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26 Lake Street Leighton Buzzard

26 Lake Street June 2008
26 Lake 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.

26 Lake Street was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. The building was dated to the early 19th century and is built of red brick with a Welsh slated roof with a cornice. Unusually, for this part of Lake Street, it has just two storeys. In 1819 Benjamin Bevan published a map of Leighton Buzzard which was enhanced two years later with a reference book showing the owners and occupiers of each property shown on the map. The site of 26 is occupied by two small cottages which were probably pulled down to build 26. Interestingly both were owned by William Claridge and were unoccupied in 1821, suggesting that they were about to be demolished - this would give a tentative date of about 1822 for 26 Lake Street.

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 26 Lake Street [DV1/R80/1] discovered that the owner was C. R. Turner and the occupier William Turner at a rent of £30 per annum from 1925. The building had a basement coal cellar. On the ground floor were: a small entrance; two sitting rooms; a kitchen and a living room. Three bedrooms, a bathroom with W. C. and a dressing room stood on the first floor. Outside stood a brick and tile washhouse and W. C. the valuer noted: "bathroom and W. C. and small dressing room over passage entrance; brick and tile terrace very fair repair; yard".