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9 and 11 Church Road Wootton

9-11 Church Road - The Old Post Office - May 2010
9-11 Church Road - The Old Post Office - May 2010

9 and 11 Church Road used to be Wootton Post Office. It was listed by English Heritage in August 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. The property dates from the 18th century and is timber-framed, with a 19th century wing in brick at the rear. The façade is covered in colourwashed pebbledash. The building comprises two storeys beneath an old clay tiled roof.

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. Like most of the county, Wootton was largely assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the property [DV1/C50/69] found that it was owned and occupied by Philip Hill – a busy man if his entry in Kelly’s Directory for 1928 is to be believed: “shoe maker, rating officer and parish clerk” as well as postmaster. The valuer commented: “Formerly 2 cottages. Very fair cottage and gardens”.

Hill’s accommodation comprised two front rooms, a living room, a kitchen and a scullery; five bedrooms lay upstairs. A barn and an earth closet were outside. The valuer noted that one of the front rooms was used as the post office and water came from a pump – “good supply”. Also outside was a brick and tiled building containing a workshop (no doubt for shoemaking), two barns, a big sty and a “boot place” with four bedrooms over the top.

Philip Hill was postmaster for many years. Directories for Bedfordshire were not published every year but every few years from the early to mid 19th century until 1940. Hill is first listed as postmaster in 1890. His predecessors included George Line (listed in 1877 and 1885) and George Hight, listed in 1854, 1862, 1864 and 1869, he also sold beer.

The building underwent alterations in 1990. Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has plans and elevations [BorBTP/90/0246].