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73 High Town Road Luton

73 High Town Road June 2011
73 High Town Road June 2011

73 High Town Road has been both a grocer's shop and an off-licence. The latter part of the 20th century saw it as an engineer's and then a lawn mower servicing shop, the latter moving next door to 71 High Town Road where it still operates.

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 73 High Town Road [DV1/R59/23] found it was an off-licence and grocer’s shop, owned by Luton brewers J. W. Green Limited and let to Joseph Henry Smith, who also had a shop at 22 Dudley Street, he paid £100 per annum in rent on a fourteen year lease from 1922. the valuer noted: “This rent includes Cottage Number 98 Wenlock Street let to A. Grummett at 6/6 per week”.

Living accommodation comprised a reception room, a kitchen and a scullery with three bedrooms upstairs. The shop was divided into two areas measuring, respectively, 16 feet by 14 feet and 16 feet by 15 feet. A cellar measured 16 feet by 17 feet and contained a two horsepower motor. Outside stood a brick and slate store measuring 9 feet by 16 feet and a cold store measuring 9 feet by 14 feet, with another two horsepower motor. An area of animal pens measured 9 feet by 19 feet, a slaughterhouse measured 8 feet by 13 feet and a rending room measured 4 feet 6 inches by 15 feet.

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 by 16th November 1936 C. W. Atterbury was in occupation. Ventilation was provided by a fanlight and a continuous grille over the window. The premises was not heated. A men’s toilet with three ventilated stalls lay in the yard. Natural lighting was very good and electric light was provided. All meals were taken off the premises, the shop being closed for dinner. Tea was taken “in relays”. At the time there were four men and one boy under eighteen employed.

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: Jesse Inwood & Company, grocers and agents for W. A. Gilbey Limited, wine and spirit merchants;
  • 1898: Jesse Inwood & Company, grocers and agents for W. A. Gilbey Limited, wine and spirit merchants;
  • 1903: Joseph Henry Smith, grocer;
  • 1906: Joseph Henry Smith, grocer;
  • 1910: Joseph Henry Smith, grocer; George Woodbridge, bootmaker;
  • 1914: Joseph Henry Smith, grocer;
  • 1920: Joseph Henry Smith, grocer;
  • 1924: Joseph Henry Smith, grocer;
  • 1928: Joseph Henry Smith, grocer;
  • 1931: Joseph Henry Smith & Son, grocer;
  • 1936: Joseph Henry Smith & Son, grocer;
  • 1939: C. W. Atterbury;
  • 1940: J. W. Green Limited, grocers and tea dealers;
  • 1950: J. W. Green Limited;
  • 1960: Flowers Breweries Limited, off-licence;
  • 1965: vacant;
  • 1968: Lawnmower Service, specialists in grinding and setting; all types of servicing carried out; A. E. Waller (Engineers) Limited, mechanical engineers;
  • 1972: A. E. Waller (Engineers) Limited; Lawnmower Services;
  • 1974: Lawnmower Service;
  • 1975: Lawnmower Service;
  • 2011: Waller.