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58 to 64 High Street Ridgmont

Ridgmont Post Office about 1900 [Z50/95/45]
Ridgmont Post Office about 1900 [Z50/95/45]

58 High Street is an attractive 19th century red brick property standing near the church. 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. Like many parts of the county Ridgmont was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting 58 High Street found that it was leased from the Duke of Bedford by John Edgar Boxford who paid rent of five shillings per week.

Boxford was the postmaster for Ridgmont. His shop measured 12 feet by 13 feet 3 inches. Private accommodation comprised: a reception room measuring 12 feet by 7 feet 9 inches and a reception room measuring 12 feet square. Upstairs were four bedrooms measuring, respectively, 12 feet by 7 feet 9 inches; 12 feet 6 inches by 12 feet; 12 feet by 10 feet 9 inches and 13 feet 6 inches by 13 feet. Outside stood a barn and an earth closet. Water came from a tap in the yard. The valuer noted: Tenant pays fire insurance 12/6 per annum".

Directories for Bedfordshire, which were not published annually but every few years, give the names people running the post office in Ridgmont from 1853 to 1936 and the following names are taken from these directories. The dates are those of the first and last appearance of a name, not the full span of dates they ran the business.

  • 1853-1864: Thomas Berridge
  • 1869: Mrs. Ann Berridge
  • 1877: John Sharp;
  • 1885-1906: Mrs. Maria Sharp
  • 1910-1914: Miss Flora Sharp
  • 1920-1936: John Edgar Boxford who, it is noted, was also a stationer.

Post offices tended to move about as they formed part of the house of the person holding the office of postmaster instead of the more usual pattern today where the person wanting to be postmaster moves into the post office. However, the 1st edition 25 inches to the mile Ordnance Survey map of 1883 shows the post office at 58 High Street and so Ridgmont may be an exception to this:

Behind 58 High Street is a short row of three cottages. In 1927Number 60 was occupied by Mrs. M. Keech who paid rent of 17/4 per quarter. Number 62 was in the occupation of John Pearce whose rent was 1/4 per week and Number 64 was leased from the duke by Miss Osborne who, again, paid rent of 17/4 per quarter. Each property comprised a living room and kitchen downstairs with two bedrooms above. A wood barn and earth closet stood outside and each tenant drew their water from a communal tap in the yard.

58 to 64 High Street January 2011
58 to 64 High Street January 2011