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1 to 3 Market Place Woburn

1 to 3 Market Place May 2012
1 to 3 Market Place May 2012

1 to 3 Market Place was listed by the former Ministry of Works in January 1961 as Grade II, of special interest. At that time the building was a café. It dates from the 18th century and is built in red brick, with architectural detailing in a lighter red brick. The listing notes that many bricks were originally vitrified but this has been lost by sand-blasting. The property comprises three storeys. This part of the Market Place was formerly called the High Street.

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 1 to 3 Market Place [DV1/C137/118] found that it, like most of the town, was owned by the Duke of Bedford’s London and Devon Estates Company.

The tenant was H. J. Fisher who was a stationer operating as Fisher and Sons. He may be the same Harry Fisher who owned 34 to 38 George Street and was certainly the same man as the postmaster at 2 Bedford Street. His rent to the duke was £25 per annum. The ground floor comprised his shop measuring 28 feet 6 inches by 15 feet, a kitchen, scullery and living room measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 15 feet. A cellar and W. C. lay beneath. The first floor contained a bedroom measuring 15 feet by 10 feet 9 inches, a reception room measuring 14 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches and a store measuring 32 feet by 15 feet. The second floor contained a lumber room, four bedrooms and a W. C.

Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year but every few years from the early to mid 19th century until 1940. The following printers appear:

  • Stephen Dodd, Bedford Street, 1839 and 1847;
  • Joseph Sergeant, Bedford Street, 1864, 1869, 1877, 1885, 1890 and 1894;
  • Henry George Fisher, High Street, 1869, 1877, 1885, 1890 and 1894;
  • Fisher & Sons, Market Place (also called Park Street and 1 High Street) (Henry George and Henry John Fisher in 1898), 1898, 1903, 1906, 1910, 1914, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1931, 1936 and 1940.

Stephen Dodd was a publisher and bookseller in Woburn as early as 1818. In this year he published his own Historical and Topographical Account of The Town of Woburn, Its Abbey and Vicinity. The printer, however, was S. Manning of Newport Pagnell [Buckinghamshire]. Perhaps this publishing venture made him decide to enter the printing trade.

It seems as if the Fisher family were thus printers in Woburn for at least seventy years. They obviously had competition from a printing works in Bedford Street. This was at 2 Bedford Street which was also the post office and which still had printing equipment at the time of the 1927 valuation survey. It looks as if Henry George and Henry John Fisher bought out Sargeant’s printing business as well as taking over the post office from him at the same time and then ran both from 2 Bedford Street. Meanwhile 1 to 3 Market Place was the shop selling stationery. They seemed to have had living accommodation at both addresses and this, to judge from the 1927 survey, was occupied by, presumably different members of, the family.

At the time of writing [2013] 1 to 3 Market Place is the offices of estate agents Jackson Stops and Staff.

The rear of 1 to 10 Market Place May 2012
The rear of 1 to 10 Market Place May 2012