7 High Town Road Luton
7 High Town Road June 2011
7 High Town Road has had a number of differing uses. Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has plans [X843/1/6] for conversion of the premises into a shop and living accommodation for Alfred Gale, pawnbroker dated 1888. The architect was A. E. Smith of Luton and the builder T. and E.Neville of Luton.
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 7 High Town Road [DV1/R59/8] found it owned and occupied by Edward William Stagg, a pawnbroker. He also had a jewellery business at 138 Dunstable Road. The valuer noted: “Purchased in 1926 for £1,400”.
There were two shop areas measuring 19 feet by 15 feet and 19 feet 6 inches by 17 feet respectively. The room in which pawned material was kept lay at the back and measured 13 feet 6 inches by 15 feet, a separate store room measured 13 feet 6 inches by 25 feet. On the first floor were: two store rooms at the front measuring 24 feet by 16 feet and 15 feet by 14 feet respectively; a pledge room measured 13 feet 6 inches by 40 feet and a kitchen measured 13 feet 6 inches by 8 feet. The valuer noted that only two of the three stores were used – “only about 40% capacity”. The second floor contained three bedrooms measuring 16 feet square, 12 feet 6 inches by 10 feet and 11 feet by 12 feet respectively suggesting that Stagg and his family lived on the premises.
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 17th October 1937, when the building had been taken over by Redrup & Starkings as a hardware store, the property was heated by electric radiators. A toilet room on the first floor comprised a men’s toilet, a urinal and a women’s toilet. The premises had fair natural light and electric lighting was provided. Only one man worked in the store and he had his dinner off the premises (presumably at home) and his tea in the café of 9 High Town Road, also Redrup & Starkings.
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: Alfred Gale, pawnbroker;
- 1898: Alfred Gale, pawnbroker;
- 1903: Arthur James Gent, pawnbroker;
- 1906: Arthur James Gent, pawnbroker;
- 1910: Arthur James Gent, pawnbroker;
- 1914: Arthur James Gent, pawnbroker;
- 1920: Arthur James gent, pawnbroker;
- 1924: Edward Stagg, pawnbroker;
- 1928: Edward Stagg, pawnbroker;
- 1936: Redrup & Starkings Limited, grocers;
- 1939: Redrup & Starkings Limited;
- 1940: Redrup & Starkings Limited, grocers;
- 1950: Redrup & Starkings Limited;
- 1960: 7 - Redrup & Starkings Limited, hardware dealers; 7a – Andrew W. F. Anderson;
- 1965: Luton Wholesale Supplies, wholesale toy dealers;
- 1968: Bargain Centre, secondhand furniture and household effects bought and sold;
- 1972: Sami and Salim (Rocform Limited), cash and carry;
- 1974: Sami and Salim (Rocform Limited), cash and carry;
- 1975: Sami and Salim (Rocform Limited), cash and carry;
- 2011: Home, Chinese restaurant.