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Avenue House Aspley Guise

Avenue House January 2008
Avenue House January 2008

Avenue House is one of four listed buildings in The Avenue. It was listed by English Heritage in March 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. The house dates from the 17th century, having been reworked in the 19th century. It is a timber-framed structure with red brick infill and has a half-hipped roof, slates to front slope, clay tiles to rear slope. The house comprises two storeys and attics.

The How family were important landowners in Aspley Guise, Thomas How having, in 1680, married the heiress to the Cartwright family which had purchased The Old House from its original owners in 1657. In 1764 Richard How the younger left The Old House and moved into Avenue House which had been his brother's residence, living there until his death in 1801.

The 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses show William J. Howe living at Avenue House with his family. He was 50 in 1841 and came from Surrey. The 1871 and 1881 censuses give Lucy How, aged 77 in 1881, as head of household. She was born in Southwark [Surrey]. She was living at the house as late as Kelly's Directory for Bedfordshire of 1885. By 1890 Doctor John Gregory White was living at the property, then called Avenue Lodge (as The Old House was then called Avenue House).

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed as to its rateable value. Aspley Guise was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting Avenue House [DV1/C138/18] discovered that it was owned and occupied by Dr John Gregory White. M. D.

The stucco and slate detached dwelling stood in 1.334 acres. The valuer commented: "Was old Cottage 300 years old. Only 3 beds with fireplaces. Miss Orlebar had it at £45 rent. Present owner has added a Bath room. Says he thinks worth £65. Old house in lovely spot with good garden".

Downstairs accommodation comprised three reception rooms, a kitchen, larder and pantry. Three bedrooms, a dressing room and a bathroom and w. c. lay upstairs with two attics above that. A brick and slate potting shed, coal house and store lay outside. Two glasshouses measured 11 feet 6 inches by 20 feet and 11 feet by 23 feet respectively. The valuer noted that mains water, drainage and gas were all laid on.

John Gregory White was, clearly, related to the How family. He bequeathed to his son Edward How White "the old How furniture books, pictures and plates he wishes to take". He also instructed that one or more of his daughters should be permitted to occupy the Avenue House and premises during their spinsterhood free of rent [HN10/372/White1].

The last Kelly's Directory to list John Gregory White at Avenue House is that for 1928. By the time of the next directory, 1931, Colonel Edmund W. Dashwood C. B. E. was living there. He is listed at the house in the last Kelly's for Bedfordshire of 1940.