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7 Bedford Street Woburn

7 Bedford Street May 2012
7 Bedford Street May 2012

7 Bedford Street, along with the other properties in the same building, Numbers 5 and 6 Bedford Street, was listed by the former Ministry of Works in January 1961 as Grade II, of special interest.

The building is constructed from red brick with some chequerwork patterning. It has a clay tile roof and comprises a left hand bay of three storeys and a right hand bay of two storeys and an attic. The structure dates from the early 18th century “encasing another, probably 17th century, structure”. This suggests that the building was badly damaged in the great fire of June 1724 and subsequently heavily rebuilt.

At the end of the 18th century the property seems to have formed part of an inn called The Dolphin. This closed around 1796.

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 7 Bedford Street [DV1/C137/106] found that it was owned and occupied by William Henry Smith, who also owned numbers 5 and 6 Bedford Street.

Ground floor accommodation comprised: a living room measuring 10 feet by 15 feet; a reception room measuring 10 feet 6 inches by 14 feet; an office measuring 9 feet by 11 feet (Smith was a solicitor); a kitchen; a scullery and a lavatory (in the sense of somewhere to wash) and W. C. There was also a cellar. Three bedrooms lay upstairs measuring, respectively, 15 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 9 inches; 11 feet by 14 feet and 10 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 3 inches. There was also another reception room measuring 15 feet by 11 feet. Three attics lay on the second floor. Two barns, a garage, a W. C. and a greenhouse all stood outside. The valuer commented: “bad approach”.

Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year, but every few years. A William Henry Smith is listed as the resident of 7 Bedford Street from 1885 to 1936. It was William Henry senior in 1885, William Henry senior and junior in 1890 and 1894 and William Henry junior alone in 1898, 1903, 1906, 1910, 1914, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1931 and 1936. He practised from offices in Leighton Street.