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9 King Street Potton

9 King Street February 2013
9 King Street February 2013

9 King Street is also known as Linden Lodge. It was listed in November 1986 by English Heritage, as Grade II, of special interest. It dates from the 18th century, although altered in the following century. The building is constructed of red brick and has a clay tiled roof. It comprises two storeys and attics.

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has a substantial amount of information about this property and its predecessor on the same site. The property was copyhold, that is to say, it was part of the Manor of Potton Regis. People held copyhold properties from the manor and instead of conveying them to someone else had to surrender them to the Lord of the Manor at a manor court and the new owners then had to seek admission from that manor court or a subsequent one. This allowed the manor to claim a fee (or fine) for the privilege. In 1726 Henry Rugeley surrendered a house in King Street to Thomas Dennis for £105 [CD832]. The property bounded King Street to the east, property of William devereus, in occupation of Ann Longstaffe, widow to the west and property owned by Bromsall Throckmorton in occupation of Richard King. Dennis had right of access through the "Great Gates" belonging to Throckmorton's property.

Thomas Dennis surrendered the property back to Henry Rugeley as soon as he bought it because he took out a mortgage with him for £41 [CD834]. Dennis was a butcher and in his will of 1767 devised the property to his son John who had followed him in the trade[CD837]. John Dennis was admitted in 1771 [CD838]. At that date the surrounding properties were described as properties of Waters and James Brown to the south and a property of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough in occupation of John Edwards to the north.

The next time we hear of this property it has burned down,in the Great Fire of Potton of 1783. A pamphlet setting out losses in the fire itemises John Dennis, butcher as having lost £207/2/11. Also listed are Sarah Dennis, widow, who lost £5/4/- and Jane Richardson, servant to John Dennis, who lost 14/4. In 1784 Dennis surrendered the site of the property to William Fowler of Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire], common brewer. Neighbours then were premises of William Smith Devereux, also destroyed by fire, to the south "with another messuage rebult thereon belonging to Mr. Samuel Wells", presumably today's 5-7a King Street and property late of John Edwards to the north, also destroyed by fire.Fowler was admitetd to the site in 1785 [CD840].

We have an exact date for the building of the present 9 King Street: 1786-1787. This is because an article of agreement of June 1786 in which William Fowler agreed to build a house in King Street for Henry Verrall of Potton, surgeon and apothecary before 5th April 1787 [AD2879].

The house backed onto the yard of the Rose and Crown (today’s Old Coach House Hotel) with the gateway to that yard abutting to the north. At the front of the house there was to be: “an handsome well finished and elegantly painted six raised panneld door, door case, a good large spring brass lock and rapper and a suitable frontispiece with a far light to consist of at least three squares of the best crown glass”. To the right of the door: “there shall be made compleated and elegantly finished a good dining parlour...... to be wainscotted chair high and to be called the best parlour”. The chimney and fireplace was to have: “a well finished handsome marble or Ketton stone chimney piece and a slab with proper and suitable cap thereto and also a neat corniche around the room and well finished cieling and floor”. On the left side of the passage from the front door was to be a shop with: 'Venetian Sash Windows of good groun glass”. A lean-to Surgery was to be built at the back of shop with a window, shutters, chimney and cupboards. There was to be a: “Well finished stair-case with handrail handings”. There was to be a bedchamber over the best parlour with a fireplace with a: “six panneld door neat corniche and recess for ‘a Cloaths Closet’”. There was to be a similar chamber over the shop. A dressing room was to be over the front passage between the two chambers and another dressing closet at the head of the stairs over the pantry. There were to be two: “Garretts with one common glass Window and Casement in each room”. A passage was to lead from the foot of the stairs to the pantry and kitchen: “with convenient shelves, dresser and other necessary fixtures. There was to be a chamber and garret over the kitchen with a washouse and brewhouse next to the kitchen. There was to be a loft over the washhouse with a ladder and pump and a sink. West of these was a room for cleaning knives and a coalhouse. There was to be a stable adjoining with three stalls with: “sufficient racks and mangers.... pitched with pebbles and compleated with a Loft... to contain Hay and Straw”. There was to be an outhouse for storing wood and Faggots and two offices [i.e. privies].

