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The Carvery Ridgmont

The Carvery January 2011
The Carvery January 2011

The small building at the junction of Lydds Hill and the High Street does not look like a house, although it is now a dwelling. It was built in the 19th century of the same red bricks as the Bedford Estate cottages in the village.

A clue to the building's former use is seen in the carved beams of the gable end. The building was once, in fact, a carvery where boys were sent to learn wood carving. It also served as the Sunday School, the church being close by on the other side of the road.

Directories for Bedfordshire were not published annually but every few years. Kelly's Directory for Bedfordshire for 1890 lists a wood carving class for agricultural labourers run by Miss Crouch of Segenhoe Manor Farm. The entry is repeated in the directories for 1894, 1906 and 1910, curiously missing out those of 1898 and 1903. The vestry minute book [P43/8/1] recorded Miss Crouch's death in 1911. She had been organist and Sunday School teacher for fifty years.

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 the property [DV1/C54/91] found that it was notionally owned by the vicar because it belonged to the church. He simply commented "carving room"; "nominal rent" and "good brick building".

Decorative bargeboard at the gable of the small property January 2011
Decorative bargeboard at the gable of the small property January 2011