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Fir Tree Cottage Aspley Heath

Fir Tree Cottage January 2008
Fir Tree Cottage January 2008

Fir Tree Cottage, or 4 Woburn Road, is a large 19th century house which looks rather larger than a cottage. It stands well back from the road in something of a hollow. In 1927 this part of Bedfordshire was valued under the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and property was inspected to determine the rates to be paid on it. At that date Fir Tree Cottage was actually Fir Tree Cottages as it was divided into two; it was owned by London and Devon Estates - in other words by the Duke of Bedford. Henry Ireland occupied the northern part of the property and Alfred Henman the southern.

Fir Tree Cottage 1979
Fir Tree Cottage in 1979 [Z50/3b/3]

The valuer noted that Henry Ireland occupied a living room, two bedrooms and a box room whereas Alfred Henman occupied a living room, scullery, cellar and two bedrooms. each tenant had a wash house and earth closet by the side of their half of the structure - Ireland's can be seen in the photograph above. The property stood in just over an acre divided 6:4 between Ireland and Henman.

Rear of Fir Tree Cottage 1979
Rear of Fir Tree Cottage in 1979 [Z50/3b/1]

The valuer was quite impressed with the cottages. He commented in his valuation notes: "Beautiful. Stands below road level. Front door set back behind opening forming porch". In 1979 the former Department of Environment gave the building Grade II Listed status, meaning that it was of particular interest. They then described it as dating from about 1830, the architect being Edward Blore and describing the property as a "Jacobeathan Bedford Estate House" of one and a half storeys, built of red brick with rendered quoins.