53 and 54 High Street Southill
53 and 54 High Street January 2012
53 and 54 High Street is a pair of picturesque cottages. They were listed by the former Department of Environment in March 1985 as Grade II, of special interest.
A plaque on the outside notes "S W 1802", but the listing suggests that Samuel Whitbread II simply altered an earlier building. The pair is constructed of colourwashed roughcast over a timber frame and has a thatched roof. They comprise one storey and attics.
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 the cottages [DV1/C124/29-30] found the following details:
- Number 53: Miss C. Pell lived there rent free. Her accommodation comprised a living room, a kitchen, two bedrooms and a washhouse. The valuer noted: "one bedroom over next door".
- Number 54: Mrs. Ruth Bryant paid annual rent to the Southill Estate of £4/12/6 for a living room, a kitchen, a bedroom and a shop measuring 18 feet by 10 feet 6 inches. The valuer commented: "Tiny shop with very little". Ruth's business was: "sweets and grocer".
Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year but every few years. Kelly's Directory for 1931 lists Ruth Bryant as a shopkeeper in Southill as do those of 1936 and 1940. The latter directory is the last one for Bedfordshire ever published.