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The Camel Public House Houghton Conquest

The Camel Public House: Bedford Road, Houghton Conquest

Today’s 37 and 39 Bedford Road stand on the site of the former Camel Public House. In 1833 William Howe of Bedford, tailor, conveyed three cottages, occupied by Joseph Woodham, Daniel Juffs and Edwin Simpkins to John Bunker of Houghton Conquest, wheelwright for £106 together with 1 acre, 6 poles of land at Yoxon’s Piece [GK300]. Howe had bought the cottages and land from Mary Chipperfield in 1813.

In 1834 John Bunker conveyed the cottages and land to William Bright [Z1039/34/1]. Another William Bright, probably his son conveyed the properties to Biggleswade brewer George Winch in 1899 [Z1039/34/1]. Licensing register show that the Camel was in existence as a beerhouse by 1869 so it is likely that the three cottages had either been demolished and replaced by the Camel or that the Camel was one or more of those cottages.

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 beerhouse [DV1/C78/67] reckoned it a “poor little place”. The landlord paid rent of £12 per annum to Wells and Winch, which included an adjoining field of 1.433 acres. Rent before the Great War had been £7 per annum.

The premises comprised a tap room (“small”), a living room, a kitchen and a cellar with three bedrooms upstairs. Outside stood a timber and tiled stable, store and coachhouse. Trade was just half a barrel of beer per week.

The Camel was still in operation in 1959, by which time it had become a fully-licensed public house. At some point thereafter it closed and the premises was demolished.


  • GK300/1: conveyance: 1813;
  • GK300/1: conveyance:1833;
  • Z1039/34/1: abstracted conveyance: 1836;
  • Z1039/34/1: abstracted will of William Bright: 1851;
  • PSA5/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1927;
  • SF30/13: sale of Jabez Tysoe’s household effects: 1876;
  • HF40/2/24/1: landlord’s opposition to a baker applying for license: 1882;
  • GK1/36: bound sale catalogue of Baldock Brewery: 1898;
  • Z1039/34/1: abstracted conveyance by William Bright to George Winch: 1899;
  • PSA5/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1934-1959;
  • PSA5/4: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: c.1950s

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:

1869: Ann Juffs;
1876: Jabez Tysoe;
1876-1902: Charles Smith;
1902-1908: Tamar Smith;
1908-1932: Albert Smith;
1932-1941: Annie E. Smith;
1941-1953: Herbert George Bennett;
1953-1959: Samuel Reginald Webb.