72 George Street Luton
George Street in 1901 - to see a larger version, please click on the image
72 George Street was first listed in Kelly's Directory for Bedfordshire of 1898 when it was in the occupation of Walter Joseph Francklin and used as a restaurant. By 1914 it was a Temperance Hotel, run by the wonderfully named Henry Josiah Julius Jones. He was still in occupation in 1920 but by the time of the next Bedfordshire directory, 1924, the occupier was the Luton Gas Works showroom.
The Temperance Hotel 72 George Street about 1910 [Z1306/75]
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.
The valuer discovered that 72 George Street was owned by Herbert Owen Williams [DV1/R7/7 and 10]. The frontage was 19 feet. The yard at the rear was let to Smith and Small Limited, straw hat manufacturers of 1a and 3 Bute Street and 47 George Street on a yearly tenancy for £12.
The main building was let to Luton Gas Company for £300 per annum on a fourteen year lease from 1923. The basement had a 7 feet ceiling and two areas measuring 19 feet by 28 feet and 19 feet by 9 feet 6 inches respectively. The shop had three areas measuring 14 feet 6 inches by 26 feet, 17 feet by 30 feet and 14 feet by 6 feet 3 inches respectively. There was a lavatory and a wood and asbestos shed in the yard measuring 7 feet by 12 feet.
The interior of Luton Gas Company showrooms 72 George Street [Z1306/75]
The second floor had a front sitting room measuring 9 feet 6 inches by 13 feet, a front bedroom measuring 9 feet by 9 feet 6 inches and a back kitchen measuring 11 feet 6 inches by 12 feet. The valuer noted: let to Foreman fitter more or less caretaker". Of the premises itself he noted: "Poor window. Very deep, middle part badly lighted".
Front offices measuring 17 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 3 inches and 11 feet 6 inches by 12 feet were sublet by Luton Gas Company to Luton Permanent Benefit Building Society on a seven year lease for £55 per annum. A back office on the first floor measuring 23 feet 6 inches by 18 feet 6 inches was sublet by Luton Gas Company to Luton & District Tradesmen's Association for £50 per annum. This was, according to the valuer a "good light room".
The Gas Company continued to occupy the premises into the 1970s, though latterly the company was part of Eastern Gas. They shared the building with the Luton Permanent Benefit Building Society in 1931 and with J. Sainsbury Limited (which was also at 74 George Street) from at least 1960.