44 George Street Luton
George Street in 1901 - to see a larger version, please click on the image
44 George Street lay at the junction with Bond Street and was first listed in Kelly's Directory for Bedfordshire of 1894 when it was in the occupation of William S. Baker, straw hat manufacturer; he had been at 29 Buxton Road in 1890. Baker is last listed in 1898 and by 1910 Button Brothers, hosiers were in occupation, along with J. J. Linsell and Company, straw plait merchants. the latter firm was also next door at 42 George Street. Button Brothers were last listed at the address in 1920 and from at least 1924 the premises were shared by Linsells with J. Sear and Company (True-Form Boot Company) Limited.
The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and building in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Most of Bedfordshire was valued in 1927. Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service is lucky in having the valuer's notebook covering most of George Street. Evidence in the book shows that the survey of George Street took place in 1928.
34 (nearest the camera) to 48 George Street about 1910 [Z1306/75]
The valuer discovered that 44 George Street was owned, as well as occupied, by J. J. Linsell & Company. The company used the basement, first and second floors as offices and warehouse space. The 8 feet high basement store measured 16 feet by 38 feet. Four offices lay on the first floor for a total of 16 feet 6 inches and 39 feet and a store room on the second floor measured 16 feet 6 inches by 39 feet.
Another part of the basement as well as the ground floor were leased to J. Sear & Company, a division of True Form Boot Company which had a factory in Northampton. The lease was split into three seven year periods from 1928 at a rent of £250 per annum. The shop frontage was 17 feet 9 inches. The basement ("very small") measured 10 feet by 7 feet 6 inches. The shop measured 16 feet 9 inches by 41 feet and two back stores measured 6 feet 6 inches square and 10 feet square respectively. The valuer commented: "Good window" and "Isolated by Hucklesby's and Linsell's warehouses". The property had a 12 feet 6 inches return frontage to Bond Street.
At some point after the survey both Linsells and Sears vacated the building and by 1939 Marks and Spencer were in occupation of 44, along with 42 and 40 George Street, remaining at the site until 2010 when the firm moved into the Arndale Centre. Directories show that part of the premises, labelled 44a, was occupied by MacFisheries from at least 1960 until at least 1972.
40 to 44 George Street June 2010 - the party of the building immediately next to MacDonalds marks the location of Bond Street.