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57 and 59 High Street Ridgmont

57 and 59 High Street January 2011
57 and 59 High Street January 2011

57 and 59 High Street are two attractive old cottages close to the junction with Station Road. They were listed by the former Department of Environment in February 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated them to the 16th century and noted that they were probably a single dwelling when built. The structure is timber framed with red brick infill and parts have been entirely rebuilt in red brick in the 19th century. The roof is slated.

The original cottage probably had two or three rooms downstairs and, most likely, bed spaces in the attics. In the 19th century the cottages were heightened to include a full first floor and extended to the rear.

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 57 and 59 High Street [DV1/C54/77-78] found that both homes were owned by Walter Jones. He lived in Number 57 himself whilst 59 was leased to George Horne at a rent of 13/6 per month.

57 High Street comprised two reception rooms, a living room and a scullery downstairs with four bedrooms above. A wood barn and an earth closet stood outside. Water came from a tap in the yard. One of Jones' reception rooms had been converted into a shop; he was a boot and shoemaker. Directories for the county were published every few years and the first to mention of Walter Jones is in 1906 and the last in the final Kelly's Directory for Bedfordshire of 1940. he is preceded in directories by George Jones, boot maker, who appears in those for 1877, 1885, 1894, 1898 and 1903.

George Horne's property was smaller. His accommodation comprised a living room and kitchen downstairs with two bedrooms above. A wood barn and earth closet stood outside. The valuer commented: "accommodation poor".