52 High Town Road Luton
50 and 52 High Town Road June 2011
52 High Town Road was a butcher's shop in the early part of the 20th century. In the latter part oft he century the property was a private house for about fifteen years. It is now  a hairdresser's salon, along with 50 High Town 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.
- 1890: William Sills, music seller;
- 1894: George Humphrey, engineer; George Humphrey, sewing machine engineer;
- 1898: Mrs. Linda Waller, pork butcher;
- 1903: Mrs. Sarah Jane Waller, pork butcher;
- 1906: George Albert Waller, pork butcher;
- 1910: George Albert Waller, pork butcher;
- 1914: George A. Waller & Company, pork butchers;
- 1920: George A. Waller & Company, pork butchers;
- 1924: Arthur Edmund Fisher, butcher;
- 1928: Arthur Edmund Fisher, butcher;
- 1931: Arthur Edmund Fisher, butcher;
- 1936: Arthur Edmund Fisher, butcher;
- 1939: Arthur E. Fisher; 52a – vacant;
- 1940: Arthur Edmund Fisher, butcher;
- 1950: A. E. Fisher;
- 1960: George Kitcher;
- 1965: George Kitcher;
- 1968: George Kitcher;
- 1972: George Kitcher;
- 1974: George Kitcher;
- 1975: George Kitcher; A. B. Judkins, jeweller;
- 2011: Route Sxity 6 hairdressers.
A commercial magazine of about 1890 gives more information on music seller W. Sills: "The pianoforte and music trade generally is well represented at the establishment of Mr. W. Sills, which occupies a prominent position in the High Town Road, and forms a favourite centre of this important trade with a large section of the local musical public. This business has been established about three years, and has already taken a prominent place in Luton and its vicinity. The proprietor possesses a practical knowledge, and employs experienced tuners, who visit all parts of the district, this work being undertaken either by yearly or quarterly contract, or by the single operation, as desired. The premises are three-storied in height, and have a fairly good frontage. A large window provides for the effective display of high-class goods, which alone are here kept in stock. The shop or showroom is of good size, and is admirably appointed, and contains a fine selection of pianofortes, American organs, harmoniums and various other musical instruments, all by leading makers and perfect in construction, tone and touch. All the most fashionable new music is also here procurable, frequent parcels being received from the London publishers; while any piece not already in stock is promptly procured by the proprietor, who omits nothing which may conduce to the convenience of his patrons".
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 52 High Town Road [DV1/R59/37] found it owned, like 50 High Town Road next door, by Walter George Heley and leased by Arthur Edmund Fisher, a butcher, who also had premises at 25 George Street. He paid £82 per annum rent of a seven year lease from 1921.
A refrigerating plant lay in one of the two cellars. On the ground floor lay a cold store measuring 9 feet by 12 feet and an office and a shop measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 15 feet. A scullery lay at the rear. A reception room and a bedroom lay on the first floor and two attic bedrooms on the second floor. A two horsepower motor served the refrigerating plant.
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 Fisher was still in occupation in November 1936. Ventilation was by a fanlight and a continuous grille over the window and a one inch space between the bottom of the glass and the window cill. There was no heating in the building. A toilet was located in the yard at basement level. Natural lighting was very good and artificial lighting was by electricity. The inspector noted: “Shop closed for dinner. Tea off premises”. There were two men and one woman employed in the shop.
The inspector on 16th November 1936 commented: “The w. c. in connection with No. 52 is used by the occupier and by the 1 male assistant. The female assistant uses the external w. c. in connection with No. 50, owned by A. E. Fisher and vacant at time of visit. The w. c. at 52 was found to be unventilated, unlighted and the seat was broken at date of visit, for which notice was served. The ventilation, lighting and broken seat were attended to by December 1936. On 14th May 1937 the inspector noted: “Visited and found Shop No. 50 now occupied and w. c. formerly used by Staff (female) of No. 52 now allotted to No. 50. New w. c. to be provided in yard of No. 52. Interviewed Wilson senior, manager”. The new toilet was not, in fact, ready until September 1938!