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217 Castle Hill Road Totternhoe

217 Castle Hill Road February 2010
217 Castle Hill Road February 2010

217 Castle Hill Road looks a strange property at first glance, more like a chapel or barn than a house. The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and property in the country should be valued to determine its rateable value. Totternhoe, like much of Bedfordshire, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting 217 Castle Hill Road [DV1/C101/126] found that it was, in fact, a hall owned by the Society of Rechabites and used for "Concerts - Boys' and Girls' Club, Social Evenings".

Date plaque on the exterior of 217 Castle Hill Road
Date plaque on the exterior of 217 Castle Hill Road

The Independent Order of Rechabites was a Friendly Society founded in 1835. It was a part of the temperance movement which campaigned for total abstinence from alcohol. The building has the names and places of abode of a number of people who were, presumably, instrumental in the building of the hall and laid that appropriate stone. A cornerstone states: "Laid by John Short, Esq. of London, October 5th, 1893".

The  Independent Order of Rechabites' archives are at Senate House Library, University of London and Glasgow University Archive.

Plaque on the exterior of 217 Castle Hill Road February 2010
Plaque on the exterior of 217 Castle Hill Road February 2010