1 High Town Road Luton
1 to 3 High Town Road June 2011
1 High Town Road is first recorded in a directory in 1894 when it was a plait bleacher and dyer, steam flour miller and corn dealer. It was later, briefly, a tailor's shop and a car showroom before becoming the hardware department of Redrup and Starkings. In its later life it has been a bookmaker's, tool maker's and electrical engineer's shop, a pipework business, a poster outlet and, at the time of writing  a grocery and off-licence. Charmingly, the old Redrup and Starkings sign is still located over the window more than fifty years after that business closed.
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 1 High Town Road [DV1/R59/7] found it owned and occupied by Redrup and Starkings Limited. The firm ran a bakers’ shop at 17 High Town Road and a grocers’ shop at 9 High Town Road. 1 High Town Road, as noted above, was the hardware shop. The shop itself was divided into three sections measuring 12 feet 6 inches by 15 feet, 12 feet 6 inches by 18 feet 6 inches and 13 feet 6 inches by 8 feet respectively. A stock room at the back measured 12 feet by 7 feet and a first floor store 14 feet by 28 feet. There were two cellars (“good height”) measuring 14 feet 6 inches by 34 feet and 13 feet 6 inches by 29 feet respectively.
Also on the ground floor lay and office measuring 7 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches, a dry store measuring 21 feet square, a bacon store measuring 15 feet by 21 feet (presumably serving the grocery outlet at 9 High Town Road) and a back store measuring 21 feet by 19 feet. The first floor contained a store measuring 36 feet by 21 feet; the second floor had a soap store measuring 36 feet by 21 feet and a paper store measuring 36 feet by 21 feet occupied the loft.
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 property was heated by gas and electric radiators. A toilet room over the hardware department contained a men’s toilet, a urinal and a women’s toilet. Natural light was poor in the premises but electric lighting was provided. Meals were taken off the premises by the four men and two women who worked there.
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 some renumbering of properties on the odd side of the road between 1890 and 1894.
- 1894: Charles John Rosson junior, straw plait bleacher and dyer, steam flour miller and corn dealer;
- 1898: Charles John Rosson junior, steam flour miller and corn dealer;
- 1903: Frederick Jason Cook, tailor;
- 1906: Frederick Jason Cook, tailor;
- 1914: Luton Motor & Rubber Company, motor car dealers and repairers;
- 1924: Redrup & Starkings Limited, hardware dealers;
- 1928: Redrup & Starkings Limited, hardware dealers;
- 1931: Redrup & Starkings Limited, hardware dealers;
- 1936: Redrup & Starkings Limited, hardware dealers;
- 1939: Redrup & Starkings Limited;
- 1940: Redrup & Starkings Limited, hardware dealers;
- 1950: Redrup & Starkings Limited;
- 1960: not listed;
- 1965: R. E. Swain, turf commission agent;
- 1968: 1 - R. E. Swain, turf commission agent; 1a – Adroit Tool & Production Company, tool makers; Burton Engineering Company, electronic engineers;
- 1972: 1 - R. J. Murphy, turf accountant; 1a – Media Poster Company; Automotive & General Pipework Company Limited;
- 1974: 1 – R. J. Murphy, turf accountant; 1a – A. P. Matson, electrical contractor;
- 1975: R. J. Murphy, turf accountant;
- 2011: Number One Groceries and Off-Licence.