39 High Town Road Luton
39 High Town Road June 2011
The impressive, three storey peremises at 39 High Town Road was a builder's offices in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It then became a boot maker's shop with billiard tables upstairs and was still a shoe shop as late as 1975. At the time of writing  it is a house furnishing shop.
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: Daniel Parkins, builder and contractor, wholesale and general ironmonger and paint, glass and colour merchant;
- 1898: Daniel Parkins, builder and contractor, manufacturing joiner, wholesale and general ironmonger, gasfitter and plumber and paint, glass and colour merchant;
- 1903: Daniel Parkins, builder and contractor, manufacturing joiner, wholesale and general ironmonger and colour merchant;
- 1906: Daniel Parkins, builder and contractor;
- 1910: Daniel Parkins, builder and contractor;
- 1920: 39 – Mrs. Annie Stratton, florist; 39a – D. E. Mitchell, billiard rooms;
- 1924: 39 – Greenlees & Sons, bootmakers; 39a – D. E. Mitchell, billiard rooms;
- 1928: 39 – Greenlees & Sons, bootmakers; 39a – Edward T. Mitchell, billiard rooms;
- 1931: 39 – Greenlees & Sons, bootmakers; 39a – Edward T. Mitchell, billiard rooms;
- 1936: 39 – Greenlees & Sons, bootmakers; 39a – Edward T. Mitchell, billiard rooms;
- 1939: 39 - Greenlees & Son; 39a – Albert C. Neale; rear – A. C. Neale;
- 1940: 39 – Greenlees & Sons, boot makers; 39a – Edward T. Mitchell, billiard rooms;
- 1950: Greenlees & Sons Limited; rear – H. T. Billiards Limited;
- 1960: A. & D. Neale Limited, boot and shoe dealers;
- 1965: A. & D. Neale Limited, boot and shoe dealers;
- 1968: Tomies Shoes, shoe dealers; 39a – Mrs. D. Bowen; 39b – John Common; 39c – Barry Smith;
- 1972: Tomies Shoes, shoe dealers; Flat 3 – Peter Murphy;
- 1974: Tomies Shoes, shoe dealers; Flat 3 – Peter Murphy;
- 1975: Tomies Shoes, shoe dealers; Flat 3 – Peter Murphy; Flat 2 (39a) – Thomas E. Flattley;
- 2011: Grandior Furnishings.
A commercial catalogue from about 1890 describes Daniel Parkins' business: "A well-known member of the business community of Luton is Mr. D. Parkins, Builder and Contractor, Undertaker, and General Ironmonger, whose establishment is situated in the High Town Road in three-storied premises. A large shop, well fitted up and appointed, contains an exhaustive stock of merchandise, among which are to be found locks, bolts, chains, and all descriptions of builders' ironmongery, stoves, ranges, grates, spoutings, sheet lead, lead and composition piping, gasfittings, rolled plate, sheet, and other glass, paints, oils, colours, varnishes, knottings, etc., screws, nails, etc., etc. There is a large stock of paperhangings at manufacturers' and London prices (usual trade terms and particulars and pattern books forwarded on application). As a builder Mr. Parkins is well known, and for this branch he possesses every facility. In the yard adjoining the premises, and at the rear, are situated all the requisite workshops for carpenters or joiners, plumbers, painters and others in the various branches of the trade. A large wholesale, as well as a capital retail trade in general ironmongery is done by Mr. Parkins, who is a very enterprising merchant, and is held in great respect by all who know him".
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 39 High Town Road [DV1/R59/13] found it owned and occupied by Edward Thomas Mitchell who ran a billiards saloon at the rear of the premises. Six tables occupied a space measuring 27 feet by 70 feet on both the ground and the first floors.
A first floor flat was occupied by one of Mitchell’s employees, J. Hawkings, at 7/- per week. He had a living room measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 12 feet, two bedrooms measuring, respectively, 14 feet square and 13 feet 6 inches by 7 feet 3 inches, a bathroom and a kitchen measuring 6 feet by 5 feet. A second floor flat was occupied by G. Barrett, who paid rent of 10/- per week for a living room measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 12 feet, two bedrooms measuring, respectively, 14 feet square and 13 feet 6 inches by 7 feet 3 inches and a kitchen measuring 10 feet by 7 feet. An extra £1 for use of the bathroom on the floor below. Three attics lay at the top of the building.