41 High Town Road Luton
41 High Town Road June 2011
41 High Town Road was a hardware dealer's in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For forty years or so in the mid 20th century it was a branch of Home and Colonial Stores Limited, a grocery business. At the time of writing  it is a Polich delicatessen serving the large local Eastern European population.
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 41 High Town Road [DV1/R59/14] found it owned and occupied as a private house by John Wheeler, who also owned 43 High Town Road next door. Accommodation comprised a kitchen and scullery on the ground floor, above a cellar which was not used. A bedroom and a reception room lay on the first floor and two further bedrooms on the second floor.
A lockup shop occupied part of the ground floor. This was rented by Mrs. E. Seabrook , who paid a “low” rent of 15/- per week. The shop measured 15 feet 9 inches by 15 feet. Unfortunately neither the valuer nor Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire of 1928 gives any information on the nature of the shop.
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 41 High Town Road was then the Home and Colonial grocery stores. Ventilation was provided by a fanlight over the door and a continuous grille over the window. There was no heating in the shop or in the packing room behind but there was an electric radiator in the cashier’s office. At the time of the visit in November 1936 the toilet was in a room behind the shop with “no intervening ventilation space”, a note of 16th November 1936 reads: “Visited and found 1 w. c. for use of both sexes and communicating directly with food preparation room”. This was rectified by June 1937 when the toilet was moved to the yard. Natural lighting was good and artificial lighting was electric. Dinner was taken off the premises and tea was taken in the packing room behind the shop. Employees in November 1936 comprised three men, one woman, two boys under eighteen and one girl under eighteen.
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: John Wheeler, hardware dealer;
- 1898: John Wheeler, hardware dealer;
- 1903: John Wheeler, hardware dealer;
- 1906: John Wheeler, hardware dealer;
- 1910: John Wheeler, hardware dealer;
- 1914: John Wheeler, hardware dealer;
- 1920: Arthur Francis Durrant, confectioner;
- 1931: Home & Colonial Stores Limited, tea dealers;
- 1936: Home & Colonial Stores Limited, tea dealers;
- 1939: Home & Colonial Stores
- 1940: Home & Colonial Stores Limited, tea dealers;
- 1950: Home & Colonial Stores Limited;
- 1960: Home & Colonial Stores Limited (H. & C. (Retail) Limited), grocers;
- 1965: Home & Colonial Stores Limited (H. & C. (Retail) Limited), grocers;
- 1968: Home & Colonial Stores Limited (H. & C. (Retail) Limited), grocers;
- 1972: rear – J. M. & W. Holdstock, engineers;
- 1974: Hi-Town Fashions, ladies’ fashions; rear of – J. M. and W. Holdstock, engineers;
- 1975: Hi-Town Fashions, ladies’ fashions; rear of – J. M. and W. Holdstock, engineers;
- 2011: Delicje, Polish delicatessen.