83 George Street Luton
George Street in 1901 - to see a larger version, please click on the image
83 George Street was first listed in Kelly's Directory for Bedfordshire of 1898 when it was in the occupation of Buckingham and Company, straw hat manufacturers. By 1903 the occupier was George Wright, also a straw hat manufacturer. He was last listed in 1910 and by 1924 the occupier was Percy Reginald Hinton, a dentist.
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.
Sidney Farmer owned this building and used it as a pianoforte warehouse; he also had premises at 2 Wellington Street which were included in the description of 83 George Street. He had leased 85 George Street from at least 1906 until at least 1924. The George Street frontage was 22 feet and the Wellington Street frontage 26 feet.
The George Street shop measured 21 feet 6 inches by 24 feet and the Wellington Street shop 26 feet 3 inches by 21 feet 6 inches. An office measured 7 feet square. A gramophone room measured 11 feet by 16 feet and a store 16 feet square. The basement beneath contained a store measuring 25 feet by 21 feet.
The first floor comprised: a front showroom measuring 24 feet 3 inches by 22 feet 9 inches; a store measuring 11 feet 6 inches by 16 feet 6 inches; a workshop measuring 12 feet 6 inches by 17 feet; two gramophone rooms facing Wellington Street measuring 16 feet by 13 feet 6 inches and 5 feet by 10 feet and a front studio on Wellington Street measuring 12 feet square.
The second floor ("over George Street") had a front studio measuring 13 feet 9 inches by 17 feet 6 inches, a store measuring 11 feet by 17 feet 6 inches and a back studio measuring 10 feet 9 inches by 18 feet. This floor was occupied by Elsie Toyer who paid £50 per annum rent. She was a singing teacher and may be the E. Nichol, singing teacher still listed in 1936.
In 1931 another musician, Leslie Dawson, violin teacher, shared the premises with Farmer and Elsie Toyer. He was last listed in 1936. S. Farmer and Company was last listed in 1960, the property being vanact in Kelly's Directory for Luton of 1965. By 1968 the occupier was Rhonelle, fashions and by 1972 Williams Furniture Limited. By the time of the last Kelly's for Luton, 1975, the occupier was The Belfast, soft furnishers.