71 George Street Luton
George Street in 1901 - to see a larger version, please click on the image
71 George Street was first listed in 1885 when it was in the occupation of George Wilcox Gilder, straw hat manufacturer, who later also occupied 69 George Street. He was listed at Chapel Street in a directory of 1877. He was last listed at 71 George Street in Kelly's Directory for Bedfordshire of 1898By the Kelly's of 1903 the occupier was John Chadwick Kershaw and Company, straw hat manufacturer and plait merchant - the company is last listed at the address in Kelly's Directory for the county of 1936.
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.
77 (nearest the camera) to 61 George Street about 1910 [Z1306/75]
In 1928 this building was owned, as well as occupied, by John Chadwick Kershaw and, along with 69, 73 and 75 George Street, leased by him to J. C. Kershaw & Company Limited, straw hat manufacturers [DV1/R7/60].
71 George Street had no basement. On the ground floor were two rooms marked "export" and "office" measuring 18 feet 3 inches by 23 feet and 18 feet 3 inches by 39 feet respectively. There was also a proof shop measuring 18 feet by 21 feet and an engineers' workshop measuring 18 feet 3 inches by 11 feet. This room contained a two and a twelve horsepower motor and a total of 26 feet of 1½ inches shafting. A lean-to steaming room measured 13 feet 3 inches by 58 feet and contained a chimney ("for heat only") and a boiler.
The first floor contained a front office measuring 18 feet 9 inches by 17 feet 6 inches and a back office measuring 11 feet 6 inches by 12 feet 6 inches. A stock room measured 18 feet by 23 feet 6 inches. A felt finishing room lay at the rear measuring 18 feet by 19 feet 6 inches. An attic lay over this floor but, the valuer commented, "can't get up - no good".
By 1939 British Home Stores was in occupation. The site of the building is now beneath the current British Home Stores building. Directories show that in 1939 the site was shared by Dolcis Shoe Store and in 1960 by two firms: Designox, production consultants, design and drafting service and Caribonum Limited, carbon paper manufacturers.
69 to 75 George Street June 2010