Beechcroft School Leighton Buzzard
Beechcroft School Hockliffe Street about 1927 [Z1306/72]
The Rating and Valuation Act of 1925 stated that every piece of land and building in the country had to be valued to determine the rates to be paid on it. Leighton Buzzard was valued in 1927 and when the valuer visited Beechcroft, 29 Hockliffe Street [DV1/R80/45] he discovered that it was a private school. The owner/occupier was Miss Millicent C.Draper and the building comprised, on the ground floor: an entrance hall; a sitting room; a drawing room; a classroom; a cloakroom; a kitchen and pantry; a meals room and a washhouse. A store cellar lay beneath. On the first floor were: two classrooms; a cloakroom; a bathroom; a W.C; a toilet [in the sense of somewhere to wash]; three bedrooms and a dressing room. The second floor comprised seven bedrooms and a housemaid's pantry. Outside were a brick W.C., cupboard and woodshed and a wood and corrugated iron lean-to shelter as well as the kitchen garden and pleasure grounds. The school was large, 45 day pupils and two boarders but, the valuer noted: "working at a loss". Miss Draper's school first appears in Kelly's Directory in 1914.
The 1901 Census records Beechcroft as occupied by John F.McClune, a 48 year old schoolmaster from Ireland showing that Miss Draper's school may have been a continuation of an earlier institution, although McClune's school does not appear in any directories. McClune is listed with two of his four daughters, aged 18 and 19 and just one student, Edward Thomas, a 19 year old from Tredegar in Wales. The census was undertaken on the night of Sunday 31st March indicating that the great majority of McClune's students were day students or weekly boarders who had not yet arrived back at school.
Millicent Draper's school at Beechcroft appears in Kelly's Directory in 1931, by the time of the next one, in 1936 there is no mention. Oddly, in the directory for 1940 a Beechcroft School is listed, but run by Miss E.N.James at 39 Billington Road. Beechcroft still stands, it is now called Delta House and is now numbered 33 Hockliffe Street. The house is now owned by Leighton Buzzard Baptist Church.
Delta House 33 Hockliffe Street June 2008