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The Old House Salford

The Old House as the post office [Z50/98/2]
The Old House as the post office [Z50/98/2]

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 The Old House [HER 3730] ascribes the property to the early 17th century, noting that it was enlarged in the 18th or early 19th century. It is a timber framed building with red brick infill and a half-hipped old clay tiled roof. It was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1960 as Grade III but that grading has been abolished and so the property is no longer listed.

A map of 1596 held by All Souls College, Oxford shows a building on the site [X74/2]. This building, however, is on a different alignment; it does suggest, however, that the present building replaced an earlier one.

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 most of the countySalford was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting The Old House [DV1/C57/51] found that it was still owned by the Lord of the Manor – All Souls College, Oxford. The college had been Lord of the Manor since the mid 15th century. The tenant in 1927 was Frederick William Summerford, the post master for the village. He paid rent of £12 per annum.

The property comprised two living rooms, a kitchen, a scullery and pantry and four bedrooms and two boxrooms above. The post office and shop, which was a general store, measured 15 feet by 14 feet. Outside lay a coal barn, an earth closet, a store barn and a large shed.

Directories for Bedfordshire, which were not published annually but every few years, give the names of post masters and post mistresses in the villageand the following names are taken from these directories. In those days it was the custom for the current post master or mistress to use their house as the post office and so the location of the office would change each time a new person took on the job. For example, the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map of 1901 shows the post office at 20 Broughton Road. The dates are the dates the name first and last appears not the dates of office:

1903-1906: Hannah Gardner;
1910-1924: Joseph Gardner;
1928: Frederick William Summerford;
1936: William Harold Summerford;
1940: Miss Annie M. Summerford.

The Old House January 2011
The Old House January 2011