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93 High Street Odell

93 High Street in 1897
93 High Street in 1897 [Z50/86/39]

93 High Street was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1964. A date stone says on the west gable says 1777. Like most of the older properties in the area it is constructed of coursed limestone rubble. It has a Welsh slate roof and is built in an L plan with a rear wing on the east side. The house has two storeys.

Unlike most of the older properties in the village 93 High Street does not seem to have been part of the Odell Castle Estate, at least as far back as 1876 as, in a countywide Return of Licensed Premises for that year, it is listed as owned by George Hine of Kettering [Northamptonshire], the tenant being Davis Parsons. The property was an off-licence, first licensed in 1869. It is quite possible that the house was originally part of the Estate and sold to Hine in that year but, if so, no record in Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service indicates as much.

The Sharnbrook Petty Sessions licensing register held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service [PSS4/1] indicates that the licensee in 1919 was William Dunkley, who handed it on to William James Towl in that year. Dunkley is first noted in a directory in 1903, the previous tenant being William Kilpin Brooks who is first mentioned in a directory in 1885 and last mentioned in 1898. In 1927 Odell was valued 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 it. The valuer visiting the off-licence [DV1/C166/41] noted that it was then owned by Bedford brewer Higgins & Sons Limited and still occupied by W.J.Towl who paid £2/15/4 per annum, a rent fixed in 1915, suggesting that that was the date Higgins bought it. The firm later, in 1926, acquired the village's two beerhouses, the Bell and the Mad Dog from the Odell Castle Estate.

93 High Street May 2008
93 High Street May 2008

93 High Street comprised the off-licence in a shop measuring 9 feet 3 inches by 13 feet and a bakehouse measuring 14 feet by 15 feet with oven "used four times a week, holds 150 loaves". The accommodation also comprised a living room, kitchen, sitting room and cellar with four bedrooms on the first floor and two attics on the second. A tile and corrugated iron garage stood outside along with a timber and thatch barn and two old pigsties. The valuer remarked: "Only shop in village. Trade very bad not 1 barrel per week".

The Sharnbrook Petty Sessions licensing book records the temporary transfer of the licence from William James Towl to Clara Gertrude Florence Towl in 1935. Directories show her still there in 1940.