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5 Bedford Street Woburn

5 Bedford Street May 2012
5 Bedford Street May 2012

5 Bedford Street stands out from the buildings around it by being colourwashed. It may have been a part of the former Dolphin Inn, which ceased trading about 1796. The property was listed by the former Ministry of Works in January 1961 as Grade II, of special interest, along with 6 and 7 Bedford Street. The block of three properties dates from the early 18th century and may have been built in the wake of the great fire of June 1724 as they seem to encase an earlier structure. Number 5 is a single bay with three storeys, built of brick, with a slate roof. It has a pedimented parapet at roof level and a late 19th century shop front at street level.

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 5 Bedford Street [DV1/C137/108] found that the owner was solicitor William Henry Smith and the occupier Edward Lilley who paid rent of £24 per annum. He was a baker.

Accommodation included a shop measuring 14 feet by 15 feet; a bakehouse measuring 12 feet by 15 feet and 10 feet by 5 feet with a five bushel oven; a flour store measuring 22 feet by 25 feet; a hayloft measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 12 feet; a kitchen measuring 13 feet by 9 feet; a living room measuring 10 feet by 14 feet 3 inches and an office measuring 4 feet 3 inches by 2 feet 9 inches (office here was probably used to mean a privy). There was also a cellar. The first floor contained a tea room measuring 12 feet 3 inches by 13 feet 6 inches, a box room and a bedroom measuring 13 feet by 12 feet 6 inches. The second floor had two further bedrooms and a boxroom. A barn, stable and W. C. stood outside along with a cart hovel and a manure heap!

Directories for Bedfordshire were published, not annually, but every few years and cover the dates 1839 to 1940. Edward Lilley is listed as a baker in Bedford Street in directories of 1903, 1906, 1910, 1914, 1920, 1924, 1928 and 1931. By 1940 the baker is Mrs. Winifred Ethel Taylor. There were two bakers in Bedford Street throughout the period of directories, Lilley’s competitor being Charles King at 13 Bedford Street. Lilley was preceded by Robert James Lilley, perhaps his father, who is listed as a pastry cook in Bedford Street from at least 1853 until 1898. In 1847 the two bakers were William Timaeus and John Beard. Beard overlaps with Lilley but Timaeus does not, suggesting that he was Lilley’s predecessor at 5 Bedford Street, if one conjectures that the ovens and other equipment would attract another baker to the premises when the previous one finished. Timaeus is recorded in directories of 1839 and 1847.

In 2008 5 Bedford Street was for sale. The sale particulars [Z449/2/82] described the layout as follows: ground floor - living room (21 feet 9 inches by 13 feet); dining room (14 feet 9 inches by 15 feet 2 inches); breakfast room (14 feet 3 inches by 10 feet); cloakroom; steps down to cellar (12 feet by 11 feet); kitchen (15 feet 9 inches by 10 feet 8 inches) - first floor: bedroom (13 feet by 11 feet); bedroom (12 feet 10 inches by 13 feet 3 inches); bathroom (9 feet 8 inches by 5 feet 7 inches) - second floor: bedroom (13 feet 5 inches by 12 feet 2 inches); landing with sky dome; bedroom (15 feet 4 inches by 11 feet 9 inches); bathroom (7 feet by 7 feet 7 inches). Outside were a roof terrace, a small courtyard garden and off road parking.