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Kempston Hardwick Farm

Kempston Hardwick Farm no longer exists. It stood on the east side of the road from Bedford to Ampthill immediately opposite the Chimney Corner Public House. The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The entry for Kempston Hardwick Farm [HER 5964] notes that the farmhouse was 17th century, two storeyed with a red tiled roof and roughcast rendering to the walls.

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. The valuer visiting Kempston Hardwick Farm [DV1/H1/8] found it was owned by Samuel Howard Whitbread, as part of the Southill Estate, and tenanted by C. R. Quenby who paid £132 per annum rent for 115 acres, the rent having been fixed in March 1923.

The valuer commented: “Very useful dairy farm with a good house and an excellent set of farm buildings. About 4 miles from Bedford on main road (Tenant rather queer man). In Ordnance [Survey map] number 13 There is a large hoarding of Raleigh Push Bike. Tenant receives 20/- per annum for this (24 feet long) Very wet, flood”.

The brick, stucco and tiled house comprised a dining room, a drawing room, a sitting room, a scullery and dairy. Four bedrooms lay upstairs and an earth closet lay outside. The valuer commented: “Old, waste space”. He also noted: “Water gravitated from Buildings to House. Pumped to tank. Very old house. Done up in 1923. Only sanitation is an Earth Closet 30 yards from house in Farm yard”.

Farm buildings comprised:

  • A wood and corrugated iron poultry house;
  • A north-east block built of wood and tile and comprising a granary, a mixing place, two loose boxes and a cow hovel for eight beasts;
  • A south block, constructed of brick, wood and tile contained a poultry house, a dairy, two pigsties and a loose box; a brick and tiled range comprised a mixing barn, a chaff house and a two bay open cart hovel;
  • A western block, built of wood and tile, comprised a cow byre for eight, a harness room and chaff place, a stable for two horses and a trap house;
  • A central block, wood and tiled, had a five bay open hovel and calf place and a dairy place;
  • Near the road stood a three bay open cart hovel.

The farmhouse was demolished in 1976. Today a Travellers' community stands on the site of the former farmhouse.