52 George Street Luton
George Street in 1901 - to see a larger version, please click on the image
52 George Street was first listed in a directory of 1869 when it was in the occupation of Blundell Brothers, "linen drapers, mantle and silk warehousemen, funeral furnishers and undertakers, upholsterers and house furnishers". It was one of the many properties they had in George Street at different times, which included 8 to 10, 12 to 16, 30 and 59.
By the time of the next Bedfordshire directory, 1885, the premises was occupied by Boutwood and Archer, straw hat manufacturers. The premises is not listed again until 1931.
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.
The valuer discovered that 52 George Street was owned by Arthur Edmund Fisher, a butcher whose premises were at 25 George Street. He leased it to Rego Clothiers Limited, the head office of which was at 110/112 High Street, Shoreditch [Middlesex] on a fifty year lease from 1925 at £1,000 per annum in rent [DV1/R7/14]. The frontage to George Street was 44 feet with a "very good window".
The ground floor shop had a number of areas, measuring 40 feet 9 inches by15 feet, 40 feet 9 inches by 8 feet, 47 feet 3 inches by 24 feet 6 inches, 23 feet 9 inches by 8 feet 6 inches and 14 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 6 inches respectively. There was a rear packing room with a block floor as a lean-to measuring 15 feet 3 inches by 24 feet 6 inches.
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 4th May 1938 Rego Clothiers was heated by two ten unit gas radiators. A men's toilet was at the rear of the premises. the property had fair lighting but electric light was also provided. Dinner and tea were taken off the premises by the three men and one boy under eighteen employed there, presumably at their own homes. At the time of the inspection it was discovered that the w. c. pedestal was a broken and a minor saga then resulted:
14th May 1938: Interviewed Mr. Wilson of A. E. Fisher re liability or non-liability of occupiers in the matter - deeds to be referred to.
14th June 1938: Interviewed District Manager - occupiers to do work.
1st July 1938: Work satisfactorily completed.
Rego Clothiers were last listed in a directory of 1950 and in Kelly's Directory for Luton of 1960 the property is listed as forming part of the next door George Hotel. It was also let to Weaver to Wearer Limited, tailors. Both the George and Weaver to wearer are last listed in 1965 and by 1968 the occupant was Neville Read, tailor. By the time of Kelly's Directory for 1972 the property is no longer listed.
48 to 52 George Street June 2010