Church Street and Chapel Fields

Looking back at the history of Church Street and Chapel Fields, Biggleswade
by Ken Page

Church Street was originally known as Back Lane, The Backside or Backway before becoming part of the present Shortmead Street up to where Elphick Court stands. It was named Brewery Lane with the coming of the brewery but renamed again to the present Church Street about 1900.

Our walk starts from Shortmead Street in the east, along the north side of Church Street, into Chapelfields, returns to Church Street and continues to Rose Lane in the west before returning to Shortmead Street along the south side of Church Street.

Back Lane now Church Street 1891 b.jpg
Two wintry scenes in 1891 are marked on the original prints as being Back Lane.
The views are looking towards Shortmead Street. The Crown Inn yard is on the left and the Fire Station, Down’s Maltings, the entrance to Chapelfields Lane and Taylor’s yard to the right. Referring to the plan of 1898 below, the original cattle market is just out of view in the photograph, to the right of Taylor’s Yard. It was situated in the Crown Inn garden where produce was grown for use by the Inn and is now part of the Asda car park.

Church Street & Chapel Fields 1924
The map above is from 1924; highlighted are Church Street and Chapel Fields with Benson’s Row in green.

The plan below shows the area around the entrance to Chapel Fields Lane, as it was known in 1898.

Back Lane now Church Street 1891 a.jpg

Biggleswade Brewery & Crown Site 1898

The first building on the corner with Shortmead Street (later 2 and 4 Shortmead Street) the corner property was Montford Docwra’s brewery and bakery with off-licence in 1851. His daughter Eliza Woodham took over also running a dairy followed by her son Montford Woodham.

At No 2, Arthur Spiers ran the off licence from 1910 and Mrs Spiers ran a Temperance hotel on the Shortmead Street frontage. By 1919 this was The Café Royal & off licence; Arthur Spiers sold it to Mrs Janet Odell. Wells & Winch purchased the building in 1924 as The Cafe Royal and off-licence, run by Sydney Lancaster also a confectioner and beer retailer. H A Dalton opened it on 17th June 1938 as a Milk Bar but moved to the Market Square in 1939. Reg Young, hairdresser traded in the corner shop.

At No 4 Rebecca Dalton, then John Burnage and later Mrs Burnage, ran The Dainty Confectionery Shop with Devonshire Cream Ices in the 1920’s.

About 1946 the whole property became D J Clarke’s radio and television shop. This closed after a serious fire in 1955 . It was rebuilt as a shop and offices, Wilderspin motorcycles, scooters, mopeds to 1979, then in 1993, Savage & Son electrical contractors until August 2005 when they moved to Stratton Business Park with 40 staff. Duncan Strachan solicitor occupied 2a Church Street as offices from 1993 until 1999. RATS’ charity shop occupied the corner site with Shortmead Street until demolition for access ASDA Superstore in 2002. A tiny triangular structure built by ASDA stood unoccupied from the day it was completed (see Shortmead Street) but a new building (below right) was completed mid-2015.

Church Street 15 Apr 09 Building now demolished.jpg

This was how the corner still looked in 1957 following the fire at D.J Clarke’s two years previous

Savage’s in 2009, it stood empty for several years prior to demolition.

The new building completed in 2015; note the mansard roof which is a characteristic of early buildings in Biggleswade.

.The Church of England Junior Boys School where Col. Frank Shuttleworth laid the foundation stone on 26th June 1903. It opened on the 5th January 1904 with pupils transferred from the National Schools. The school amalgamated with the Girls Church School in 1946; they both closed in 1964 The building was conveyed to Mr & Mrs R.W. Willson the owners of Dodimead’s furniture store in May 1965. The school bell was donated to the American Air Base Chapel at Chicksands in 1979. Callaghan’s Clothing manufacturers were the first occupants.  Four industrial Units were built at the rear extending through to Chapel Fields.

