3 to 5 Northbridge Street January 2008
3 and 5 Northbridge Street were listed by the former Department of Environment in January 1985 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to the mid 19th century "probably encasing an earlier building". The plans below show that the outline of the buildings did not change between 1834 and 1871. They are built of mottled red brick with yellow brick dressings and have tiled roofs. The department noted that the properties were included amongst listed buildings for Shefford "for group value".
3 to 9 Northbridge Street in 1834 [X465/322]
The properties were owned by the Shefford Feoffees, that is the trustees of the Robert Lucas Feoffment Estate. Two surveys of trust properties were undertaken in 1834 and 1871. In 1834 [X465/322] 3 and 5 Northbridge Street comprised four tenements and were described, with 7 and 9 Northbridge Street, as: "Six Tenements, Gardens, Yards, Barns, outhouses and appurtenances situate on the West side of Bedford Street [as Northbridge Street was then known] in Shefford now in the occupation of Mr. William Carrington and William Barker or their undertenants and [blank] Kendall containing in the whole Twenty poles. Bounded on the north by other part of Lucas' Trust estate [11 Northbridge Street], next hereinafter described, on the east by Bedford Street aforesaid, on the south by a messuage of Messrs. Cooper and Arch, on part of the west by a lane in Shefford aforesaid called Duck Lane and on further part of the west by a Ditch running between the aforesaid premises and a meadow belonging to the Duke of Bedford".
3 to 9 Northbridge Street in 1871 [X465/323]
By 1871 the four southernmost tenements had been reduced to two – today's 3 and 5 Northbridge Street [X465/323]. The whole, with 7 and 9 Northbridge Street, was now described as: "Four Tenements, gardens, Yards, Barns, outhouses and Appurtenances situate on the West side of Bedford Street in Shefford now in the occupation of Mrs. Foster [9 Northbridge Street], Mr. Ansell [The Three Horseshoes], Mrs. Stapleton and Mr. North containing in the whole Twenty Poles. Bounded on the North by other part of Lucas' trust Estate [11 Northbridge Street] next hereinafter described, on the east by Bedford Street aforesaid, on the South by a Messuage of Mr. William Caton's, on part of the West by a lane in Shefford aforesaid called Duck Lane and on further part of the west by a ditch running between the aforesaid premises and a Meadow belonging to Mr. William Caton".
A tenancy agreement for 5 Northbridge Street for 1918 survives. The trustees leased the property to Joseph Brown of Shefford, agricultural labourer. The adjoining properties were then described as being (Number 7) in the occupation of Captain Ecott and (Number 3) occupied by Alfred Thomas Inskip. Rent was £10 per annum.
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. Shefford, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting 3 and 5 Northbridge Street [DV1/C290/113-114] found Number 3 still occupied by Inskip (who paid £17 per annum) and Number 5 by Brown. Inskip had a parlour, a kitchen, three bedrooms and a shop measuring 12 feet 6 inches by 15 feet. Brown had a living room, a kitchen, two bedrooms and a barn.
Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year but every few years. Kelly's Directory for 1906 shows Inskip was a watch and clockmaker. He is also listed in directories for 1910, 1914, 1920, 1924 and 1928.
In 1930 a new tenancy agreement was made for Number 3 [X465/20]. The new tenant was the splendidly named Napoleon George Ely, a laundry engineer; perhaps he worked at the Shefford Hand Laundry opposite. He paid rent of £25 per annum. His neighbour at Number 5 was still Joseph Brown but four years later he got a new neighbour when a lease on Number 5 was taken out by Frederick Jenkins junior of 42 High Street, Shefford, painter [X465/31]. He paid rent: of £14/6 per annum.
On 21st January 1974 the Shefford Feoffees drew up a new scheme for administering the trust with the Charity Commission [X465/332]. At this date they still owned 3 to 9 and 14 Northbridge Street as well as other property in the town.