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34 and 36 High Street Leighton Buzzard

34-36 High Street June 2008
34 and 36 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.

34 and 36 High Street were listed by the former Department of Environment in 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. They are deceptively old, considered to be late 16th or early 17th century. They are timber-framed and have a steeply pitched roof with a central chimneystack. They comprise two storeys. the shop fronts are 19th century. The timber-framing has been exposed on the first storey of Number 34 whilst Number 36 has what the Department described as "rusticated stucco" in black and white.

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 Numbers 34-36 are as follows:

Number 34

  • 1819: owner J. Page; occupier G. Nash;
  • 1823-1841: John Inwood[s], cabinet maker;
  • 1851: John Hoster, tailor;
  • 1861-1891: unoccupied auctioneer's office;
  • 1903: Edward Tattam, wine and spirit merchant;
  • 1906: William Porter, saddler;
  • 1928: J. H. Green and Company, corn merchants;
  • 1931: Fletcher & Dimmock, tinsmiths;
  • 1936: Fletcher & Dimmock, oils and colours;
  • 1940: Dennis Bignell, café;
  • 1972: Devereux Hardware;
  • 1980: Watsons Estate Agents;

Number 36

  • 1819: owner/occupier: J. Page;
  • 1823-1861: Charles Page, ironmonger;
  • 1871: John Farr, ironmonger;
  • 1881-1906: Edward Grace, corn dealer and mealman;
  • 1928: J. H. Green and Company, corn merchants;
  • 1936: Thomas Brantom and Company Limited, corn merchants;
  • 1986: Brantoms, seed merchants

Numbers 34-36

  • 2000-2008: Selections Pet and Garden Store

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 the two properties [DV1/R74/78] assessed both together as Number 36. The structure was owned, as well as occupied, by J. H. Green and Company, corn merchants.

The ground floor premises comprised: a shop measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 20 feet with a bay measuring 4 feet by 12 feet; another measuring 11 feet by 7 feet; a front office measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 6 inches with a bay of 7 feet by 4 feet 6 inches; a back office measuring 5 feet by 17 feet and two private offices measuring 10 feet by 14 feet and 13 feet by 12 feet. A basement of 13 feet by 14 feet lay beneath the ground floor. Upstairs lay two stores measuring 10 feet by 14 feet and 12 feet by 8 feet as well as offices of 15 feet by 10 feet and 10 feet square and a W. C. On the second floor was an attic ("poor").

Outside stood a wash house with a loft over and a yard. At the time of writing [2009] the two properties are once more in one occupation, after about seventy years, as a pet and garden store.