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34 High Street Eaton Bray

34 High Street July 2012
34 High Street July 2012

34 High Street seems an unremarkable terraced house but was once a shop. 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.

Eaton Bray, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting 34 High Street [DV1/C235/86] found it owned and occupied by James Gadsden.

The property comprised a living room, a kitchen, a shop measuring 12 feet square, and a “small room”; three bedrooms lay upstairs. A brick and tiled washhouse, three barns and a brick and corrugated iron W. C. stood outside. The valuer commented: “Small general shop”.

Directories for the county were not published every year, but every few years. James Gadsden is first recorded as a shopkeeper in Kelly’s Directory for 1920 and is listed in 1924, 1928, 1931, 1936 and the last directory for Bedfordshire, 1940. Sadly precise addresses in rural parishes are not given in directories but Thomas Gadsden was listed as a shopkeeper in the High Street in directories of 1885, 1890, 1894, 1898, 1903, 1906, 1910 and 1914. Given that he had the same surname he, too, may have had his shop at 34 High Street.