9 George Street Luton
George Street in 1901 - to see a larger version, please click on the image
9 George Street is first mentioned in a directory in 1871 when William Smith, grocer, was in occupation. He was listed in a directory of 1869 simply in Market Hill, but presumably that was in the same premises. By 1877 he was listed as "grocer, provision, wine and spirit merchant". He continues to be listed, simpy at Market Hill, until 1890 but, again presumably, he remained at Number 9.
The address is not listed again until a directory of 1906 when it was occupied by Smart and Company, grocers. They are listed in 1903 simply at Market Hill. By 1910 the occupier was Thomas Forman and Company, grocer, wine and spirit merchant and wholesale tobacconist. They shared the premises with architect John Charles Keeling and solicitor Ralph G. Tearle. Thomas Foreman and John Charles Harding are last listed in 1914. By 1924 the occupier is listed as T. Foster and Company, wine merchants.
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.
Layout of 9 George Street
Mrs. Starke owned 9 George Street in 1928 [DV1/R7/32-33]. The premises extended either side of a passageway connecting the property with 7 George Street which she also owned, and was laid out as shown in the accompanying sketch by the valuer. The different premises at the rear were as follows:
- A: a room on the first floor was let to Charles Starke (who ran an outfitter's business next door); it measured 16 feet by 28 feet. The similarly sized ground floor was let to Stanley Roberts from 1926 at £36 per annum and was used as a workshop.
- B: let to W. R. Manyweathers from 1926 at £60 per annum and used as a piano workshop. Both ground and first floors measured 19 feet 6 inches by 24 feet.
- C: a garage measuring 19 feet by 19 feet let to Harold T. Bond, a grocer and fancy draper of 19 Park Street from 1927 for £22 per annum in rent.
- D: a store room measuring 19 feet by 42 feet on the ground floor and 19 feet by 52 feet on the first floor as it included the first floor element of C ("poor up, floor bad"). It was let to George Dimmock & Company, straw hat manufacturers of 66 George Street and 14 and 16 Melson Street.
- F: a garage and store measuring 19 feet by 13 feet 6 inches.
- G: a workshop measuring 6 feet by 15 feet. F and G together were let to F. Bonner from 1926 at £30 per annum.
- H: was let to Kilby & Young, electrical engineers, as offices and workshop. Their lease ran for 7 years from 1924 at £40/6/- per annum. The premises measured 13 feet 6 inches by 21 feet.
- J: was let to Harry Canham, a packing case maker and used as a workshop. It measured 22 feet by 37 feet and contained a 5 horsepower motor. His lease ran for seven years from 1924 and he paid £75 per annum.
Sadly there is no entry for the main occupier, Foster and Company. This was in a separate book dealing with licensed properties which has not survived.
Kelly's Directory for 1928 lists Harry Canham at 9a George Street. He shared the premises with Peter Cardosi, hat block maker from at least 1031 until at least 1936. Canham is last listed in 1939. 9b was occupied by Kilby and Young in 1928 and remained so until at least 1936. By 1939 Cyril W. Thompson was in occupation. Harold Bond occupied 9c and remained there until at least 1931. By 1936 Edwin Joseph Brown, furnisher, was occupier. Peter Cardosi had moved from 9a by 1939 and in 1950 the occupier was Tape Industries Limited.
Foster and Company continued to occupy 9 George Street until at least 1972, sharing the premises with: H. A. Godfrey and Company, estate agents, in 1936. By the time of the last Kelly's Directory for Luton in 1975 the occupier was the Westminster Wine Company Limited.