44 High Street Eaton Bray
40 to 44 High Street about 1930 [Z50/39/34]
At the beginning of the 20th century five houses in a row in Eaton Bray – 40 to 48 High Street were all businesses. 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 44 High Street [DV1/C235/80] found that it was owned and occupied by Miss Brown. Her accommodation comprised two living rooms used as a shop and measuring, together, 20 feet by 11 feet. There was also a store measuring and 7 feet 6 inches by 9 feet as well as two living rooms, a scullery, a WC and a weather-boarded barn (“bad”). The first floor comprised three bedrooms and a box room. Outside stood “Old blacksmiths shop – disused”. The valuer commented: “Allow for bad, bad back addition”, but also noted: “Double front Good”.
Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year, but every few years. Miss Brown was Priscilla Brown. Although the valuer simply noted “Small General Shop” directories reveal that she was a stationer. She is listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1890, 1894, 1898, 1903, 1906, 1910, 1914, 1920 and 1924. She was obviously on the point of retiring in 1927 because Kelly’s for 1928 lists Miss Clara Brown as stationer, as it does in 1931 though the last two Kelly’s for the county, 1936 and 1940, do not list either a Miss Brown or a stationer.
The disused blacksmith’s shop may have belonged to William Brown. He was listed as blacksmith in directories for 1847, 1853, 1854, 1862, 1864, 1869 and 1871. George Brown was a blacksmith from at least 1898 to at least 1940. His business was at
40 to 44 High Street July 2012