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8 to 10 Market Place Woburn

8 to 10 Market Place May 2012
8 to 10 Market Place May 2012

8 to 10 Market Place is an impressive three storey building which, at the time of writing [2013] and for some years it has been the home of Woburn China Shop. It was formerly numbered 3 High Street. The property was listed by the former Ministry of Works in October 1952 as Grade II, of special interest.

The former house dates from the early part of the 18th century. It is built of red brick. The walls are darker, with many vitrified bricks, and the dressings lighter. The steep roof is covered with 20th century tiles.

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 8 to 10 Market Place [DV1/C137/115] found that, like most of the town, it was owned by the Duke of Bedford’s London and Devon Estates Company.

The tenant was Gibson Andrews, a local ironmongers firm with outlets in a number of towns. The rent was £41 per annum. The ground floor contained a shop measuring 24 feet by 15 feet with behind the counter space of 23 feet by 5 feet. An office measured 8 feet 6 inches by 17 feet 6 inches and there was also a living room measuring 10 feet 9 inches by 18 feet, a kitchen measuring 11 feet 9 inches by 12 feet 6 inches and a scullery with a covered gateway. Beneath was a cellar store measuring 31 feet by 16 feet.

The first floor contained two reception rooms measuring, respectively 13 feet by 16 feet 6 inches and 13 feet 6 inches by 17 feet and two bedrooms measuring 14 feet 6 inches by 17 feet and 11 feet by 14 feet 3 inches. A W. C. led off the back stairs. The second floor contained three bedrooms and a boxroom (“good”).

Two petrol pumps and two tanks each containing five hundred gallons were outside. There was also an oil and petrol store and a warehouse outside along with two small warehouses and a further warehouse with a loft over and a tool house. The living accommodation clearly suggests that the property was also the house of the shop manager who may have been Jack Ibahar who is given as secretary of the Woburn Gas Company which seems to have operated from Gibson Andrews’ premises.

Gibson Andrews, originally from Northamptonshire, set up his ironmongery business in Woburn in the 19th century, being first recorded in a directory of 1877. It was originally in Park Street, in the green area on the corner with George Street now occupied by the war memorial. Directories reveal that the business moved to 8 to 10 Market Place between 1894 and 1898.

Buildings at the rear of 8 to 10 Market Place May 2012
Buildings at the rear of 8 to 10 Market Place May 2012