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7 and 7a George Street Luton

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

7 George Street is first listed in a directory in 1898 when William Starke's mantle warehouse was in occupation. He remained until at least 1924. In 1914 he shared the premises with John Charles Keeling, architect and Parsons Brothers, engineers, the latter still being in occupation as late as 1924.

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 Streettook place in 1928.

7 George Street in 1928 was owned by a Mrs. Starke, presumably William Starke's widow, and occupied by Mrs. J. Seamarks as a ladies' outfitters [DV1/R7/31]. She had a 14 year lease from 1923 and paid £400 per annum in rent. The frontage was 31 feet. A basement comprised a showroom measuring 29 feet by 19 feet 6 inches and a back store which was 28 feet by 16 feet. The ground floor shop, which had an "Island Window" measured 29 feet by 37 feet 6 inches.

The first floor ("poor staircase") comprised a show room measuring 19 feet 6 inches by 15 feet as well as a workroom measuring 6 feet 6 inches by 14 feet, a dining room measuring 12 feet by 20 feet, a kitchen measuring 11 feet by 16 feet and a bedroom measuring 11 feet 6 inches by 17 feet as well as a lavatory and there was a "back entrance from outside stairs". The second floor contained bedrooms measuring 12 feet by 12 feet 6 inches, 11 feet 6 inches by 16 feet and 11 feet 6 inches by 16 feet 6 inches as well as a bathroom, a store room measuring 7 feet by 12 feet and a sitting room measuring 19 feet 9 inches square. The business also had use of a yard at the back.

Mrs. Starke also owned 7a George Street and this was occupied by E. M. Kitching, who ran a hairdressing saloon. His lease ran for twelve years from 1926 and his rent was £156 per annum. The frontage was 9 feet 6 inches and two shops inside measured 9 feet by 21 feet and 9 feet by 16 feet 6 inches respectively. The valuer commented: "was old gateway".

In subsequent directories J. Seamarks, later Seamarks Limited, is listed at 7 George Street until 1950. By 1965 the occupier was Tudor Inns LImited and by 1968 the premises was vacant. 7a was occupied by Maison Godfrey, ladies' hairdressers from at least 1931  until at least 1939, the Godfrey in question being Mrs. C. A. Godfrey. By 1950 Mary Ann Whales was in occupation. In 1960 7a George Street was the Luton and Dubstable Junior Chamber of Commerce. From 1965 until the last Kelly's Directory for Luton in 1975 bookmakers occupied the premises - Crabb and Fosher in 1965 and 1968, S. Gilbert in 1972 and William Hill Limited in 1975. The site is now [2020] occupied by Luton Crown Court.

Luton Crown Court 7 George Street June 2010
Luton Crown Court, 7 George Street June 2010