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Bedford Estates Cottages in School Lane Husborne Crawley

54 to 57 School Lane about 1900 [X21/756/12]
54 to 57 School Lane about 1900 [X21/756/12]

Husborne Crawley has fifteen blocks of Bedford Estate cottages, mostly built in the 1850s and 1860s. This is a total of 61 separate homes. They can be found in Crow Lane, Horsepool Lane, Mill Road, Ridgmont Road, School Lane and Turnpike Road. Some were listed by the former Department of Environment, which gave a general background as follows: "The 7th Duke of Bedford recognised the advantages of housing agricultural labourers in comfortable dwellings. From the late 1840's onwards the emphasis in Bedford Estate cottage building was on the utilitarian rather
than the Picturesque. The cottages are not only remarkable for the high
quality of construction at such an early date, but also represent an influential contribution to the development of working class housing which culminated in the garden cities and early council housing. The Dukes of Bedford built about 500 cottages in the locality between the 1840's and World War One. The brickwork seems to be an early type of cavity walling". The cottages were known locally as the Duke of Bedford's Mansions because they were so well designed and built.

The four cottages in the block in School Lane have been extended and altered in the late 20th century but remain very obviously Bedford Estate cottages, built in the usual red brick, with tiled roofs. They date from 1855.

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. Husborne Crawley, like much of the rest of the county, was assessed in 1927.

The valuer visiting 54 to 57 School Lane found that each cottage contained a living room and a kitchen downstairs. The outermost cottages, 54 and 57 had three bedrooms upstairs, whilst those in the middle, 55 and 56, had just two. Each cottage can a coal barn and an earth closet outside with a washhouse which was common to the block. The tenant of Number 56 also had a pigsty.

The tenants were as follows:

  • 54 – then numbered as 54 The Village: Miss Emma Taylor who paid rent to the Duke of thirteen shillings per quarter;
  • 55 – then 55 The Village: Ernest William Reading who paid rent of 11/11 per quarter;
  • 56 – then 56 The Village: Fred Deacon who also paid rent of 11/11 per quarter;
  • 57 – the 57 The Village: Arthur Robinson who paid rent of 14/1 per quarter.

54 to 57 School Lane January 2011
54 to 57 School Lane January 2011