This ornate Italianate style building was put up by John Tonkin around 1830. A native of Cornwall, he settled in Wedmore and prospered. He started a brick and tile works, and eventually built his house and shop using his own bricks and tiles. The tiles were of a special 'fish tail' design produced exclusively for this building. In its heyday the shop became the largest fashion emporium in rural Somerset. He lived with his wife Elizabeth in the adjoining house with their household staff. Mrs Tonkin used to travel to London to acquire the latest fashions and materials, a demanding journey in the mid 1800s.