40 Lake Street Leighton Buzzard
40 Lake Street seen from Lake Street November 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 Lake 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.
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 40 Lake Street, which clearly postdates 1821, was a building owned a Mrs. Ashwell (part of a row) and occupied by a J. Weeks.
40 Lake Street was, in 1891, a baker's shop, run by Charles E. Frank, whose lodger was the Headmaster of Beaudesert Boys School, later the infamous Chief Education Officer for the Local Education Authority, Frank Spooner. 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 40 Lake Street [DV1/R56/78] found it owned by R. H. Rush and occupied by William South, a confectioner on a twenty one year lease from June 1927 at a rent of £36 per annum.
The premises had a basement cellar measuring 14 feet by 20 feet. The ground floor contained the shop, measuring 14 feet 6 inches by 20 feet. Private accommodation comprised a sitting room of 13 feet by 11 feet, a kitchen measuring 13 feet by 11 feet and a scullery of 12 feet by 6 feet 6 inches. The first floor had another sitting room, measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 20 feet and two bedrooms measuring 13 feet b y11 feet each. The third floor contained three rooms with the same measurements as those immediately below. The valuer noted: "No Bath or W. C." That W. C. lay outside along with a brick and slate lean-to comprising two bakehouses measuring 11 feet by 13 feet and 10 feet by 11 feet and an oven of 12 feet by 11 feet. The oven, which belonged to the tenant and was new, could contain three quarters of a sack of flour and had a fitted steam pipe. A note states "Old Bake oven not used, Note: tenant re-built bake-house and put in new oven". The valuer summed up the property thus: "Good repair. Corner position too fat from centre of Town".
40 Lake Street seen from Grove Road November 2008