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46 to 50 High Street Silsoe

46 High Street and Malting House Cottage in 1961 [Z53/104/5]
46 High Street and Malting House Cottage in 1961 [Z53/104/5]

46 High Street and Malting House Cottage were listed by the former Department of Environment in January 1961 as Grade II, of special interest. The two properties, "originally one" date to the 17th century, with 18th and 19th century additions. They are timber-framed though the ground floor has been rebuilt partly in coursed rubble partly in brick. The first floor has been rendered and the whole colour-washed. The properties have clay tiled roofs. A hipped bay was added to the west end and a shallow 19th century gable to the south-east. Malting House Cottage has later 19th century colour-washed brick and slate block to the east end.

48 and 50 High Street were listed at the same time. They two were once a single house and date to the 16th century "with 19th century alterations and
additions". They, too, are of timber-framed construction with colour-washed roughcast render and a clay tile roof, half-hipped at the south end. There is a 19th century addition to the west with a slated roof. There are small lean-to additions to the east and south elevations. "The interior retains substantial moulded beams to the ground floor".

A map drawn up for the 2nd Earl de Grey in 1856 [L33/12/13] shows that 46 High Street was occupied by Mary Mann and today's Malting House Cottage by Joseph Bunker. We know from a Primitive Methodist Circuit baptism register that his son, Charles Henry, was the first Primitive Methodist to be baptised in Silsoe, in May 1858. Joseph Bunker was there described as being a gardener. Number 48 was occupied by John Mann and Number 50 by Widow Odell.

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 46 High Street, Malting House Cottage and 48-50 High Street [DV1/C236/134-135] found that they were still part of the Wrest Park Estate, having been bought by John George Murray, the new owner of Wrest Park in 1918 or 1919.

46 High Street was in the occupation of A. Bunker who paid rent of £3/4/- per annum (it had been £3/10/- before the Great War) for a living room, kitchen and three bedrooms which were partly in the roof. He also had a weather-boarded and tiled barn and a brick and slated earth closet and a nearby allotment of land amounting to 0.221 of an acre.

The other property comprised today's Malting House Cottage as well as today's 48 and 50 High Street. It was described as "Near Malting Yard" and was occupied by Luton Co-operative Society Limited which paid £46/10/- per annum which the valuer described as "high rent". They had a bakers' shop measuring 16 feet 6 inches by 15 feet 6 inches with a "good cellar under". The oven had a capacity of 180 loaves or four bushels and lay in a bakehouse with two lofts over. The valuer noted that there was "No sleeping or living accommodation". The two rooms over the shop were used as stores and there was also a "small store place below and back shed". Outside lay a weather-boarded and corrugated iron garage, a weather-boarded and corrugated iron oil store, a weather-boarded and tiled barn and a brick and slated earth closet. Directories reveal that the Co-op had occupied the building since at least 1898 and would continue to do so until at least 1940.

In 1934 John George Murray tried, unsuccessfully, to sell the Wrest Park Estate. The sale particulars [AD1147/23] describe 46 High Street and today's Malting House Cottage as follows:

Three Brick, Stucco and Tiled Cottages
being Nos. 46, 52 and 54, together with the Shop, Warehouse and buildings now The Co-operative Stores.

Now in the occupation of the Luton Co-operative Society on an Annual (Michaelmas) tenancy at a rental of £46 10s. per annum. The Cottages being in the occupation of Messrs. E. Stangroom, Lomax and Novell on Monthly Tenancies at rentals amounting to £25 8s. 6d. per annum 

An Enclosure of Allotment Gardens let to various Tenants at Rentals amounting to £4 17s. 6d. per annum. 

This particular makes it clear that E. Stangroom had succeeded A. Bunker as tenant of 46 High Street whilst today's Malting House Cottage was still used as the Co-op stores. Lomax and Novell occupied 52 and 54 High Street.

By that date today's 48 and 50 High Street were no longer occupied by the Co-op. They are now described thus:

Two Similar Cottages
being Nos. 48 and 50, each containing: Sitting Room, Kitchen, Pantry and Three Bed Rooms, together with Outoffices and Gardens.

One being let to Mr. S. Hubbard with Wrest Park Lodge and the other in the occupation of Mr. H. W. Walker on a Monthly Tenancy at a rental of £3 16s. 6d. per annum. 

In 2008 Malting House Cottage was for sale. The particulars [Z449/2/170] detail ground floor accommodation as an entrance hall, a lounge (17 feet 1 inch by 12 feet 9 inches), a dining room (10 feet 8 inches by 10 feet) and a kitchen (12 feet by 7 feet 8 inches) with three bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor.

46 High Street and Malting House Cottage March 2011
46 High Street and Malting House Cottage March 2011