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68 High Street Ridgmont

68 High Street about 1900 [Z50/95/61]
68 High Street about 1900 [Z50/95/61]

The Laurels, 68 High Street is an attractive building standing next to the church and with a series of greenhouses standing behind it. It was listed by the former Department of Environment in February 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to about 1700. It is built in red brick with chequerwork patterning in vitrified headers and a 20th century tiled roof. The house has two storeys. There is a 19th century lean-to extension at 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 68 High Street found that it was, like much of the village, owned by the Duke of Bedford. The property was leased by Mrs. Harriet Matilda Adams for £8/11/3 per quarter including the 6.821 acre field behind. The rent before the Great War had been £34 per annum.

The house was a baker's business and comprised two reception rooms, a kitchen, a dairy, a bakehouse measuring 11 feet by 13 feet and a cellar. Upstairs lay three bedrooms with two attics above those. A brick and tiled coal house and store, a coachhouse, a stable, a pig sty and an earth closet all lay outside. Water came from a tap in the yard.

The valuer obviously liked the place. He noted: "House from front very attractive". Another comment was: "Lovely front - Wisteria".

Directories for Bedfordshire, which were not published annually but every few years, give the names of the Adams family as bakers in Ridgmont from 1898 to 1931 and the following names are taken from these directories:

  • 1894-1910: William Charles Adams, baker;
  • 1914-1928: Mrs. Harriet Matilda Adams, baker;
  • 1931: Miss Margaret Adams, baker.
The Laurels - 68 High Street January 2011
The Laurels - 68 High Street January 2011