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Orchard Cottages Upper Dean

2 Orchard Cottages in 1987 [BorB/TP/87/2537LB]
2 Orchard Cottages in 1987 [BorB/TP/87/2537LB]

Orchard Cottages were listed by the former Department of Environment in August 1983 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the properties to the 17th century. Each has a single storey with attics and are built of colour-washed brick and roughcast over a timber frame. Number 1 has a tiled roof and the gable end faces the road, whereas Number 2 has a thatched roof.

Directories for Bedfordshire were produced every few years from 1839 to 1940. A number of beer retailers are listed in directories for Upper Dean. They include the following:

  • 1847: William Burge, tailor;
  • 1854-1869: William Burgess, tailor;
  • 1876-1877: John Burgess, tailor, who ran an off-licence;
  • 1885: Charles Hall, and miller at Upper Dean windmill;
  • 1891: John Horne, who ran an off-licence supplying beer brewed by Thomas Jarvis of Bedford;
  • 1894-1906: Charles Brown, who also ran an off-licence supplying beer brewed by Jarvis & Company. The 1903 licensing register notes that the cottage was in a bad state of repair, lay a quarter of a mile from the nearest licensed premises and had been licensed prior to 1869.
  • 1910: Hill Sale.

It looks as if all these beer retailers may have successively inhabited the same premises. Clearly Charles Brown took over John Horne’s off-licence. The business may well be that begun by William Burge in 1847, who is probably the same man as the William Burgess recorded from 1854 to 1869. John Burgess is, presumably, a son, brother or other relative of William.

In 1910 a nationwide survey of property was carried out. This was to establish up-to-date rating valuations to help pay for the pioneering welfare reforms in David Lloyd-George's 1909 budget. Hill Sale was recorded as selling beer brewed by Thomas Jarvis from Orchard Cottages, suggesting that at least one of the cottages may have been a beerhouse for over sixty years.

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. It is likely that Dean, like most of the rest of the county was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting Orchard Cottages [DV1/C150/61-62] found them owned by B. Measures, Number 1, the larger portion, was occupied by A. White and Number 2, to the east of Number 1, by F. Brown. Both men’s rent was included in their wages.

Number 1 stood in just under half an acre and comprised a living room, a kitchen and a pantry with two bedrooms above. The valuer commented: “Very poor place. Bedrooms in roof”. Number 2 comprised a living room, a kitchen and two bedrooms above, also in the roof. By contrast with Number 1, Number 2’s land was just twelve poles.

In 1987 planning permission was sought for an extension to Number 2 [BorB/TP/87/2537/LB].