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7 Market Square Potton

7 Market Square February 2013
7 Market Square February 2013

7 Market Square looks, on the surface, a little out of place among the other buildings around it. It seems, superficially, as if it is a late 19th century construction with those about it being a century earlier. In fact this is a false impression largely created by the projecting gable. The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The entry for 7 Market Square [HER 7077] notes that it is an 18th century structure but that it was altered in the 19th century. The property is of red brick with two storeys and attics and a red tiled roof. It has a single storey flat roof extension pshing forward on the right-hand side.

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. The valuer visiting the building found it owned by Omar Arnold Bartle and divided into three [DV1/C11/117-119]. At the left hand side (the projecting gable) was a lock-up shop leased by the India and China Tea Company for £50 per annum, a rent set in 1924. The shop had a storeroom over it and was partly glazed tiled, with a wood block floor. Gas was laid on and the valuer commented: “Good, modern”. The shop area measured 14 feet by 22 feet 6 inches. The store above measured 25 feet by 13 feet 6 inches. There was also a cellar beneath the ground floor which was: “good, dry”. A box store stood at the rear (“good”). Kelly’s Directory for 1928 lists this shop but no others do, so clearly it was short-lived.

The right hand side was leased by Lloyds Bank Limited for £50 per annum, a rent set in 1921 (“includes cleaning, lighting and fires”). The “deep, narrow” premises had two areas, measuring 17 feet 6 inches by 7 feet and 9 feet by 5 feet 3 inches. Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire for 1928 states that opening times were 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 3 pm except on Thursday and Saturday when they were 10 am to midday. The earliest mention of this bank is in Kelly’s Directory for 1894 when it list the Capital and Counties Bank. This bank is also listed in directories of 1898, 1903, 1906, 1910 and 1914. In 1918 the bank was taken over by Lloyds and is mentioned in each directory for the county until the last in 1940.

In between these two lock-up premises was Omar Bartle’s house, which was: “modern and good condition”. The ground floor comprised a dining room measuring 12 feet 3 inches by 14 feet 9 inches, a drawing room measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 16 feet 9 inches, a kitchen and pantry and a scullery. The first floor contained a bathroom and W. C. and three bedrooms measuring, respectively, 13 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 3 inches, 12 feet 3 inches by 12 feet 6 inches and one which was note measured but was “say 12 by 16”. The second floor was “good” attics. Two wood and tiled garages stood at the rear. The valuer enthused: “Very good House, very nice inside”. Kelly’s Directory for 1931 first lists O. A. Bartle and Company as “motor engineers, hire service, any make of car supplied; Gilford saloon buses for hire”. They had premises in Royston Street, Sun Street and Market Square.

Omar Bartle flyer [X704/92/6/2]
Omar Bartle flyer [X704/92/6/2]