Church St School 1965 Dodimead Store.jpg

Church School now industrial units May 2009.jpg

Closed as a school in 1964 it is in use in 1965 as a furniture store

Church School was used as industrial units in May 2009

Laurel Villa was built as a private house in 1884. The first occupier was Edward Dodimead who retired from his furniture business in High Street. The next owner was James Ballard from 1903 until 1915 followed by Mrs Herbert Church until about 1919. Bert Woodcroft moved from The Post Boy (where his father had been licensee for 54 years) in 1931. He died about 1950 then Mrs Ethel Woodcroft continued until her death in 1969. My uncle William (Bill) Page occupied a wooden building in the garden as a Turf Accountant in association with Percy Gyte from about 1930 until his death in 1946.

Church Street Apr 09.jpg

Laurel Villa & Old Fire Station Apr 09.jpg

 Looking east along Church Street with Laurel Villa next to the Fire Station in 2009

The Fire Station The very next morning after the fire at Wynn’s Barns nearby (detailed later) on 7th March 1874, Douglas Spong the chemist with several other tradesmen called a meeting at the Town Hall four days later to set up Biggleswade Volunteer Fire Service consisting of a Captain, two foremen an engineer and 12 members Their equipment was stored at a shed in Church Street. When the new fire station was built in 1888 a fire bell was installed and the equipment consisted of two manual pumps. The Fire Service also rented the existing wooden building next to The Maltings. The Local Board purchased a horse drawn steamer pump in 1894 just before the Urban District Council replaced them. Horses borrowed from the Swan Hotel and the Brewery drew the Steamer, this must have caused a delay when they responded to a fire call. The Urban District Council later provided two light draught horses. In 1924 the UDC bought a Vulcan lorry for road works including tarring and this was utilized to tow the fire pump. They purchased a Dennis Fire Engine with a 30-foot ladder costing £780 in 1928 when the station was enlarged. In 1941 Biggleswade became part of The National Fire Service and in 1948 Bedfordshire Fire Service was formed. A new Fire Station was built in Chestnut Avenue in 1960 and the building sold to Brittain’s furnishers opposite and used as a store. Carpentry Management Contracting refurbished the building in 1995 moving opposite in 2000. The next owners Kevin Barbour Electrics have now been replaced by Fingerprint Jewellery.

Fire Station 1883.jpg

Fire Station 1957.jpg

Fire Station & Maltings Apr 09.jpg
Members of  the Biggleswade Volunteer Fire Service outside their original shed in Church Street in 1883. They are displaying a manual pump and hose carrier.

The ‘new’ fire station is seen here
in 1957, note the bell on the roof.

The old fire station buildings in April 2009

Downs Maltings
John Miles erected Downs Maltings the large building on the corner of Church Street & Chapel Fields in 1718. It was surrendered to Richard Thwaites & William Grigg in 1762, then to John Toller in 1766, followed by John Boston, Turner Boston, then Ann Downe and eventually Wells & Co the brewers in 1864.

In the 1898 Wells & Co sale particulars It was described as “A brick & tiled 12 quarter malt house containing grain stores on the upper floor and cemented working floor beneath; drying kiln etc and a 4-roomed maltsters cottage with a large piece of garden ground in front shut off by gates from the road. IN HAND. An adjoining carpenter’s and bicycle shop with lofts over is let to Mr Whiteman at £3 per annum.”

John Larkinson was the maltster living with his family in a wooden cottage in 1901.  Alterations and extensions were made to the cottage in 1908 to enable the head brewer to live there. The maltings building was then used as a barrel store.  

There were further extensions to the building in the 1930’s when the malting kiln was removed and in 1976 there was a conversion of the building into a social Club, staff canteen and reception centre for the Brewery. Later it became a Training Centre for Greene King public house licensees & managers, continuing after the brewery closed in 1997. Jonathan Medlock purchased the whole property and in April 2007 converted it into the 80 seat Surfin Café Lounge at the Old Maltings and opened up the garden.

