74 George Street Luton
George Street in 1901 - to see a larger version, please click on the image
74 George Street is not mentioned in 19th century or earlier 20th century directories and so may have been a private house. 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 valuer discovered that 74 George Street was then owned and occupied by J. Sainsbury Limited, who then styled themselves provision merchants, their headquarters was at Stamford House, Blackfriars, London. The shop had a frontage of 30 feet 6 inches [DV1/R7/5].
The shop, 12 feet high, had glass tiled walls and measured 20 feet 6 inches by 81 feet with an office measuring 20 feet 6 inches by 5 feet 3 inches. A rear store "including two cold chambers" measured 27 feet 6 inches by 29 feet 6 inches and included a three horsepower motor. There were also lavatories and a urinal and an open store in the yard measuring 10 feet by 27 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 on 18th November 1936 the shop was unheated but by November 1938 had "twelve longitudinal electric units disposed in different sections of the shop". In 1936 a two stall men's toilet stood in an apartment behind and detached from the shop. Two women's toilets stood on the first floor. The premises had very good natural lighting but were also lighted by electricity. The first floor had a messroom with an "adequate number of tables and chairs" for the staff, which comprised twenty seven men, fourteen women, twelve boys and five girls under eighteen.
Sainsbury is listed at this address into the early 1970s. The last Kelly's Directory for Luton, 1975, however, lists the property as vacant.
74 George Street June 2010