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15 Market Place Woburn

15 Market Place May 2012
15 Market Place May 2012

15 Market Place was listed by the former Ministry of Works in January 1961 as Grade II, of special interest. The property was formerly numbered as 8 High Street . At the time of writing [2013] it is Caprioli tea room and delicatessen (which also occupies Number 16). The property dates from the early to mid 18th century with an early 19th century shop front. The property may, perhaps, have been built as a result of destruction of a previous property in Woburn’s great fire of June 1724.

The building is constructed from brownish red brick, many of them vitrified and with lighter bricks picking out architectural details. It has two storeys and attics beneath a roof covered with 20th century tiles.

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. Woburn, like much of the county was valued in 1927 and the valuer visiting 15 Market Place [DV1/C137/4] found that, like most of Woburn, it was owned by the Duke of Bedford’s London and Devon Estates Company. The tenant was Mrs. Fanny Roberts who, Kelly’s Directory for 1928 states, was a boot and shoemaker. Her rent was £20 per annum.

Ground floor accommodation comprised a shop measuring 19 feet 6 inches by 13 feet, a sitting room measuring 10 feet by 11 feet, a living room measuring 8 feet 9 inches by 13 feet and two kitchens. On the first floor was a boxroom measuring 8 feet 9 inches by 6 feet, a reception room measuring 12 feet square and three bedrooms measuring, respectively, 9 feet by 13 feet, 14 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 6 inches and 11 feet 3 inches by 10 feet. A workshop measured 16 feet by 9 feet. Six attics lay on the second floor and four cellars beneath the ground floor. A barn and W. C. stood outside. The valuer commented: “4 front windows blocked up”.

Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year but every few years from the early to mid 19th century until 1940. They reveal that Fanny Roberts took over from her husband William Henry by 1910 and was still in business in 1940. William Roberts is listed in directories of 1903 and 1906. William Roberts is listed as shoe and bootmaker in the High Street in 1839, 1847, 1853, 1854, 1862, 1869, 1877, 1885, 1890, 1894 and 1898. He is also listed as stamp distributor in 1885, 1890, 1894 and 1898. It thus appears that the building was used by the same family for the same business for in excess of a hundred years.