17 High Town Road Luton
17 High Town Road June 2011
17 High Town Road stands on the corner of Cross Street. For most of its life it was a baker's shop. As a sign of the times it was a tattoo parlour in June 2011 but by August that year had become a Polish grocer's shop..
The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting 17 High Town Road [DV1/R59/10] found it owned and occupied by Redrup and Starking Limited. This firm had a hardware business at 1 High Town Road and a grocery at 9 High Town Road. 17 High Town Road was a bakery. It occupied, then as now, a corner site on the corner of High Town Road and Cross Street. The High Town Road frontage was 10 feet 3 inches and the return frontage 14 feet.
The shop measured 10 feet 3 inches by 14 feet. Two ground floor offices measured 8 feet by 7 feet 6 inches and 12 feet by 10 feet respectively, a store measuring 8 feet 6 inches by 10 feet. Another office lay on the first floor, measuring 12 feet by 10 feet, along with three store rooms measuring 10 feet 3 inches by 10 feet, 7 feet by 11 feet and 10 feet by 8 feet 6 inches respectively. The bakery itself measured 20 feet by 9 feet 6 inches and contained a two tier oven. A store room measuring 9 feet 6 inches by 32 feet stood over the bakehouse. The discrepancy of 12 feet between the width of the bakery and the store may be accounted for by one of the ground floor rooms, such as the 12 feet by 10 feet office. A three stall stable measuring 16 feet by 11 feet with a loft of the same size over it stood outside. The valuer commented: “Poor looking place”.
A later visit to the premises [DV1/AP3/3] noted that the work carried on was “confectionary baking”, presumably cakes. The valuer noted that the shop was new and that the premises was “Primarily Shop etc. & Stables”. £3,617 had been spent improving the premises for the six moths ending March 1929, £800 on the shop and £2,817 on the bakehouse.
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has a Borough of Luton Public Health Department Shops Act 1934 Section 10 inspection book [BorL/EH/14/1]. This book reveals that on 8th October 1937 the premises was heated by electric radiators. A men’s toilet stood in the yard and a women’s on the first floor, but the inspector commented: “Staff also encouraged to use conveniences in toilet rooms at No. 9 High Town Road”. The premises had very good natural lighting and also electric lights. Dinner was taken off the premises (presumably in their own homes) and tea was taken in the café. Two women and one boy and one girl under eighteen worked at the property.
Directories for Bedfordshire were published every few years from 1839, for example, the beginning of the 20th century has directories for 1903, 1906, 1910 and 1914. Countywide directories ceased to be published during the Second World War, the last for Bedfordshire being in 1940. Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has directories just for Luton for 1939, 1950, 1960, 1965, 1968, 1972, 1974 and 1975. The first street numbers in High Town Road begin to appear in directories in 1885 but it looks as if there was a renumbering of properties between 1890 and 1894.
- 1894: Harty James Wells, upholsterer;
- 1898: John Charles Biggs, baker;
- 1906: Frederick Jabez Redrup, baker;
- 1910: Frederick Jabez Redrup, baker;
- 1914: Frederick Jabez Redrup, baker;
- 1920: Redrup & Starkings, bakers and grocers; Frederick Jabez Redrup, baker;
- 1924: Redrup & Starkings Limited, bakers;
- 1928: Redrup & Starkings Limited, bakers;
- 1931: Redrup & Starkings Limited, bakers;
- 1936: Redrup & Starkings Limited, bakers;
- 1939: Redrup & Starkings Limited;
- 1940: Redrup & Starkings Limited, bakers;
- 1950: Redrup & Starkings Limited;
- 1960: Redrup & Starkings Limited, bakers;
- 1965: not listed;
- 1968: vacant;
- 1972: R. Perry, confectioner;
- 1974: R. Perry, fancy goods;
- 1975: R. Perry, fancy goods;
- 2011: HighTown Tattoo Studio;
- 2011: Siedemnastka, Polish grocers
17 High Town Road August 2011