48 and 48a High Town Road Luton
48 and 48a High Town Road June 2011
48 and 48a High Town Road comprise an impressive three storey building on the corner of Duke Street. For most of the 20th century the two shops were quite distinct but at the time of writing  form one suite of offices of a firm of accountants.
A commercial catalogue for Bedfordshire of about 1890 has an entry for Bartle Rollings, clothier and draper, whose business operated from these premises: "Among the better-class houses of the kind in the town of Luton, we must accord a special place to that of Mr. B. F. Rollings, Draper, Clothier, etc., which is one of the most prominent centres of this trade in the district of High Town. For upwards of eighteen years this establishment has been in existence, and during the whole of that period has been wel lsupported by the residents. The goods supplied are invariably of a first-class quality. Mr. Rollings was the first to succeed in the drapery trade at High Town, and it may be stated that his present large business has been built up from a small concern. The premises in which this business is carried on form a conspicuous feature of the locality, being prminnently situated at the corner of the High Town Road and Duke Street. To the latter there are three fine windows, and to High Town Road one. In these there is a very select display of superior goods, all the latest fashions or styles being adequately represented. These are invariably arranged with both skill and taste, and reflect the greatest credit on the window-dressers. The interior is well appointed and spacious, with a frontage of over seventy feet, and thus affords ample accommodation for a large stock, while the several departments are each well organised, and the whole ably and well managed under the personal supervision of the principal. Mr. Rollings possesses a thoroughly intimate aquaintance with every detail of the trade, and is thus enabled to purchase largely in the most advantageous markets, and by this his patrons eventually benefit equally with himeslf. The drapery department contains an exceptionally diversified stock, which embraces silks, satins, velvets, ribbons, sheetings, linens, calicoes, flannels, skirts, hosiery, lace, haberdashery, dress febrics, prints, shirtings, quilts, trimmings, blankets, corsets, umbrellas etc. etc., and all articles are of a superior order, and well adapted to the class of trade done. Clothing etc., constitute another important section of this valuable business, and in this the stock kept on hand is equally large. A good staff of assistants is employed, and great credit is due to the proprietor for his administrative ability".
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 48 and 48a High Town Road found them owned by the trustees of Bartle F. Rollings. The premises occupied a corner site with a return frontage of 13 feet to Duke Street.
48a High Town Road was leased by Alfred Monger who was a draper. He paid rent of £100 per annum. The window measured 5 feet across. The shop was in two parts measuring, respectively, 16 feet by 15 feet and 16 feet by 18 feet. Private accommodation comprised a reception room, two bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor and three bedrooms on the second floor. 48 High Town Road next door was the White Rose Café. The White Rose Catering Company (Luton) Limited also had premises in the Corn Exchange on Market Hill, at 16 Leagrave Road and at 1 Wimborne Road.
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.
- 1898: Bartle F. Rollings, draper;
- 1903: Arthur Henry Clark, confectioner; Bartle F. Rollings, draper;
- 1906: Arthur Henry Clark, confectioner; Bartle F. Rollings, draper;
- 1910: Alfred Monger, draper;
- 1914: 48 - Tom Howard Barnes, confectioner; 48a – Alfred Monger, draper;
- 1920: 48 – Frank Theobald, confectioner; 48a – Alfred Monger, draper;
- 1924: 48 - Frank Theobald, confectioner; 48a - Alfred Minger, draper;
- 1928: 48 - William Austin, confectioner; 48a – Alfred Monger, draper;
- 1931: 48 – White Rose Catering Company (Luton) Limited; 48a – Alfred Monger, draper;
- 1936: 48 – White Rose Catering Company (Luton) Limited; 48a – E. & M. Dunbar Limited, drapers;
- 1939: 48 – J. B. Turnbull; White Rose Catering Company Limited; 48a – E. & M. Dunbar Limited;
- 1940: 48 – White Rose Catering Company (Luton) Limited; 48a - E. & M. Dunbar Limited, drapers;
- 1950: 48 – White Rose Catering Company Limited; 48a – E. & M. Dunbar Limited;
- 1960: 48 – James B. Turnbull; 48a - E. & M. Dunbar Limited, drapers;
- 1965: 48 and 48a - E. & M. Dunbar Limited, drapers; 48a – Reginald Miller;
- 1968: 48 and 48a - E. & M. Dunbar Limited, drapers; 48a – Ethel Miller; 48a – David A. Dunbar;
- 1972: 48 and 48a - E. & M. Dunbar Limited, drapers; 48a – Ethel Miller; 48a – David A. Dunbar;
- 1974: 48 and 48a - E. & M. Dunbar Limited, drapers; 48a – Ethel Miller; 48a – David A. Dunbar;
- 1975: vacant;
- 2011: August Martyn, accountants.