pargetting there with simple designs on. Then there was another window with more designs, another window and more designs, another window and clear space. Above that, of course, was another horizontal beam, carved - I couldn't see what it represented - but above that there were three tapers going up to the peak of the roof. And that was finished off with this light plasterwork. That now is occupied, that was a large house - my mother and father had the choice of that, but my mother didn't like it the diamond windows. But she regretted that afterwards… but never mind. That's now commercial offices.
Next to that, the road recessed. Well, there was a shop there - it was shop once. It had a big glass front, a steel-barred gate and a door. That window was painted over with a brown paint with a gap of about a foot of plain glass. That belonged to Tollemache's bottling stores. The women, and there were many, who worked in that bottling stores: that was their restroom and the room where they had their meals. There were no canteens in those days, so they had a gas ring and a kettle, table - or bench, I should say - and forms and they ate their packed meals there. That had a back entrance into the bottling stores. It wasn't a stores actually, it was a huge place where machines were and bottled the beers and whatever. But that was called a stores. So, they went right to their work.
Coming out of there, next door, was another antique shop, but he specialised in wonderful, old, carved tables, chairs, whatnots, sideboards and things like that. He did a good business there and he stayed there for as long as I can remember.
Next to that was Mr English the baker. He didn't specialise in cakes, as Mr Welsh did down the road. He made all different types of bread: cottage loaves, rolls, twists, tin loaves, Devonshire loaves. But he also made milk rolls; they were nice. He used to make loaves of bread which were all plaited. He did make doughnuts and bakewell tarts and he made some cakes that I can't remember: they were square, they were golden brown and there was a different sort of cake inside them, sandwiched, with plums and currants.
We leave him and we start on Sneezums. That occupied about 100 feet of Fore Street. After leaving Mr English's baker's shop, they had a shop that specialised in new clothing: overcoats, suits, waistcoats, breeches, things like that. He was also a pawnbroker. In the same shop, but separate, was the unpledged clothing that had never been claimed. Obviously they'd been worn and obviously they were cheaper. So you took your pick and paid the price."
See also Fore Street maps showing Listed buildings and Public houses.