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21 Market Square Potton

21 Market Square August 2013
21 Market Square August 2013

21 Market Square was listed by the former Ministry of Public Buildings and Works in October 1966 as Grade II, of special interest. The front of the building dates from the 18th century whilst the rest is earlier, probably 17th century. The building is constructed from dark red brick with lighter red brick facings and comprises two storeys and attics beneath a modern tiled roof.

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 21 Market Square found it owned by Thomas Judge, former postmaster and occupied by Frank Sletcher, the current postmaster, whose rent was £30 per annum – a family rent according to the valuer, so perhaps Sletcher had married Judge’s daughter.

Thomas Judge about 1900 [Z1306-91]
Thomas Judge about 1900 [Z1306/91]

The post office and stationary shop measured 13 feet by 13 feet 6 inches and other ground floor accommodation comprised a drawing room measuring 13 feet 6 inches square, a morning room measuring 12 feet by 11 feet, a kitchen and scullery and a coal cellar. A boxroom and three bedrooms measuring, respectively, 13 feet 6 inches square, 11 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 6 inches and 13 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 6 inches lay on the first floor. Tow disused attics lay above these. A wood and tiled sorting room for mail stood outside and measured 11 feet by 8 feet. There was also a barn and washhouse with a loft over. The valuer commented: “Good frontage”.

Judge had been the postmaster for a long time. He is first listed in a directory of 1877 and last listed in 1920, Alice Mabel Sletcher being listed in the next Bedfordshire directory, that for 1924. Before Thomas Judge the postal officials had been as follows:

  • 1839 and 1847 Mrs. Hannah Curtis – probably in Blackbird Street because an unoccupied cottage formerly the post office was destroyed by fire in 1878;
  • 1850, 1852, 1853, 1862 and 1864 David Compton in Horslow Street;
  • 1869 and 1876: Mrs. Lucy Compton in Horslow Street).

Thomas Judge and staff outside the post office about 1900 [Z1306/91]
Thomas Judge and staff outside the post office about 1900 [Z1306/91]