Although the building had been in existence for some time before, the earliest recorded sale of the building in part was in 1844. Peter Peck, its Fruiterer owner sold to another Fruiterer Richard Caney.
The earliest references to its current use as we know it date from 1867 when the deeds refer to “all that freehold messuage or tenement formally a Fruiterers but then converted into and used as a Beerhouse”.
John Stebbing and his family were already trading as Fruiterers within the Traverse when they took over the Nutshell in 1873 and their family continued to trade from there until 1893.
It was during these formative years that the Nutshell's character was formed and lasts to this day. This could largely be due to the varied business interests and personal history of the Stebbing family which included a Pawnbrokers, musical talent and overseas Military Service.
Originally billed as a Museum of Art and Curiosities they offered visitors a wide variety of attractions including ancient musical instruments, relics from the past wars and works of art in ivory and cardboard.
Additionally they offered a collection of cork models including local buildings such as the Norman Tower and Abbey Gate as well as Nelson's Monument and Windsor Castle.
Shortly after their tenancy began on 20th October 1874 the building was sold by Bridget Caney to FW King indicating that the Nutshell became part of King's Brewery before the merger of neighbouring Greene and King Breweries in 1887.