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4 to 7 Market Place Woburn

4 to 7 Market Place May 2012
4 to 7 Market Place May 2012

4 to 7 Market Place is an impressive four storey building. It was listed by the former Ministry of Works in October 1952, when it was known as 2 High Street, as Grade II*, one of the more important buildings in the category for buildings of special interest. The listing states that the house dates from the late 18th century and is built of red brick, with colourwashed render to the exterior of the basement. The shallow roof is covered with slates.

Early in its history the property was the White Bear public house (from about 1748 to about 1850). This does not quite square with a late 18th century date but the listing may not be completely accurate. Alternatively the inn may have been rebuilt in the late 18th century.

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 4 to 7 Market Place found that it, like much of the town, was owned by the Duke of Bedford’s London and Devon Estates Company.

The tenant was Frederic Thomas Tanqueray, the solicitor whose offices were at 5 George Street. For this, his living accommodation, Tanqueray paid rent of £60 per annum. The valuer commented: “Own Electric light. 5 floors including basement”.

The ground floor comprised a hall (“very, very poor”), a living room measuring 14 feet by 17 feet, a kitchen, scullery and pantry (“large”), a lavatory (in the sense of a place to wash) and cloakroom, a study measuring 9 feet by 17 feet. A cellar for beer and wine, a work room, larder, game larder, heating plant and coal cellar all lay in the basement.

The first floor comprised a bedroom measuring 15 feet by 32 feet with a 15 foot by 6 foot verandah, a billiard room measuring 14 feet by 17 feet and a bedroom measuring 16 feet 3 inches by 22 feet 6 inches. The second floor contained three bedrooms, a bathroom, a W. C. and a living room. The third floor contained three more bedrooms and a boxroom.

Outside was a building containing an 8 horsepower gas engine and dynamo and a cell room. There was also a garage, a coachhouse with a loft over, three loose boxes, a manure pit and earth closet. The valuer commented: “Central Heating to 2nd floor. Electric Light (own plant)”. He also opined: “Position very bad right on road. Back nice” but “House very, very poor inside”. Tanqueray also rented a 1.215 acre grass field and orchard nearby for £4 per annum.

Frederic Tanqueray worked as a solicitor in the town from at least 1885 (when he is first recorded in a directory) and by 1931 he was no longer in practice. He had been in practice with his cousin John Thomas Green, son of John Green who was a solicitor in Woburn in the mid 19th century. Tanqueray had a son, Frederick Baron Tanqueray who was practising in the same business with his father by 1914. Sadly, Tanqueray junior was killed on 1st July 1916 taking part in the First Day of the Battle of the Somme and is buried at Beaumont-Hamel British Cemetery, he was just 24.