Skip Navigation
 
 

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community archives > Wilstead > 35 and 37 Cotton End Road Wilshamstead

35 and 37 Cotton End Road Wilshamstead

The Stores about 1914 with Henry Lees standing outside
The Stores about 1914 with Henry Lees standing outside - photograph courtesy of Laurence Beard

35 and 37 Cotton End Road is an impressive 19th century property standing well back from the road, just east of the post office. It seems an unlikely shop, but it was one until well after World War Two

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. Like most of the county, Wilshamstead was largely assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting 35 Cotton End Road found that it was then [DV1/C65/43] a grocer’s shop, owned and occupied by Henry Arthur Lees.

The property comprised the shop, measuring 18 feet by 24 feet, a reception room, a kitchen and a storeroom with five bedrooms above. The valuer commented: “No bathroom” but a later hand has written “Now bathroom with bath, carry water”. Outside there was an old store place, a washhouse, an open shed, three stores, a stable for two horses and two trap houses. The valuer commented: “Position not good for trade”.

Kelly’s Directory lists Henry Lees as grocer between 1910 and 1931 – directories were not published every year, but every few years. Reading the original of this web page a relative of Henry's, Laurence Beard, contacted the office with the information that he became the grocer at some point between 1903 and 1910, succeeding his step-father George Tompkins who had run it for around twenty years previously. henry left the shop in 1934 and moved to Kempston.

The next directory to be published, 1936, has a new name as grocer – Ernest Miller, who was also listed in the last directory for the county in 1940.

35 and 37 Cotton End Road March 2013
35 and 37 Cotton End Road March 2013