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8 to 12 Northill Road Cople

8 to 12 Northill Road July 2010
8 to 12 Northill Road July 2010

8 to 12 Northill Road is a picturesque block of three 19th century dwellings in the middle of the village. The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Like most of the county Cople was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting 8 to 12 Northill Road [DV1/C49/137-139] found that the block was owned by the Trustees of the Shuttleworth Estate of Old Warden. Today’s Number 12 was then numbered 94 The Village and was occupied by Mrs. Fitch who paid rent of £9 per annum for a kitchen and living room with three bedrooms above. Outside stood a stable, a cart hovel, two piggeries and a barn as well as a bakehouse measuring 11 feet by 14 feet with a six bushel oven. A small bedroom extended over part of the oven. The valuer commented: “Too big”.

Arthur Fitch was listed as baker in Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire of 1928, as he was in 1931 and 1936. In 1940 Arthur S. Fitch was listed as baker and clerk to the parish council. By 1927 the Fitch family were already well established as bakers in Cople. Directories for 1914, 1920 and 1924 list Ernest Fitch as baker and in 1910 he was listed as baker and postmaster, though by 1914 the latter office was held by William Baldwin. In 1906 Ernest was listed as baker and Elizabeth Fitch as postmistress. The property is shown as a post office on the second edition 25 inches to the mile Ordnance Survey map of 1901. Elizabeth was listed as baker in directories from 1864! In 1862 Isaac Fitch was baker and may well have been the first of the clan to hold the position as in 1854 James Perkins was listed as baker and no Fitch is listed in the directory.

Number 10 Northill Road, then numbered 95 The Village, was occupied by W. Harwell at a rent of £2/16/4 per annum. He simply had a living room and kitchen downstairs with two bedrooms above. The northern-most house, then 96 The Village, today 8 Northill Road, was occupied by G. Smith at a rent of £3/8/- per annum. Accommodation comprised a living room and kitchen downstairs with three bedrooms above.