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62 George Street Luton

George Street in 1901
George Street in 1901 - to see a larger version, please click on the image

62 George Street was first listed in a directory of 1871 as in the occupation of William Baden, china dealer. He was listed in directories of 1864 and 1869 as occupying undisclosed premises in Market Hill. He was listed in 1877 as "china, glass, earthenware and fancy glass warehouse". By the time of the next directory for the county, 1885, Munt, Brown and Company, straw hat manufacturers, were in occupation. In Kelly's Directory for the county of 1898 Arthur Panter and Compant, straw hat manufacturers, were in occupation and by 1906 the occupiers were Webb Brothers, outfitters.

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.

68 (nearest the camera) to 60 George Street about 1920 [Z1306/75]
68 (nearest the camera) to 60 George Street about 1920 [Z1306/75]

The valuer discovered that 62 George Street was owned by H. O. Williams and let to Webb Brothers (Outfitters) Limited on a seven year lease from 1925. Rent was £335 per annum. The building had a frontage to George Street of 20 feet with a return frontage to Bute Street of 49 feet [DV1/R7/11].

The "useless" basement under the shop was "for empties". The ground floor corner shop measured 18 feet 6 inches by 36 feet 6 inches and a second area measuring 22 feet 9 inches by 26 feet 6 inches. The first floor had showrooms measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 23 feet 6 inches and 22 feet by 26 feet. The second floor ("not used") had three front stock rooms measuring 9 feet 6 inches by 14 feet, 18 feet 6 inches by 8 feet 6 inches and 8 feet 6 inches by 12 feet 6 inches. A back room measured 22 feet by 26 feet.

The valuer commented: "down 4 steps", "very old premises" and "very poor condition". He also noted: "No outbuildings. New part and fittings nice inside" and "plain window".

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 27th May 1937 the premises was heated by three how water radiators. A men's toilet stood on the first floor and a women's used to stand on the second floor, though there were no longer any females employed by that date. The premises had "poor to good" natural lighting supplemented by electric lights. The two assistants took tea in the first floor fitting room, no mention being made of a messroom so the rest of the staff presumably ate and the main meal was provided offiste. Staff comprised three men and three boys under eighteen.

Webb Brothers were last listed at the property in Kelly's Directory for Luton of 1972. By 1975, the last Kelly's for Luton, the premises was vacant.

62 to 66 George Street June 2010
62 to 66 George Street June 2010