All buildings were to be: “well and sufficiently glazed tiled and plaistered.......... with an handsome ornamental and neat brick corniche in the front of the said house”. The work, when finished, was to be subject “to the judgement and inspection of any indifferent Surveyor or Masterbuilder versed in Architecture”. Verrall was to choose paper and paper-hangings. The garden was to be fenced and enclosed. Verrall covenanted with Fowler to take the premises for twenty one years for a yearly rent of sixteen guineas. The description of the location of the house, its date and the fact that it was built as a doctor’s residence and surgery clearly all tie it to 9 King Street. A lease from Fowler to Verrall survives for 1788 [LS206].

In 1801 Fowler's sons, George and William surrendered this property, with others, to the uses of their respective wills [CD842]. Later that year they surrendered the house to Henry Verrall for £300 [CD843]; Verrall was admitted the following year [CD845]. In 1819 he leased the house to John Martin of Potton, surgeon and apothecary for £30 per annum[LS207].

Verrall made his will in 1820 leaving all his property in trust for sale [CD848]. He died on 7th February 1825. His executors were admitted in 1827 [CD849] and in that same year surrendered the house to the tenant, John Martin, for £500 [CD850]. Martin was admitted the same year [CD851].

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. Potton, like much of the county was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting 9 King Street [DV1/C11/136] found it was now owned by George Frederick Dixon and occupied by Dr. John James Hall Anderson who, Kelly’s Directory for 1928 informs us was an M. B., B. Ch (Aberdeen), physician and surgeon of the firm Dixon and Anderson. He was also the medical officer and public vaccinator for the Potton district. His rent was £65 per annum.

The property contained a kitchen, a scullery, a parlour and a living room with a back hall on the ground floor, along with the surgery and waiting room which measured 8 feet by 6 feet 8 inches. There was also a drawing room measuring 16 feet by 17 feet, a morning room measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 7 feet and a dining room measuring 15 feet by 17 feet. There was a cellar beneath the first floor. The first floor contained a small dressing room, a bathroom with a lavatory basin and W. C., a box room and four bedrooms measuring, respectively, 16 feet 6 inches by 15 feet, 17 feet 3 inches by 11 feet, 17 feet by 15 feet 3 inches and 14 feet 6 inches by 12 feet 3 inches. The second floor contained two maids’ attics and two box rooms. Outside stood a garage and a stable as well as three loose boxes and a glasshouse.

A Public Medical Service payment card for Anderson survives [X704/92/2/1]. In pre-National Health Service days patients would pay set subsciptions to help pay for the doctor's services. His hours of attendance to patients are noted as 9 to 10 am and 6 to 7 pm "No attendance on Thursday Evenings", otherwise, presumably, hereceived patients at the surgery. The card further states: "Messages must be sent before 10 o'clock in the morning, or Extra Charges will be made as follows: - Night Visit in response to call received between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. 5/-. Special Visits in response to call received after 10 a.m., or on Sunday 1/-. Any member whose Subscription is not paid up will not receive attendance".

Anderson subscription booklet [X704/92/2/1]
Anderson subscription booklet [X704/92/2/1]

Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year but every few years. Directories from 1877 onwards list doctors in King Street as follows:

  • 1877: Edward Walker;
  • 1885, 1890, 1894: Samuel Edward Walker; 1898: John Noble Bredin;
  • 1903, 1906, 1910, 1914: George Frederick Dixon;
  • 1924: John James Hall Anderson and George Frederick Dixon;
  • 1928, 1931: John James Hall Anderson;
  • 1936: Anderson and Bolt; 1940: John James Hall Anderson.

Edward Walker was also the captain of the Potton Volunteer Fire Brigade, formed in 1878. That same year he led the brigade’s efforts to tackle a very serious fire which destroyed a large number of properties in an area bounded by Blackbird Street, Sun Street, Bull Street and Chapel Street.

A number of properties in Potton were used for civil defence in World War Two. Linden Lodge was used as a Rescue Party depot and was later, appropriately, upgraded to a First Aid Point [WW2/AR/CA/1/1/4].