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The Bedford Arms Beerhouse Toddington

62 High Street February 2013
62 High Street February 2013

The Bedford Arms Beerhouse, 62 High Street, Toddington

The Bedford Arms was situated for much of its existence at 62 High Street, Toddington, eventually moving next door to 64 High Street where it remained until it closed in 2012. Proposals to develop the site of the Bedford Arms were opposed by Toddington Parish Council which fought to retain the public house as a community asset. At the time of writing (2015) the future of the property was still in doubt.

The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the Bedford Arms was first licensed in 1868. The register is not always accurate but this date may not be too far off the mark as the first reference to the Bedford Arms comes in 1867 when it appears in a list of properties belonging to the Luton Brewery [X95/304]. In 1876 the owner was Toddington brewer Robert Barford.

The original premises at 62, High Street was listed as being Grade II, of special interest in 1992. From 1868 to 1903 the landlady of the Bedford Arms beerhouse was Emma Neal, a widow. In 1885 she prosecuted Edward Burrows of Toddington at the Quarter Sessions for stealing 1s. 6d from the till. When challenged by Mrs. Neal's brother Samuel Briden the money was found hidden in Burrows' leggings, between the leggings and his trousers. Burrows was found guilty and sentenced to 1 month hard labour [QSR1885/2/5/10]. By the time of the 1891 countywide licensing register the owner of the beerhouse was Allfrey and Lovell's Newport Pagnell Brewery.

Under the terms of the Rating and Valuation Act 1925 every piece of land and building in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid on them. When Toddington was assessed in 1926 the Bedford Arms was owned by Charles Wells Limited and occupied by George Rowe. The rent of £16 per annum was described as a fair tied rent. The valuer described the beerhouse as a brick and slate detached property with a small bar and tap room, a living room, kitchen, scullery and cellar downstairs, and three bedrooms upstairs. Outside were a barn and a stable. The property enjoyed both gas light and mains drainage. As the only licensed house at the southern end of Toddington it sold 1½ barrels of beer per week [DV1/C85/13].

The Bedford Arms about 1925 [WL800-1]
The Bedford Arms about 1925 [WL800/1]

References:

  • X95/304: Rent in barrels of public houses belonging to Luton Brewery, 1867
  • QSR1885/2/5/10: Depositions in case of Edward Burrows, 1885
  • Z50/126/61: Photograph of Dunstable Road with Bedford Arms, c.1910
  • BML10/74/16: Salebook for Withington House, Toddington, 1924
  • WL800/1: Photograph album showing Charles Wells licensed premises, c.1925
  • WL801/170: Glass plate negative of Bedford Arms, c.1925

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list; entries in italics refer to licensees where either beginning or end, or both, dates are not known:

1868: Joseph Neal;
1868-1903: Emma Neal
1903-1932: George Rowe
1932-1945: Louisa Rowe
1945: George Rowe.