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12 High Street Leighton Buzzard

10 to 14 High Street June 2008
10 to 14 High Street June 2008

The Manor of Leighton Buzzard alias Grovebury was the principal landowner in the town before the 19th century. Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has a full run of court rolls from 1393 to 1727 [KK619-715] and another full run from 1704 to 1867 [X288/1-23]. The service also has court rolls for other manor to own land in the town, the Prebendal Manor, from 1448 to 1459, 1588 to 1591, 1611 to 1622, 1627 and 1631 [KK792-1798]. A fair number of buildings in the High Street were originally copyhold and a detailed study of these court rolls would probably produce quite detailed histories for a number of properties and the sites on which they stand, though it would take many years of study.

10 and 12 High Street were listed by the former Department of Environment in 1975, as Grade II, of special interest. They are early 19th century properties built in brick with red stretchers and grey headers. The roof is of Welsh slate and the buildings have three storeys. Number 12 has a modern shop front.

A project called Our High Street Revisited 1819-2000 by Leighton-Linslade Local History Research Group [CRT130Lei58] aimed to use directories and census records to try to establish as full a history of use of the building in the High Street as possible. The results for Number 12 are as follows:

  • 1819: owner John Warner; occupier Joseph Procter;
  • 1823: Joseph Procter, baker, Sun Insurance Agent;
  • 1841-1851: house of Margaret Pettit (occupied with Number 14);
  • 1861: house of Elizabeth Warner (occupied with Number 14);
  • 1871: Richard Purser, plumber and glazier;
  • 1881: unoccupied;
  • 1885-1898: William Salter, tailor;
  • 1906-1924: John Nash, brushmaker;
  • 1940: Johnson Brothers (Dyers) Limited;
  • 1972: Harris Dry Cleaning;
  • 1986-2000: Densons Estate Agents;
  • 2008: Michael Anthony Estate Agent

Under the terms of the Rating and Valuation Act 1925 every piece of land and building in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid on them. Leighton Buzzard was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting 12 High Street [DV1/R56/6] discovered that it was owned and occupied by Johnson Brothers Limited, which was a dyeing and cleaning firm. The premises had no basement and comprised, on the ground floor, a lock-up shop measuring 12 feet by 18 feet 6 inches. Outside was brick and tile store with a loft over

The rest of the ground floor and the upper two floors were occupied by F. C. Stevens at a rent or 13/6 or 14/6 per week. On the ground floor was a sitting room measuring 15 feet by 12 feet, a kitchen 8 feet by 14 feet and a pantry. On the first floor was another sitting room, measuring 15 feet by 12 feet, a bedroom measuring 13 feet by 12 feet and a bathroom and W.C. The second floor attic contained a room measuring 15 feet by 12 feet and a backroom. There was "no garden".