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Shefford Rink

Shefford Rink 1937
Shefford Rink 1937

In the early 20th century one of the entertainments on offer in Shefford in winter was a skating rink. It was off Southbridge Street, just across the River Hit from the cinema. In May 1917 it was occupied by the Hitchin Signal Depot, Royal Engineers and its owner, Mrs.King later put in a claim for dilapidations. In a letter of 29th August 1917 it was stated: "Mrs.King came to see me yesterday and she apparently thinks that the Australians are going to do any necessary repairs…Quite privately, she is a somewhat excitable woman and worries a good bit". The result of the compensation claim is not recorded but an inventory taken before the military moved in gives a good idea of the operation [Z740/108/8]:

Main Room

Fifteen forms 5 feet long. Three have broken backs.

Eighteen forms 9 feet 9 inches long. Two with damaged backs.

All the forms are otherwise in fair condition.

One pair steps twelve treads.

Gas fittings. Twelve inverted fittings and globes. Four of these are broken.

Slow Combustion Stove with fender, in working order.

Rails to sides. Forty-two feet rack fixed on wood brackets. One bracket loose.

Flap to Front of Platform, no trestles, one end repaired.

Four old and worn green blinds.

Four panes of glass cracked in hall.

Entrance lobby. One stiff gas bracket and burner.

Entrance doors. Outside doors, one top panel missing, and doors very shaky. Lock, key and handles. One rose and two escutcheons missing. One lower panel cracked.

Inner doors. One panel split. Rim lock, and handles, no key. Two bolts damaged.

Side door to lobby. Two bolts are damaged. Latch and handles. Two panels split, pair of side doors broken beyond repair.

Door to Wood Barn in order, locked. Barn not to be occupied by Military.

Nosings to two treads to platform broken.

Hall ceiling boarded and painted, but worn and marked by football. Matchboarding to walls painted and decorated but very dirty. Floor worn and dirty.

North ante room

Matchboarded ceiling and walls stained but worn.

Door. Rim lock and key, no handles. Window, one pane of glass cracked. Sixteen hat and coat hooks on walls rusty. One brass gas bracket with burner. Iron shield to ceiling and wall.

Earth closet

Seat in order and bucket.

Door lock, latch and handles. No window.

South ante room

Walls and ceiling matchboarded. Staining worn.

Door, lock and handles, no key.

Outside door. Rim lock and handles, no key.

Window one pane cracked.

Door to side shed locked. Shed not to be used.

Sixteen hat and coat hooks. One stiff brass gas bracket and burner, shield to ceiling.

Outside

Cook Shed. One length of down pipe missing.

None of the fruit trees are enclosed.

Pale fence to Paddock, one pale missing. Gate hinges broken.

Coach house

Doors very old. Five boards broken. No glass to window at back.

Stable next. Three stalls

Wood mangers old and patched. hayrack, top and bottom rails badly eaten. Stall divisions shaky.

Door boards all split. Window no glass.

Stable near entrance.

One loose box on right. Manger, wood front board split and rail eaten.

Door broken and patched. Iron corner rack one bar missing.

Stall left. Wood manger. Front rail eaten. Five boards to dado badly broken, others broken near the floor.

Floor cobble stones and a few granite blocks. No glass in window. One board shutter. Bars missing from doors.

Outside door padlock and key. One S. latch.

The rink evidently survived the military's tenure as it is shown on a 25 inch Ordnance Survey Map of 1937. Next to the rink was a swimming pool for when the water was not frozen.