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17 and 18 Market Place Woburn

17 and 18 Market Place May 2012
17 and 18 Market Place May 2012

17 and 18 Market Place were formerly numbered 10 and 11 High Street. The property was listed by the former Ministry of Works in January 1961 as Grade II, of special interest. The building dates from the late 18th century, the listing noting: “upper storey apparently a mid 19th century addition”. The two lower floors are built of a deep red brick, some of which are vitrified, architectural details are in lighter red bricks. The top storey is of a lighter, mottled brick. The roof is covered with slates.

The rear of 18 Market Place showing differing brickwork
The rear of 18 Market Place showing differing brickwork

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. Woburn, like much of the county was valued in 1927 and the valuer visiting 17 and 18 Market Place found that they were, at that time, separate properties and businesses [DV1/C137/1-2]. Both were, like most of Woburn, owned by the Duke of Bedford’s London and Devon Estates Company Limited.

Number 17 was occupied by grocers Dudeney and Johnston Limited who paid rent of £40 per annum. Their ground floor accommodation comprised a shop measuring 38 feet 6 inches by 15 feet, an office measuring 10 feet by 9 feet and a store measuring 8 feet by 14 feet. There was also a kitchen. The first floor comprised an office measuring 7 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 6 inches, a reception room measuring 14 feet by 15 feet 6 inches, a box room measuring 10 feet 3 inches by 7 feet 3 inches and two bedrooms measuring, respectively, 12 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches and 18 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches. Second floor accommodation comprised three further bedrooms and a box room. There was also a cellar beneath the building. There were a store shed, a washhouse, a large store shed and a W. C. outside along with four further store sheds and a single stable. Given the living accommodation the shop manager and his family clearly lived on the premises.

Number 18 was rented by Mrs. Florence Champkin at £22 per annum. She was a confectioner. Kelly’s Directory for 1928 states that she also ran refreshment rooms; as the valuation does not mention these they were, presumably, a new venture in 1928. Her ground floor accommodation comprised a shop measuring 11 feet by 15 feet, a living room measuring 11 feet by 10 feet and a kitchen. A cellar ran beneath. The first floor contained bathroom and three bedrooms measuring, respectively, 14 feet by 10 feet, 12 feet 9 inches by 11 feet and 14 feet by 13 feet 6 inches. Three more bedrooms and a box room lay on the second floor. A barn, W. C. and washhouse stood outside.

Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year but every few years from the early to mid 19th century until 1940. Florence Champkin is listed in directories of 1928, 1931, 1936 and 1940. Dudeney and Johnston are listed in directories of 1906, 1910, 1914, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1931, 1936 and 1940. William Emery is listed as a grocer in the High Street in directories of 1890, 1894, 1898 and 1903 and may have been Dudeneys’ predecessor in the building since the dates do not overlap. He was preceded by Frederick Emery who is listed in directories of 1869, 1877 and 1885.

During part of World War Two 11 High Street was used as sleeping accommodation for the women’s section of Woburn’s First Aid Party [WW2/AR/C/2/120]. Today the building is the Village Stores and the post office, which moved from 2 Bedford Street early in the 21st century.