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Sand Extraction in Leighton Buzzard

Sand extraction has been an important feature of Leighton Buzzard, as it has in Heath and Reach|, for around two hundred years. Sand is still extracted in the town and some of the scars of past quarrying are still visible, though others have now been covered by modern building.

It is very frustrating that a lot of sand and clay quarries in Leighton Buzzard are identified on the 1925 Rating and Valuation Act survey maps but the corresponding reference books for the survey, carried out in 1927, have never been deposited with Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service. This is true of the pit on the south side of Stanbridge Road just west of the junction with South Street, for example. It was owned by B. A. Brown

Browns Pit
B. A. Brown's pit on the south side of Stanbridge Road

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service does hold detailed records for pits in Leighton Buzzard as shown in the list below. However, these are usually collections of notes and correspondence without maps to show exactly the area described and so will take considerable study and background knowledge to be useful. Many of them revolve around the disputes which the various sand companies had with the poor rate set by the Leighton Buzzard Poor Law Union for their land and other taxation at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries

Archive of Brown and Merry (Leighton Buzzard)

  • BML10/42/284: lease agreement: land between Leighton Buzzard Gas Company and land of J. Arnold: 1895;
  • BML10/42/290: J. Arnold's rate assessment dispute with Leighton Buzzard Poor Law Union including valuations of pits: 1897-1898;
  • BML10/42/307: sand pit valuations and accounts for J. Arnold: 1899-1900;
  • BML10/42/308: rent charges to J. Arnold: 1900;
  • BML10/42/315: J. Arnold's Land Tax: 1902;
  • BML10/42/319: assessments of George Garside's sand pits: 1901-1903;
  • BML10/42/335: J. Arnold's Income Tax assessments: 1903-1904;
  • BML10/42/341-342: J. Arnold's objection to assessed taxes: 1904-1907;
  • BML10/42/355: agreement between J. Arnold and G. Harris for access to sidings and dumping of rubbish: 1906-1908;
  • BML10/42/364: objection of J. Arnold to tax assessment: 1906-1910;
  • BML10/42/368: valuations of the late J. Arnold's business: 1911-1919;
  • BML10/42/369: J. Arnold's objections to assessed taxes: 1909-1911;
  • BML10/42/390: noise nuisance claim against J. Arnold for pit in Billington Road: 1910-1915;
  • BML10/42/391: objection of Leighton Buzzard Sand Company to tax assessments: 1915-1916;
  • BML10/42/401: sale of contractors' plant by J. Arnold and Son: 1918

Archive of Stimpson Eve

  • Z720/250/1: Notebook of sand pit assessments: 1896-1897;
  • Z720/250/2: appeal by J. Arnold to poor rate assessment: 1897;
  • Z720/250/4: sand pit assessment notebooks: 1898-1899;
  • Z720/250/5: correspondence with Leighton Buzzard Sand Company regarding rating appeal: 1898-1900;
  • Z720/250/6: correspondence regarding appeal by George Garside against rating assessment: 1898-1900;
  • Z720/250/7: newspaper cutting regarding J. Arnold's appeal: 1898;
  • Z720/250/8: draft revaluation of J. Arnold's Grovebury Pit: 1898; 
  • Z720/250/9: copy report on rating of J. Arnold's pits: 1899;
  • Z720/250/11: valuations of Grovebury, Shenley Hill and Stone Lane Hill pits: c.1899;
  • Z720/250/12: testimony and statstics regarding J. Arnold'ssand pits: c.1899;
  • Z720/250/13: balance sheet of George Garside's Rackley Hill Railway pit: 1896-1899;
  • Z720/250/14: notice of appeal by Gregory Harris against poor rate assessment of pits: 1900;
  • Z720/250/15: notice of appeal by George Garside against poor rate assessment of pits: 1900;
  • Z720/250/16: notice of appeal by Joseph Arnold against poor rate assessment of pits: 1900;
  • Z720/250/17: draft pit valuations: c.1900;
  • Z720/250/18: notes of 1900 appeals cases made by J. R. Eve: c.1900;
  • Z720/251/1: prood of Thomas Dinwiddy's alternative valuation of Leighton Buzzard Sand Company balance sheet: 1901;
  • Z720/251/3: return of output and prices for Leighton Buzzard Sand Company: 1901;
  • Z720/251/4: sand supplied by Leighton Buzzard Sand Company to George Garside: c.1901;
  • Z720/251/5: interview between J. R. Eve and representative of Leighton Buzzard Sand Company: 1901;
  • Z720/251/6: receipts and expenses of Leighton Buzzard Sand Company: 1901;
  • Z720/251/7: necessary tenant's capital of Leighton Buzzard Sand Company: 1901;
  • Z720/251/8: valuation of Leighton Buzzard Sand Company: 1901;
  • Z720/251/9: Leighton Buzzard sand pits arbitration: 1901;
  • Z720/251/10: correspondence with surveyors and valuers regarding sand pit appeals: 1901;
  • Z720/251/11: opinion of counsel on sand pit appeals: 1901;
  • Z720/251/12: proof of evidence of J. R. Eve regarding Leighton Buzzard Sand Company rates appeal: 1901;
  • Z720/251/13: correspondence with clerk to Leighton Buzzard Poor Law Union regarding rating appeals: 1901-1902;
  • Z720/251/14: correspondence between J. R. and H. T. Eve regarding appeals: 1901;
  • Z720/251/15: correspondence between J. R. Eve and A. W. Merry regarding Joseph Arnold's appeal: 1902;
  • Z720/251/16: correspondence with George Garside regarding Shenley Hill, Rackley Hill and Vandyke Road pits: 1902;
  • Z720/251/17-18: sand pit photographs: c.1900;
  • Z720/252/1: notice of appeal by Joseph Arnold against rating assessment: 1907;
  • Z720/252/2: correspondence with clerk to Leighton Buzzard Poor Law Union regarding Arnold's appeal against assessment of Chamberlains Barns pit: 1907;
  • Z720/252/3: correspondence between J. R. Eve and A. W. Merry about Chamberlains Barns pit: 1907;
  • Z720/252/4: notice of appeal against rates by Joseph Arnold: 1909;
  • Z720/252/5: file on Joseph Arnold's appeal: 1909-1912

Other Collections

  • X606/17: sale of land at Grovebury Farm for sand workings: 1953-1960;
  • X606/22: copy Ordnance Survey Map of Grovebury Farm with pit marked: 1951-1960