Created By: ODHS
Orchard House was converted from two eighteenth century houses in 1904 for Joseph William Mann; the architect was Alexander Ellis Anderson. J W Mann was at that time Olney's largest employer, having moved to Olney from Northamptonshire in 1880, founding a shoe factory there in 1884 with his partner, William Hinde. J W Mann was not only of some standing in the town as a local manufacturer and employer, but also seems to have been a generous local benefactor, as well as being involved in bringing social and economic improvements to the town in the early twentieth century.
It is not clear when J W Mann purchased Nos. 67 and 69 High Street. Early Ordnance Survey maps show that they were two properties in 1882 but were already one by 1900, although very different in plan to the present. It is recorded that Orchard House was the first house in Olney to have electricity, which was powered by a generator housed in a small brick building in the garden.
J W Mann was not only an astute business man but also a meticulous dresser. He was a familiar sight walking down the middle of the High Street from Orchard house to his large factory on the corner of Midland Road dressed in his bowler hat, silver topped cane and grey spats over his Hinde and Mann shoes.
Use the link to read much more about the history of Orchard House - Nos 67 & 69 High street - the families that lived there, and J W Mann's boot and shoe business.
Walk about another 200 metres further up the street to No 15 High Street.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Olney High Street - Heritage Trail