63 and 65 High Street Ridgmont
63 and 65 High Street about 1900 [Z50/95/48]
63 and 65 adjoin 61 High Street though, unlike that building, they do not stand gable end on to the road, nor are they so old. The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county's historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The entry for 63 High Street [HER 14436] notes that the property is built in red brick with a hipped slate roof. On the left hand side of the building is a large carriageway entrance under an arch.
Number 65 was very obviously once a shop. 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 63 and 65 High Street found that they were both in the same ownership and occupation at that time [DV1/C54/81].
It comes as no surprise that the owner and occupier was a shopkeeper. Harry James was a butcher. Before the Great War the property had been leased and the rent had been £30 per annum. It comprised two reception rooms, three bedrooms plus a room over the passage behind the carriageway arch. There was also a kitchen and a scullery. At the rear stood a licensed slaughterhouse, a timber and slate stable, a store, a corrugated iron piggery and a timber and corrugated iron garage. The shop attached to the right hand side of the building measured 17 feet 9 inches by 12 feet 9 inches.
Directories for Bedfordshire, which were not published annually but every few years, give the names of butchers in Ridgmont from toand the following names are taken from these directories. Of course, the butcher's shop was not necessarily always at 65 High Street and may have been elsewhere before the mid 1920s. The dates are those of the first and last appearance of a name, not the full span of dates of incumbency:
- 1847-1854: Robert Green;
- 1862-1894: Charles Garratt;
- 1898: Henry William Norris;
- 1903-1910: Arthur Robinson;
- 1914-1940: Harry James.
1940 is the date of the last directory for Bedfordshire. The butcher's shop closed as recently as the mid 1970s.
63 and 65 High Street January 2011