47 George Street Luton
George Street in 1901 - to see a larger version, please click on the image
47 George Street is first listed in a directory of 1894 when it was in the occupation of George Cain and Company, straw hat manufacturers. The company was simply listed as in George Street in directories of 1890 and 1885. It was last listed in Kelly's Directory for the county of 1898. By 1903 the occupier was J. Hepworth and Son LImited, clothiers.
The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and building in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Most of Bedfordshire was valued in 1927. Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service is lucky in having the valuer's notebook covering most of George Street. Evidence in the book shows that the survey of George Street took place in 1928.
47 George Street was owned by William Lee Gates in 1928 (he had had a shop at 49 George Street from at least 1903 until at least 1910 and at 51 George Street from at least 1894 until at least 1914) and let to Hepworth & Son Limited, clothiers, whose head office was at Claypit Lane, Leeds [Yorkshire]. The rent was £280 and the valuer has commented: "No date, no particulars. Note, all Gates' Rents low". The shop had a frontage of 23 feet and a "Good Window". There was a return frontage of 11 feet 6 inches to Adelaide Terrace.
The shop was divided into two areas measuring 21 feet by 30 feet and 19 feet 6 inches by 15 feet respectively. A back office measured 13 feet by 5 feet 6 inches. The export department lay in the basement ("shute entrance only very little use") under the shop and was really only used as a box store. The first floor contained a front office and stock room measuring 20 feet 6 inches by 23 feet 3 inches and a back room measuring 20 feet 3 inches by 22 feet. The second floor was used as stock rooms, both rooms being the same size as those on the floor below.
Part of the rear of the premises was sublet, for £50, to Smith & Small Limited, straw and felt hat manufacturers, whose factory was at 2a Silver Street. The premises in George Street was used for storage and box making and comprised a room measuring 13 feet by 15 feet for box making on the ground floor with box stores measuring 13 feet by 78 and 15 feet by 13 feet above.
Another part of the rear of the premises was let as a bicycle store to Blundell Brothers (Luton) Limited, the store measuring 12 feet by 11 feet. This is annotated: "Demolished". Gates also used two stores at the rear of the building himself, measuring 13 feet by 22 feet and 14 feet 6 inches by 13 feet. These, too, are annotated "Demolished". The demolition probably occurred at the same time as 41, 43 and 45 George Street, in 1937.
Smith and Small were listed at 47 George Street in Kelly's Directory for the county of 1931. By 1936 Number 47 was occupied by The Fifty Shilling Tailors (Price Tailors Limited). They continued their occupation once the new building was constructed, being listed as late as 1950. From at least 1960 the occupier was listed as John Collier, simply a rebranding of The Fifty Shilling Tailor, which was in occupation in 1975, the year of the last Kelly's Directory for Luton.
45 and 47 George Street June 2010