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Watling Street Canteen Tilsworth

The red spot in the lower corner is the canteen in 1927
The red spot in the lower corner is the canteen in 1927

At the time of writing [2008] a Travelodge stands on the west side of the A5 between the turning for Tilsworth and Hockliffe. This site was occupied in the 1920s by a much more modest structure.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 ordered every piece of land and building in the country to be assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer visiting Tilsworth noted that at this location [DV1/C104/75] stood a weather boarded and felt structure owned by John Olney (the site was on Bull Farm land) and occupied by A.H.Sharp, who paid rent of £20 per annum. The structure was described as a canteen and occupied 0.27 of an acre. The canteen itself was two rooms, 8 feet by 14 feet and 11 feet by 15 feet with a12 feet 6 inches by 15 feet store place and a 13 feet by 12 feet living room.

The tenant stated that takings averaged £15 per week and the canteen was open "night and day". The valuer noted: "More competition than formerly". Tables were inside and teas were provided. The business sold no alcohol as it was not licensed. Water had to be fetched from Bull Farm, some 700 yards away.