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2 to 8 Tempsford Road Blunham

2 to 8 Tempsford Road October 2009
2 to 8 Tempsford Road October 2009

These cottages, with a date of 1844 prominently displayed on the front, stand where the High Street divides into Tempsford Road and Grange Road. Today [2009] Number 2 is called Pound Cottage. The reason for this is revealed in a publication of 1934 by Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, being volume three of a series called Survey of Ancient Buildings. The volume contains a piece by J. Steele Elliott on the pounds of Bedfordshire. Pounds were places where straying animals were impounded and could be redeemed by their owners on paying a fine. At a time when most of the land was divided into a few large fields and individuals owned strips of land in these fields which were not in any way fenced, walled or hedged, straying animals could cause significant damage and were greatly to be discouraged.

Steele Elliott says of the Blunham Pound: "The Pound stands close to the "Pound Pond" at the north end of the village, where the road forks to Tempsford. It measures 21 feet 9 inches square overall, with a 6 feet gateway. It is under the care of the Parish Council, but unfortunately little has been done for its preservation. It was last used fully fifty years ago". A photograph of the pound in the volume shows it close to the end wall of 2 Tempsford Road.

Blunham Pound in 1934
Blunham Pound in 1934

The Rating and Valuation Act of 1925 specified that every piece of land and building in the country should be assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. Blunham was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the premises [DV1/C15/7-10] noted that the block of four cottages was owned by Bedford architects Usher and Anthony (John Usher, the senior partner, had been born in Blunham in 1822). From north-east to south-west the tenants were as follows: G. Bryant, G. Norman, Mrs Williamson  and William Woods. The first three tenants paid £8/16/4 per annum rent ("put up after War") and William Woods paid £9/10/4 ("pay extra rent because was done up when they came in") he also had a wood and tile scullery, erected by the previous tenant, which the others did not. The remaining tenants were all obviously in occupation before the cottages were refurbished.

Each dwelling contained a parlour and kitchen downstairs with two bedrooms above. Outside each stood a barn and earth closet. The valuer commented: "Quite good now. Rent low".