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53 High Town Road Luton

51 and 53 High Town Road June 2011
51 and 53 High Town Road June 2011

53 High Town Road has had a varied life. It has been a watchmaker's business and tobacconist's shop, a toy dealership, a draper's shop and a cycle dealership.

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 53 High Town Road found it, like 51 and 55 High Town Road next door, owned by Alfred Pridmore, who occupied this premises himself . He was a draper at the time but directories reveal this was his fourth line of trade, having been a watchmaker and a tobacconist from at least 1898 until at least 1914. He was solely a watchmaker in 1920 and in 1924 he is listed as a toy dealer.

The cellar was not used and above this lay the shop, measuring 11 feet 6 inches by 14 feet and a kitchen and scullery. Four bedrooms lay on the floor above. An old shed and an old brick and slate stable “used as lumber” stood outside along with a store.

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.

  • 1894: William Jeakings, greengrocer;
  • 1898: Harry Cooper, painter; Alfred Pridmore, watchmaker and tobacconist;
  • 1903: Alfred Pridmore, watchmaker and tobacconist;
  • 1906: Alfred Pridmore, watchmaker and tobacconist;
  • 1910: Alfred Pridmore, watchmaker and tobacconist;
  • 1914: Alfred Pridmore, watchmaker and tobacconist;
  • 1920: Alfred Pridmore, watchmaker;
  • 1924: Alfred Pridmore, toy dealer;
  • 1928: Alfred Pridmore, draper;
  • 1931: Alfred Pridmore, draper;
  • 1939: Alfred Pridmore; Misses S. & E. Pridmore;
  • 1950: Misses S. and E. Pridmore;
  • 1960: J. Stagg, shopkeeper;
  • 1965: Beck’s drapers;
  • 1968: Beck’s, ladies’ outfitters;
  • 1972: A. Shorter, cycle dealer;
  • 1974: A. Shorter, cycle dealer;
  • 1975: A Shorter, cycle dealer.