John Larkinson Malster and family c1901.jpg

Maltings Stores, Garage & Fire Station 1970.jpg

Malting & Brewery Church Street Aug 97.jpg

John Larkinson Malster and family c1901

Maltings Stores, Garage & Fire Station 1970

Maltings & Brewery gates Aug 1997

maltings for sale 2003.JPG

Maltings House Apr 09.jpg

Maltings May 09.jpg

Maltings for sale 2003

Maltings House April 2009

Maltings May 2009

We turn left into Chapel Fields where there was a scheme in 1946 to widen and build houses. This never materialised but partially realised when ASDA Superstore opened in 2005 on the old brewery site. The building on the left was Down’s Maltings, now ‘The Maltings’.

Moving along there is an industrial building, the white one on the left. It also has yards and garden. This is now accessed from The Old School in Church Street.

Asda supermarket is on the right.

Chapel Fields May 2009.jpg

Also a garden owned by Thomas Spong who owned the Printing works and Garden let by brewery to White Horse, plus Cottages now 2 and 4 Chapel Fields and The Bungalow (5 Chapel Fields).

Chapel Fields Aug 2008 (3).jpg

The Bungalow Chapel Fields.JPG

Entrance to Millers Court Jun 2009.jpg

Cottages – 2 and 4 Chapelfields in August 2008

The Bungalow

Rear entrance to Millers Court which is situated on Shortmead Street in June 2009

There were 13 houses in Bensons Row leading to Shortmead Street. Owner/Builder (Samuel Benson) and Tenants shown in census returns were as below, note that some of the properties would have had multiple occupancy:

HO107/1753 S176-196
RG9/996 S1-16
RG10/1550 S1-15 + *
RG11/1630 S1-11
RG12/1256 S5-23
RG13/1499 S237-250
RG14/8889 S234-S246
Samuel Benson
Employing 4 men
Samuel Benson * Samuel Benson
Master Bricklayer
William Smith
Henry Breed
Cycle Manufacturer’s Labourer
Henry Breed
Foreman for Corn Merchant
13 Sarah Breed
John Butterworth
Sarah Albone
* Eliza Brown
Needlewoman (wife)
George Rook
Ann Kelly
Charwoman (widow)
Charles Rook
Ordinary Agricultural Labourer
12 John F. Albone
Sewage Labourer
Ebenezer Barber
William Goss
* William barley
Market Gardener
James Allibone
George Bowles
Agricultural labourer
George Bowles
Ordinary Agricultural Labourer
11 George Bowles
Field Labourer
William Goss
Flora Warren
George Brunt
Agricultural Labourer
James Hasler
James Haslar
Frederick Clark
Ordinary Agricultural Labourer
10 Joseph Bilcock
General Labourer
Joseph Illesey
Agricultural Labourer
John Ives
Painter and Glazier
Frederick Chambers
Boot and shoe maker  
Frederick Chambers
Rural letter carrier
Thomas Pressland
Corn Merchant’s Carter
Sarah Pressland
9 James Watts
Field Labourer
John Varley
George Cowland
George Cowland
Boot & shoemaker
John Crouch
James Warren
Samuel Bilcock
Market Gardener’s Labourer
8 Samuel Bilcock
Sewage Labourer
Elizabeth Fuller
(receiving parish relief)
Caroline Casterton
Straw Bonnet Manufacturer
Richard Areton
Richard Aireton
John Endersby
Agricultural Labourer
James Walker
Fish Hawker
7 Frederick Cole
William Batson
Agricultural Labourer
Matthew Watkin
Evelyn Todd
Robert Arger
Agricultural labourer
Robert Milton
Agricultural Labourer
Robert Milton
Gravel digger
6 Robert Milton
Market Gardener
Joseph Roberts
Agricultural Labourer
Martha Ives
Joseph Mantle
Joseph Mantel
Journeyman carpenter
Elizabeth Ashwell
John Ashwell
Agricultural Labourer
5 Jonah Smith
Housekeeper to Market Gardener
William Chambers
William Chambers
George Chambers
Agricultural Labourer
John King
Farmer out of employ
John Richard Bowskill
Grocers Assistant
Lizzie Cole
Onion Sorter
4 Jacob Munsey
Market Gardener Labourer
Joseph Brown
Joseph Brown
Joseph Brown
Groom and Gardner
Eli Lenton
Eli Lenton
Railway Bricklayer
William Cartwright
Road labourer
3 William Cartwright
Farm Labourer
Charles Huckle
Labourer at Coal Yard
Charles Huckle
Agricultural Labourer
Charles Huckle
  Walter Benjamin Cocks
Agricultural Labourer 
William Wade
Driver of steam roller
2 Frederick Clarke
Farm Labourer
Frederick Moseley
Frederick Moseley
Frederick Moseley
Boot & Shoemaker
  Thomas Pedder
Coal Agent
Ann Chesham
(kept by children)
1 Charles William Buck, Farm Labourer
James Harcum
James Harcum
Charles Wheatley
Agricultural Labourer
  Alfred Hubbard
Machinist (Cyclist)
Minnie Milton
William Arnold
Agricultural Labourer
Those below are given as South Bensons Row S17-21 Major Church
  Mary Ann Young
William Clark
Agricultural Labourer 
John Hopkins
Agricultural Labourer 
    William King
Chemist’s Porter


