55 George Street Luton
George Street in 1901 - to see a larger version, please click on the image
55 George Street lies at the junction with George Street West. It was first listed in the Post Office Directory for Bedfordshire of 1869. It was then in the occupation of William Walsh, straw hat and bonnet manufacturer. He was listed at King Street in a directory of 1864.By the time of Kelly's Directory of 1894 the convern is named William Walsh and Son and is last listed in Kelly's for the county of 1906.
By 1910 Briggs and Company, boot makers were listed at 55 George Street. 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.
55 George Street was owned as well as occupied by Briggs & Company [DV1/R7/50-52]. The frontage to George Street was 21 feet 6 inches with a return frontage to George Street West of 22 feet 6 inches. The shop was divided into two areas measuring 21 feet 9 inches by 25 feet and 24 feet 6 inches by 38 feet 6 inches respectively; there was no basement. A store at the rear measured 25 feet by 16 feet 6 inches. The shop had a "Good Window".
Part of the first floor was let to Pearl Assurance Company Limited on a fourteen year lease from 1925 at a rent of £85 per annum. The front offices measured 24 feet by 11 feet 6 inches and 17 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 6 inches. The rear of the first floor and front of the second floor was let to Bertschy Limited , ribbon manufacturers and was "really 2a George Street West". Rent was £150 per annum. The first floor room measured 29 feet by 45 feet and that on the second floor, used as a store, 20 feet by 53 feet.
The rear of the second floor, also considered 2a George Street West, was let to chartered accountant Joseph Taylor at £30 per annum for a room measuring 25 feet 3 inches by 9 feet 6 inches. Finally, two front and one rear office on the second floor were let to Carter, Son & White on a seven year lease from 1925 at £50 per annum. The rooms measured 13 feet 9 inches by 11 feet 9 inches, 10 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 6 inches and 18 feet by 11 feet respectively.
Briggs and Company are listed at the premises as late as 1950. By 1960 the main occupier was Lord Peter Limited, "specialists in Clarks shoes". They are occupiers at the time of the last Kelly's Directory for Luton in 1975.
The building has a 20th century frontage to George Street but the return frontage to George Street West looks like the 19th century building which would have housed William Walsh and Son. Other occupiers of the premises include:
Hopps, Bankart and Ashworth, chartered accountants: 1910;
Arthur T. Dimmock Limited, straw hat materials merchant: 1914;
Arthur Wilson, dental surgery: 1914;
Ratners (Jewellers) Limited: at least 1960 until at least 1975 - this address is, from 1968, referred to as 55a George Street.
55 George Street June 2010