61 George Street Luton
George Street in 1901 - to see a larger version, please click on the image
61 George Street is first listed in a directory of 1869 when it was in occupation of John Mares, outfitter. By 1871 Mares was also a grocer but by 1885 the property was occupied by Benjamin Bennett, straw hat manufacturer. He is last listed at the property in 1924, after which he occupied next door 59 George Street for a time.
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 National and Provincial Bank owned and occupied 61 George Street in 1928 [DV1/R7/54]. The basement strong room measured 16 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches and the basement also contained a furnace, store rooms measuring 14 feet 6 inches by 12 feet 6 inches and 4 feet by 9 feet and a lift.
77 to 61 (furthest from camera) George Street about 1910 [Z1306/75]
The ground floor comprised a public area divided into two measuring 22 feet 9 inches by 24 feet and 9 feet by 15 feet with a lavatory and a manager's office measuring 8 feet 3 inches by 15 feet. The manager was R. Johnston. The valuer commented: "old plastered building".
The bank continued in occupationuntil at least 1931, after which it occupied 59 George Street. Jay's Furnishing Stores, which had briefly occupied 45 George Street, was in occupation by at least 1939 and remained until at least 1968. By 1972 Cavendish Furnishing Stores were in occupation, as they were at the time of the last Kelly's Directory for Luton in 1975. At the time of writing  the premises is once more a bank. Barclays is in occupation whilst its premises at 28 George Street is refurbished.
61 George Street June 2010