Thomas Ives
Susan Sandon
    Louisa Piggots
Own means
George Cox
Journeyman Plumber
Jonathan Litchfield
    George Francis
Builder (Carpenter
William Barratt
Agricultural Labourer
William Barratt
Agricultural Labourer
William Garner
Agricultural Labourer
Thomas Faisly
Plate Layer

Census Notes:
1871 * Benson’s Yard Schedules 16, 17 and 18
1891 One property unoccupied and a number with multiple occupancy  and each Head counted
1881 Two properties unoccupied (no schedule) = 13 total. Even if multiple occupancy only one head is given
1901 All occupied; some multiple occupancy with each Head counted
1911 This is the first census where properties have actual numbers

Bensons Row was demolished and Fairlands bungalow built on the site some years ago. This was demolished in 2013 and replaced by a block of eleven flats, Benson’s Court owned by Macintyre Housing Association part of Grand Union Housing Group at a cost of £1.5 m.

Fairlands Bungalowbeing demolished Nov 2010.jpg

Benson Court Mar 2015.JPG

Fairlands Bungalow seen here in a dilapidated state in 2010

Benson’s Court in March 2015

7a to 7g Chapel Fields Aug 2008.jpg 8 & 9 Chapel Fields Apr 2015.JPG Chapel Fields Aug 2008 (2).jpg
Number 7 A to G were redeveloped in 2000 with seven terraced dwellings Originally this site was a large garden behind Elphicks Printing Works in Shortmead Street and Mead House Schoolroom 8 and 9 to 14 There was an explosion at number 9 in 2000 resulting in 8 & 9 being demolished. No 8 was rebuilt as a single dwelling in 2002. Number nine is newly built in 2015. 10 to 14  Four cottages all refurbished. It is difficult to locate the occupiers shown in the 1891 and 1901 census.

Chapel Fields VJ Street Party.jpg

Sunday School Chapel Fields Jul 2008.jpg

 Chapel Fields ‘VJ Day’ street party in the school playing field in 1945. The Methodist Schoolrooms are the right.

Methodist Chapel Sunday School in 2008

Chapel Fields Aug 2008 (1).jpg

St Andrews School June 2009.jpg

15-20 Chapel Fields newly erected 1880 (see Shortmead Street)
15 1880 G Tebbs, 1881-1901 Francis Vorley saddler
16 1880-1891 William Larkins blacksmith, 1901 Ernest Harradine coal porter.
17 1880 William Bryant platelayer, 1891-1901 Edward Brown retired butcher.
18 1880-1891 David Sole junior coachbuilder; 1901 Lydia Tasker shop assistant (she sold her shop at 130 in 1894).
19 1880 Charles Craddock basket maker, 1891-1901 Samuel Berry railway clerk
20 1880-1891 David Sole senior grocers porter 1901 assistant gardener
This takes us up to Brunts Lane.

