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75 George Street Luton

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

75 George Street was first listed in Kelly's Directory for Bedfordshire of 1894 when it was in the occupation of John Chadwick Kershaw and Company, straw hat manufacturer. His business was first listed in a directory of 1890 at an undisclosed address in George Street. From at least 1854 until at least 1885 John Jefferson Kershaw is listed as a straw hat manufacturer in George Street. J. C. Kershaw and Company Limited is last listed 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 camera) to 61 George Street about 1910 [Z1306/75]
77 (nearest camera) to 61 George Street about 1910 [Z1306/75]

In 1928 this building was owned by John Chadwick Kershaw himself, and, along with 69, 71 and 73 George Street, leased by him to J. C. Kershaw & Company Limited [DV1/R7/63]. The basement comprised a packing room measuring 23 feet by 88 feet. The ground floor comprised a show room measuring 26 feet by 32 feet and a back showroom measuring 29 feet by 51 feet.

The first floor comprised showrooms measuring 26 feet by 17 feet 6 inches and 12 feet 6 inches by 13 feet. A factory packing room measured 19 feet 9 inches by 55 feet 6 inches. The second floor contained millinery rooms measuring 26 feet by 33 feet and 22 feet by 46 feet and a stock room measuring 16 feet by 11 feet.

The valuer commented: "75 is modern in rear, rest old; lot of waste in stairs and passages". He also noted: "Old in part; but some modern building at back". By 1950 75 George Street was occupied by Moss Jacobs and Dolcis Shoe Company Limited, the latter being in occupation until at least 1972. The last Kelly's Directory for Luton, that of 1975, shows the property as vacant. The site now lies beneath the British Home Stores building.

69 to 77 George Street June 2010
69 to 75 George Street June 2010