The first Bobby’s in Diss was set up by William Bobby. He was born in Selfhanger in 1787. In 1801 he was apprenticed as a tailor to William James Pack in Mere Street, Diss. He was married in October 1814 to Jane Moses who was born in Diss. By 1822 he had set on his own account as a ‘linen draper’ and in 1830 he had a shop in Crown Street. In 1836 he is described as a Linen and Woollen Draper of Half Moon Street (These streets now make up St Nicholas St) William Bobby was also one of the important nonconformist trades men of Diss who were to play and important part in the towns development.
This was the period in which Diss linen trade was in terminal decline and we think William Bobby gradually moved away from linen into a more general drapery business and by the 1840s he was being described as a ‘draper’ still living in Half Moon Street William and Jane Bobby bore eight children seven of who lived to adult hood and between 1841-and 1851 his second eldest son James Horatio took over the Half Moon Street Shop while William retired to Brewers Green where he died in 1854 described as an owner of land and houses – a more than modestly successful career for the son of a farm worker.
Building link- Rooms with a View- Norfolk House, St Nicholas Street,