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51 and 51a High Street Sandy

51 High Street April 2010
51 High Street April 2010

51 and 51a was listed by the former Department of Environment in December 1979 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to the 17th century and opined that it was built as a farmhouse. It is in a T-shape with an extended rear wing and comprises two storeys and attics. The house was refaced with gault bricks in the 19th century and has a concrete tiled roof.

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 51 and 51a High Street found it one property, owned and occupied by baker John Walter Bennett [DV1/C147/70].

The brick, lath, plaster and tiled premises contained a living room, kitchen and “very low” baker’s shop which measured 13 feet by 16 feet 6 inches. A lumber room measuring 14 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches lay over the kitchen. A cellar ran beneath the ground floor. Above lay two bedrooms, a bathroom and w. c. with two attics above that.

Outside lay the bakehouse, measuring 14 feet 6 inches by 20 feet, with a one sack oven and a loft over. There was also a wood and tiled two bay open shed with a loft over, a barn, a disused earth closet, a three stall stable and a cart shed. Intriguingly the valuer noted: Was original Rectory”. This seems unlikely given what history is known of the Rectory.

J. W. Bennett was first listed in Kelly's Directory for Bedfordshire in 1890. He is in each subsequent volume, 1894, 1898, 1903, 1906, 1910, 1914, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1931 and 1936 until 1940, the last Kelly's for the county when he is not listed.