45 George Street Luton
George Street in 1901 - to see a larger version, please click on the image
45 George Street is first listed in a directory in 1894 when Garratt and Cannon, confectioners were in occupation. They may have been at the premises in 1890 when they are listed simply as being in George Street. By 1894 Thomas George Roberts, tea merchant, was the occupier, along with 43 George Street, next door. By 1898 he was listed as grocer and provision merchant. He was last listed in 1914.
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.
43 and 45 George Street were owned by Arthur Day, pianoforte dealer [DV1/R7/43-44]. The frontage was 31 feet to George Street. The basement contained two rooms, one 21 feet by 23 feet and the other, "not used", 21 feet by 12 feet. The show room had a frontage of 23 feet 6 inches to George Street and a return frontage of 8 feet 6 inches to Adelaide Terrace. The shop measured 21 feet by 51 feet and had a lobby and lift. Two back rooms, measuring 17 feet by 11 feet 6 inches and 17 feet by 12 feet, were used for selling gramophone records and two further back showrooms measured 17 feet by 12 feet 3 inches and 11 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 6 inches respectively.
There was also a back store room measuring 13 feet by 8 feet and two "old cottages as workshops" each measuring 10 feet square (not surprisingly these are annotated "very poor"), the upper parts of which were unused. A further workshop measuring 15 feet by 36 feet stood in the yard.
The first floor was "ordinarily used to store pianos" and had room at the front measuring 11 feet 6 inches by 20 feet, 9 feet 6 inches by 15 feet, 8 feet 6 inches by 10 feet and 10 feet by 20 feet. A back room was "used for public worship" and measured 11 feet by 20 feet. No place of public worship in George Street is noted in the 1928 Kelly's Directory pages for Luton. A back store room measured 11 feet by 21 feet. There were also: a corridor store measuring 8 feet 6 inches by 26 feet; a lift; a cloakroom; a back room measuring 11 feet by 12 feet; a lavatory; back rooms measuring 10 feet by 9 feet, 7 feet 6 inches by 12 feet and 22 feet by 13 feet and a rear kitchen measuring 13 feet by 11 feet.
The second floor contained two stores at the front measuring 11 feet by 21 feet and 9 feet 6 inches by 11 feet respectively as well as an office measuring 8 feet 9 inches by 10 feet 9 inches. A studio measured 10 feet by 20 feet 6 inches and was "nice". Like 41 George Street the buildings were demolished in September 1937.
By 1936 Jay's, house furnishers were listed at 45 George Street; they were also at Number 41. The new building was occupied by R. Chambers Limited, jewellers (previously at 49 George Street) by 1939. The firm was last listed in 1972.
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 1st July 1938 when the inspector called at R. Chambers Limited the property was owned by Associated British Cinemas Limited. The property was centrally heated and men's and women's toilets stood on the first floor. Natural lighting was "Satisfactory" and electric lighting was also provided. All meals were taken off the premises, presumably in the homes of the staff of two men and three women who worked there.
45 and 47 George Street June 2010