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46 High Street Leighton Buzzard

46 High Street June 2008
46 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.

46 High Street was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. It only dates to the early to mid 19th century and is built of yellow brick with a Welsh slate roof.

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 46 are as follows:

  • 1819: owner/occupier T. L. Wood;
  • 1841: house of Ann Wood;
  • 1851: house of John Flint;
  • 1861: house of Sarah Flint;
  • 1871-1881: Frederick Pledger, draper;
  • 1891-1906: John Haskins, hairdresser, cigars, pipes etc.;
  • 1920-1940: William John Haskins, hairdresser, tobacco and cycle agent;
  • 1965: The Bedding Centre (S. R. Dillamore);
  • 1972: S. R. Dillamore;
  • 1986-2000: Dillamores, furnishings; Jackie Wilsher, staff bureau

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 46 High Street [DV1/R74/74] discovered that it was owned and occupied by William John Haskins, a hairdresser.

The building contained a basement cellar ("not used, damp") measuring 16 feet by 20 feet. The ground floor contained two shops measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 15 feet and 16 feet 6 inches by 5 feet. A back saloon measured 14 feet by 17 feet plus a bay of 3 feet 6 inches by 9 feet 6 inches; a ladies' saloon measured 11 feet by 12 feet 6 inches plus a bay of 3 feet 6 inches by 9 feet 6 inches. There was also a living room measuring 13 feet by 14 feet 6 inches and a scullery 12 feet by 17 feet. The first floor comprised: a bathroom and W. C.; two sitting rooms measuring 11 feet by 12 feet 6 inches and 12 feet by 17 feet 6 inches and two bedrooms measuring 11 feet by 12 feet and 8 feet by 17 feet 6 inches. The second floor had bedrooms measuring 8 feet by 17 feet 6 inches and 12 feet by 15 feet as well as three lean-to attics ("poor").

Outside stood a brick and tile one storey warehouse measuring 18 feet by 14 feet, a brick and tile one stall coachhouse ("used for stalls") and a W. C. as well as a small garden. The valuer summed up: "fair repair, double fronted shop, private entrance to house".