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72-74 High Street

This property was researched by John Thurston. 

BorBP171 resize

Front elevation of House & shop, High Street, Bedford for Mr George Downes. Architect - Thomas Spencer. Thought to be property number 72. c.1868 [BorBP171]

No’s 72 and 74 High Street were probably built in the early 19th Century with the earliest inhabitant being John Langley Mayle, a Plumber and Glazier , who resided at No 72 probably from the mid 1830’s. The 1841 Census shows the first known occupant of No 74 as being William Eastaff  and son , Carpenters.

The Mayle family stayed until around 1860 and were succeeded briefly by Titus Tompkins a hairdresser, in 1861. In 1861 and 1862 Shrosbery and Spawton/Payton, Woollen and Linen Drapers, are then listed in Trade Directories. In 1864 George Downes, a photographer, is in residence until around 1880. He is then joined by a partner, Edward Rawlins who is the occupant in 1881. Joseph George, also a photographer, then takes charge between 1885 – 1890. The business remains as a photographers up until 1961 with the resident photographists being Edwin Drury Stowe (1892), John Thomson (1900) and Ernest Horace Swaine (1920).

Sub letting  from 1902 sees a variety of other businesses sharing the premises right up to 1975 (see Summary below). In 1976 the business returns to having a single occupier (Blue Arrow Staff Services)  and in later years the premises has housed a Tanning Studio (Tanishi) in 2008) and a Hairdressers (Damiano Hair) in 2021. 

No 74 : After William Eastaff, the 1851 Census shows the next residents as being John Pool, a Mealman (Grain Dealer) and his family. The residents in 1861 are William Benskin, a Corn Merchants Clerk, and his family.  From 1864 William Hipwell, a Miller and Corn Factors has taken over and along with a partner, a Mr Wykes, also runs a Coal and Salt Merchants from the site. On the 1871 Census John Speck and his wife “the owner of two houses and land” is living there. The next mention of No 74 states it is untenanted in 1881, while in 1891 it is owned by Francis Gamman, a house furnisher but is still untenanted at night.

No 74 is last mentioned in Kellys of 1898 with Francis Gamman still in charge, but after this time appears in no further Trade Directories. There is just one further mention in the 20th Century when the erection of modern shop premises in 1955 on the site of the existing (No 74)  is shown, perhaps erroneously, on BorBTP/55/204. 

No 72: (Single Occupiers Taken from Trade Directories)

1835 – C1849:John Langley Mayle, Plumber and Glazier

1850 – 1851: Joseph Mayle, Grocer and Tea Dealer

1861: Titus Tompkins, Hairdresser

1861 – 1862: Shrosbery and Spawton/Payton, Woollen and Linen Drapers

1864 – 1879: George Downes, Photographer

C1880  – 1881: George Downes and Edward A Rawlins, Photographers

1885 – 1890: Joseph George, Photographer

1891 -  1899: (Edwin) Drury Stowe, Photographers

1900 – 1920: John Thomson, Photographer

1921 – 1961: Ernest Horace Swaine, Photographer

1976: Blue Arrow Staff Services

2008: Tanishi Tanning Centre and Wine Bar (Cellar 2)

2021: Damiano Hair, Hairdressers                   

No 72 : Sublets 1902 – 1975 :

1902 – 1903: Walter Molesworth Peacock, Auctioneer

1910 – 1911: Rex Graham, Artificial Teeth Manufacturer

1914 – 1926: Herbert Shelton, Draper

1928 – 1975: H.E.Randall, Boot and Shoe Manufacturers

1930 – 1940: Beds and Hunts Farmers Union, Union Offices

1947 – 1955: National Farmers Union, Union Offices

1952: Bedfordshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs, Farmers Clubs

1955: Oak Repertory Co, Repertory Company

1957: Parrott and Co, Accountants

1957: Office Craft Ltd, Office Supplies

1959 – 1972: R T Bustin and Co , Accountants/Auditors

1959: Insulated Containers Ltd, Container Company

1959 – 1961: Canada Life Assurance, Insurance Company

1963: Victor J F Farrar, Surveyor

1965 – 1966 , 68 – 75: County Staff Agency, Recruitment Services

1966 – 1967: Top Dresser, Dressmakers

1972 – 1973: Jordan, Bustin and Co, Accountants       

See here for a more detailed list of occupiers of 72-74 High Street 

No. 74: 

1841 – 1847: William Eastaff, Carpenter

1851: John Pool, Mealman (Grain Merchant)

1861: William M Benskin, Corn Merchants Clerk

1861 – 1869: William Hipwell, Corn Dealer, Mealman & Gauno Merchant

1871: John and Elizabeth Speck, Tenants

1881 – 189: Untenanted

1891 -  1898: Francis Gamman, House Furnisher


 See here for a more detailed list of occupiers of 72-74 High Street