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Brook House and Brookside Hockliffe

Brook House and Brookside February 2013
Brook House and Brook Side February 2013

Brook House and Brook Side are situated on the west side of Watling Street opposite the Old Telephone Exchange and to the north of Augustus Road; Brook House is the more southerly of the two properties. They were jointly listed by the former Department of the Environment in 1980 as Grade II, of special interest. According to the listing text this pair of two storey seventeenth century cottages have a colourwashed brick ground floor, pebbledash first floor, a clay tile roof and three casements.

On 16th October 1917 the cottages were sold at auction together with an adjoining paddock of 2 roods and 32 perches as part of the Hockliffe Grange estate. Both were described as constructed of brick and plaster and with tiled roofs. The first cottage (presumably Brook House) consisted of a parlour, a living room, and a third room on the ground floor, with two large bedrooms and a box room on the first floor; this was occupied by Thomas Kirby at a rent of £5.5s per annum. The second, smaller cottage was let to Samuel Turney at the same rent, and included a living room and kitchen, with two bedrooms above, and a good garden.

The two cottages were sold in 1919 as Lot 2 of an auction of properties relating to Field Farm, Eggington. At this time the property was described as "a double-fronted brick and slated dwelling house, in two tenancies, situate in the Main Road, Hockliffe. The property has a Garden in front enclosed by dwarf wall and iron palisading. One of the Tenants is Mr. David Norman who pays £8 a year rent. The portion of the house occupied by him contains: Entrance Passage, Front Sitting Room, Back Sitting Room, Kitchen with copper, sink and pump, and 3 Bedrooms; There is a Barn, Earth Closet, and good garden in the rear. The tenant of the other portion is Mr. David Norman, Junior, at a rental of £9 a year, and the accommodation comprises: Sitting Room; Living Room; Scullery with copper; and 2 Bedrooms. There is a Garden in the rear and an Earth Closet".

Under the terms of the Rating and Valuation Act 1925 every piece of land and building in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid on them. When Hockliffe was assessed in 1926 Brook House and Brook Side were now owned by David Norman, who had presumably bought the properties when they were sold in 1919 – there is nothing to indicate whether this was David Norman senior or junior. He himself was the occupier of Brook Side, while Brook House was occupied by D. J. Norman. The properties stood below the level of the road. Brook House had a parlour and kitchen downstairs with two bedrooms above, with a small weatherboard and corrugated iron barn. As family members the tenants paid rent only when they felt like it. Brook Side had a living room, kitchen and small larder, with two bedrooms above and a neglected corrugated iron shed. Other than this both properties were in good order as the owner was a builder.