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19 High Street Leighton Buzzard

19 High Street June 2008
19 High Street Jun 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.

19 High Street was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. It is, like a number of buildings on this side and at this end of the High Street, 17th century in origin, with an 18th century front in local bond brickwork of grey headers dressed with red bricks. The property has two storeys and attics with an old tiled roof into which is set a casement box dormer window. The shop front is 19th century

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 19 are as follows:

  • 1819: owner Miss Hopkins; occupier W. Cotching;
  • 1841: Robert Cotching, grocer;
  • 1851: William Ridgway, grocer;
  • 1861: Valentine Cotching, grocer;
  • 1871-1891: William Baumborough, grocer;
  • 1898: William Henry Baumborough, grocer;
  • 1903: Herbert Edward Hutchinson, picture frame maker;
  • 1910-1936: Frederick John Reid, picture frame maker; Alfred Sanders, painter;
  • 1940: Frederick John Reid;
  • 1986-2008: A. F. Reid & Son: glazier

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 he valuer visiting the property [DV1/R56/59] noted that Frederick John Reid, picture frame maker, was both owner and occupier. On the ground floor were the shops, measuring 14 feet 6 inches by 15 feet and 14 feet 6 inches by 22 feet 6 inches. There was also a dining room measuring 12 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 6 inches and a kitchen of 12 feet 6 inches by 12 feet with a larder. Upstairs was a bedroom measuring 11 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches, a sitting room of 7 feet by 16 feet, a bathroom, a landing and two more bedrooms measuring, respectively, 13 feet square and 13 feet by 12 feet 6 inches. There was a bedroom in the attic, though this was "poor".

Outside stood a two storey brick store - measuring 12 feet by 13 feet with a ground floor workshop and a store over. There was also a 13 feet by 15 feet workshop over the kitchen as well as a studio measuring 12 feet by 13 feet,  a brick and slate lean-to open store and a W.C. The property had a garden.

The valuer commented: "very old - fine old oak beam ceilings; nice shop front". At the time of writing [2009] the shop is still owned by the Reid family.