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The Bakehouse Husborne Crawley

The Bakehouse in 1981 [Z50/65/14]
The Bakehouse in 1981 [Z50/65/14]

The Bakehouse was listed by the former Department of Environment in February 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to the 17th century, noting that it was re-fronted in red brick in the 19th century. It has a substantial timber frame with red brick infill and has a half-hipped clay tiled roof. The main block has two storeys. A 19th century brick wing extends to the rear.

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 Bakehouse noted that both the bakery itself and the house were unusual in not belonging to the Duke of Bedford. They belonged to the trustees of the Husborne Crawley Charity.

The bakery [DV1/C53/40] was leased by Dove and Son for £18 per annum, a rent fixed in 1912, presumably when the tenants first took the lease. It comprised a brick and tiled flour house, the bakehouse itself containing a six bushel oven, a corrugated iron granary, a storehouse, an open cart shed, a stable for two horses, a wood and thatched loose box, and an open cart shed. Water came from a well in yard.

The house [DV1/C53/41] was rented from the charity by Alfred Williams Dove for 2/6 per week, again fixed in 1912. Accommodation comprised a living room and a kitchen with three bedrooms above. Outside stood an earth closet, two pigsties and a washhouse. There was no electricity, lighting being by oil lamps.

Directories for Bedfordshire, which were not published annually but every few years, give the names of bakers in Husborne Crawleyfrom 1839 to 1940 and the following names are taken from these directories. The dates are those of the first and last appearance of a name, not the full span of dates the trade was carried on.  

  • 1839-1850: James Berwick;
  • 1839: Richard Clarke;
  • 1853-1877: Richard Chamberlain;
  • 1877: Charles Barnwell;
  • 1885-1906: Charles Ralph Barnwell;
  • 1910: Barnwell & Sons;
  • 1914-1931: Dove & Son;
  • 1936-1940: Dove and Son, baker and post office.

James Berwick was churchwarden in 1849 [ABCV123/5]) and occupied the Bakehouse but he died in the spring of 1850 and the 1851 census lists his widow Emma as the baker. They are listed two doors from the Bull and Bitch. By the time of the 1861 census Richard Chamberlain is listed as a bread maker a few doors from the Bull. The 1881 census lists Charles Barnwell as the baker, "employing two men" and, nine doors away (one of the cottages in the block 40-45 Turnpike Road), William Dove, journeyman baker was living, clearly one of Barnwell's employees. At some point between 1931 and 1936 the Bakehouse also took on the role of Husborne Crawley Post Office.

The Bakehouse January 2008
The Bakehouse January 2008