16 Market Square Potton
16 and 17 Market Square August 2013
16 and 17 Market Square were both listed by English Heritage in November 1986 as Grade II, of special interest. The property was once one house, later sub-divided. It dates from the 18th century with later alterations. The property may have been built in or shortly after 1783 as much of the Market Square was damaged by the Great Fire of Potton in that year. The structure is built from red brick and comprises two storeys and attics beneath a 20th century tiled roof. The listing notes that it was “included for group value”.
In 1847 16 and 17 Market Square were put up for sale by auction. The sale particulars [WG2441] that today's situation was reversed, with Number 16 having more than twice the footage of Number 17 as can be seen on the plan below, probably equating to the distence between the left hand chimney stack and the next one moving towards the right. The entry for Lot 3 reads: "All that respectable well-built FREEHHOLD RESIDENCE as occupied by Mr. George Kitchen, in the most eligible business situation in the Town, having a commanding frontage to the market-square, and containing a good lofty Dining Room and Drawing Room, a large Keeping Room, Kitchen and Scullery, excellent Cellar and eight good Sleeping Rooms. The Outbuildings comprising two Bakehouses, Corn Shops, Stabling, &c., are brick-built and tiled. A large Yard as now stumped out, with pump of good water. A most delightful garden, now occupied by Mr. Fisher [licensee at the George and Dragon]; together with a carriage entrance from the Hog Market over lot 4, as shown on the plan; the whole forming a most compact residence for a respectable family. This lot to fence next lots 4 and 5".
The entry for Lot 4 reads: "All that excellent brick-built and tiled FREEHOLD HOUSE and SHOP, most advantageously situate upon the Market Square, with substantial Outbuildings, in the occupation of Mr. Rogers, Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer, at a rental of £21 per annum; a Cottage occupied by Francis Young, at £4 per annum; and a convenient Yard, with carriage entrance from the Hog Market, as now stumped out, subject to a carriage right of way to lot 3, as delineated on the plan".
Lot 3 is 16 and part of 18 Market Square [WG2441]
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 these two properties [DV1/C12/63-64] found they were both shops.
Number 16 was owned and occupied by the Misses Richardson (Emily and Frances) who ran a bakery which, presumably, specialised in cakes rather than bread as they are listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1928 as confectioners. The valuer described the premises (or the owners?) as “old, fair condition”. The shop measured 13 feet by 16 feet 6 inches and also on the ground floor were a drawing room measuring 12 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches and a living room measuring 11 feet by 13 feet 6 inches. The bakehouse itself stood outside and was modern. The first floor comprised two bedrooms measuring 13 feet by 15 feet and 14 feet by 16 feet. Two attic bedrooms lay on the second floor. A garage, a brick and tiled hovel and a wood and corrugated iron lean-to stable stood outside.
The Richardson family had had a business at this property for many years. A directory of 1862 lists Robert Richardson whilst those of 1869, 1876, 1877, 1885, 1890, 1904, 1896, 1903 and 1906 all list Alfred Richardson, baker and confectioner. Kelly’s Directory for 1910, 1914, 1920, 1924, 1928 and 1931 all list Emily and Frances. A billhead from a later date, unfortunately not specified [X704/92/65] shows that the shop continued as a pastry cook and confectioner [see below]. Even today  the shop is a bakery.