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8 Bull Street Potton

8 Bull Street August 2013
8 Bull Street August 2013

A list of addresses of Potton licensed premises prepared by Potton History Society [CRT130Potton27] states that 8 Bull Street was formerly the eponymous Bull public house, The property was listed by English Heritage in May 2000 as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the 17th or 18th century (4 Bull Street has deeds going back to the 17th century) and was re-fronted in the late 18th century. It has a red brick front and an old plain tiled roof. The rear was rebuilt in brick on the right-hand side but timber-framing covered by roughcast render and with brick infill survives on the left-hand side. Inside the walls are timber-framed with plaster infill. The property is built in an L-plan and has a carriageway with a room above it on the left-hand side at the front giving access to the yard. The property comprises two storeys with cellars and attics. One of the windows is inscribed: “J Lodge 1780” and “W J Arnold 1872 – cold November”.

The Bull is listed in Slater’s Bedfordshire Directory of 1850 but not in Graven and Company’s directory for the county of 1853, nor in any subsequent directory. This, of course, suggests that the Bull closed its doors for the last time between 1850 and 1853. In 1899 George Winch purchased Biggleswade brewers Wells and Company and their name changed to Wells and Winch. The conveyance to Winch includes a dwellinghouse in Bull Street which had formerly been the Bull with outbuildings and garden. It was then occupied by George Sharp. Also conveyed was an adjacent building in occupation of a man named Bartle with a wheelwright's shop in occupation of Wright and Sons, a dwellinghouse “on other side of gateway of yard” with outbuildings, stable and garden in occupation of T. Vincent and an adjoining dwellinghouse with yard, gardens, lands and outbuildings in occupation of S. Chiverton, which sounds like 6 to 12 Bull Street. It turns out that these properties had been acquired only the previous year because an 1898 sale catalogue for the Baldock Brewery [GK1/36] includes a dwelling house in Bull Street, Potton with the yard and buildings, an abutting wheelwright's shop and two further dwelling houses.

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 8 Bull Street [DV1/C11/111] found it owned and occupied by William Sharp who, Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire for 1928 informs us, was a hairdresser. Kelly’s lists him from 1885 until 1928 and his advertisement still adheres to part of the exterior. Directories for 1931, 1936 and 1940, the last to be published for the county, list Frank Sharp as a hairdresser in Bull Street and, no doubt, he took over the business.

The valuer noted that the property was “old” and also commented: “Very poor place”. The ground floor comprised a parlour measuring 9 feet 6 inches by 10 feet, a living room measuring 18 feet by 11 feet 6 inches, a pantry and a scullery; the hairdresser’s shop measured 16 feet by 15 feet. Outside stood a stable and a washhouse. The first floor comprised: a drawing room measuring 15 feet square; a bathroom and W. C.; a boxroom and three bedrooms measuring, respectively, 11 feet by 9 feet 6 inches, 11 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches and 13 feet by 10 feet 6 inches. Today the property is a private house.

Worn sign on 8 Bull Street August 2013
Worn sign on 8 Bull Street August 2013