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21 and 23 Northbridge Street Shefford

21 and 23 Northbridge Street January 2012
21 and 23 Northbridge Street January 2012

21 and 23 Northbridge Street are unassuming properties which, at a casual glance, do not look of any great age. However, they were listed by the former Department of Environment in January 1985 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the properties to the 18th century stating that they are probably timber-framed, though re-fronted on brick in the 19th century and now colourwashed. They have 20th century tiled roofs and comprise two storeys. The shop front of Number 21 is 19th century whilst that of Number 23 has been eradicated.

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. Shefford, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting 21 and 23 Northbridge Street [DV1/C290/122-123] found both properties owned by butcher George William Cook.

Number 21 was occupied by confectioner Mrs. Elizabeth Taylor, who paid rent of £30 per annum. She had a kitchen, a scullery ("new"), and three bedrooms. A later hand has altered this to a reception room, a living room, a scullery and three bedrooms. Her shop measured 15 feet square and she had a brick and tiled barn outside. Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year but every few years. Elizabeth Taylor is listed in Kelly's Directory for 1914, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1931, 1936 and the last directory for Bedfordshire, that of 1940. Alfred George Taylor, confectioner, is listed in directories of 1903, 1906 and 1910. He had previously been landlord of the Three Horseshoes at 7 Northbridge Street.

Number 23 was occupied by F. Burton and no rent is given. His living accommodation comprised a living room, a kitchen, and three bedrooms. Space over a covered way amounted to 10 feet by 14 feet. The shop at the premises measured 13 feet by 12 feet 6 inches and the office 5 feet square. A brick and corrugated iron refrigeration room, an engine house, a refrigerator plant with a 3 horsepower oil engine and 6 feet of shafting with four pulleys stood outside. Burton is not listed in any directory. He was, perhaps, tenant just of the living space as George William Cook is listed butcher in 1924, 1928, 1931, 1936 and 1940.