21 Market Square March 2010
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 21 Market Square [HER 7760] describes it as a pair of 18th century one storey roughcast buildings.
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. Sandy, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting 21 Market Square [Dv1/C147/41] found it owned by the Assembly Rooms Company and occupied by wine, spirit and cider merchants Wright & Company, which paid rent of £20 per annum.
The brick, lath, plaster and tiled premises was “2 old disused cottages: up to 3 old disused garratts down used as wine store”. The three store rooms measured 13 feet by 14 feet, 13 feet 3 inches square and 13 feet 3 inches by 13 feet 9 inches respectively. A room used as a shop measured 11 feet by 10 feet and had a small lobby adjoining with a sink, measuring 11 feet by 15 feet. A disused corrugated iron and Wootton covered yard had a copper for heating water and an old pail closet. The valuer commented: “All are in shocking condition. Rooms very low and damp and uninhabitable, windows blocked, very dilapidated. Outside were two advertisement hoardings measuring 13 feet by 5 feet and 8 feet by 9 feet.
The history of P. G. Allder and Partners Limited called Through a Clear Lens and available in the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service Searchroom states that the practice opened in the Market Square in 1968. The history states the following: “The building in Sandy’s market square was basic – there was not even a toilet to start with, even though there had been business premises on the site since the turn of the century, when the 200-year-old cottages were opened as a wine shop. According to the day books, which still exist, that was the time when one could have bought brandy for 3/6”.
“When the practice first became full-time, there were only two habitable rooms – the sight-test room itself and the reception. The other two rooms had no daylight and damp earth floors! This lamentable situation was soon put right, however, and today the practice has two test rooms, a comfortable reception, a dispensing room, and facilities for storage and minor maintenance”.