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22 and 23 Market Place Woburn

22 and 23 Market Place May 2012
22 and 23 Market Place May 2012

22 and 23 Market Place were listed by English Heritage in March 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. The property was formerly two houses and, at the time of writing [2013] is Galloways Restaurant. The building probably dates from the 17th century with a re-fronting in the 18th century, perhaps as a result of Woburn’s great fire of June 1724. The property is built of red brick, possibly with some timber-framing and the roof is covered with 20th century tiles. Number 22 has two storeys and Number 23 two storeys and attics.

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 22 and 23 Market Place [DV1/C126/147-148] found them both owned, like much of Woburn, by the Duke of Bedford’s London and Devon Estates Company.

Number 22 Market Place was in the occupation of Charles J. Crocker whose rent was three shillings per week for a sitting room, kitchen, bedroom and scullery all on the ground floor. The valuer noted: “The ground floor of a house let away” and “side windows look into yard”. There was “no garden” and the place was “Buried in at back”. It was “Not a pukka bungalow, next house runs over top”.

Number 23 was let to corn merchant Frank Tompkins for £28 per annum and occupied the whole of the first floor of Number 22 as well. The ground floor comprised a shop measuring 11 feet by 15 feet with counter space measuring 11 feet by 2 feet, a grain store measuring 9 feet 3 inches by 15 feet, a living room measuring 10 feet by 15 feet and a kitchen measuring 12 feet 3 inches by 12 feet 9 inches. A cellar ran beneath. The first floor contained five bedrooms measuring, respectively, 9 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 3 inches; 8 feet 6 inches by 10 feet; 10 feet by 14 feet; 10 feet by 12 feet 6 inches and 12 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 3 inches. There was a store room and a reception room measuring 19 feet 3 inches by 15 feet. Two attics lay on the second floor. At the end of the garden was a garage and three stores, one of them big.

Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year but every few years from the early to mid 19th century until 1940. These show that Tompkins was in occupation for at least fifty five years, unless, of course, a father followed a son. The name is first listed as a corn merchant in the Market Place in 1885 and is last listed in the final directory of the county, that of 1940. Thomas Tompkins is also listed as a corn merchant in a directory of 1877 but is then stated to be in Bedford Street.