Chapel Fields East – Returning along Chapel Fields to Church Street there is a large field purchased by Bedfordshire Education Committee during the 1930’s for the School Playing Field. A new building St Andrews Lower School replaced the school in Rose Lane in 1988.


These sites in Chapel Fields detailed below were purchased by Wells & Winch Ltd to extend the brewery.

1881-91 George Taylor Blacksmith. The Cattle Market closed in 1931 and moved to Hitchin Street.
1928 from 1875 to 1890 William Larkins then George Taylor’s Forge and garden in Chapel Fields
1931 range of buildings comprising Sandon’s former malting site
1943 Woodham’s dairy in Chapel Fields
1944 Garden in Chapel Field
A Gentleman’s Club then Brewery Social Club
A garden let to The Swan Hotel

The Brewery 1764-1997 dominated the area

Samuel Wells I took over an existing brewery in Brewery Lane now Church Street together with The Kings Arms extending to High Street (now Lloyds Bank) in 1764. He expanded his business buying four other pubs when he died in 1791. His son Samuel II continued and prospered. When he died in 1831, there were 46 pubs several maltings including his mansion Ivell Bury and wharf.   He had already made his two sons in law Robert Lindsell & William Hogg partners in Wells & Co. Robert Lindsell built Fairfield House, William Hogg mover to Ivel Bury.

Wells & Co continued to prosper with the brewery and bank. They sold the bank to Capital & Counties Ltd (Later Lloyds) in 1893. The brewery and 109 pubs were sold to George Winch of Chatham in 1898. His family brewery had just merged into a new much larger company Style & Winch Ltd at Maidstone.  George Winch set up a public company Wells & Winch Ltd in 1899 with himself as Chairman and son Edward Bluett Winch managing director. E.B. Winch moved into Stratton House in The Baulk. They completely rebuilt the brewery and opened new offices in High Street.

New Brewery 1901.jpg

The new brewery in 1900, published in ‘The Brewers Journal’ in June 1901

Henlow Brewery was purchased in 1900 and The Baldock Brewery Ltd in 1904. Edward Winch left the district in 1913, but his wife Ruth continued to live there for many years. The family were losing interest and appointed Alfred John Redman, London Manager for Style & Winch as Manager in 1915. He soon became Managing Director and purchased Page & Co Westbury Brewery Ashwell in1919, sharing Day & Sons Priory Brewery St. Neots with Charles Wells Ltd Bedford. There was no connection with the Biggleswade Wells family.

A.J. Redman gained control of the company by 1922 then completed the purchase of Newland & Nash Ltd Lurke Street Bedford in 1923 effectively doubling the company. The brewery was extended and able to absorb Higgins & Sons Ltd, Bedford in 1928. Hudson’s Cambridge & Pampisford Breweries followed in 1931. Then; both Wickhams of Hertford and the Cambridge pubs of Barclay Perkins Ltd in 1938. This was the peak when W&W controlled 383 pubs in eight counties with an annual trade of 55,000 36- gallon barrels.

During the 1839-45 war the company was able to sell all the beer it was allowed to produce resulting in a record production of 89,736 barrels of mainly mild beer in 1945. A new bottling plant opened in 1952, with the company hoping to expand, but trade was decreasing and there was a backlog of repairs with many small pubs in rural locations. A large number were closed and facilities improved in those remaining. Alfred Redman died in 1948 when his two sons Dudley & Jack Redman were joint managing directors. Dudley Redman died in 1960 just as the board was seeking to join with another brewer with similar ideals. Agreement was reached with Greene King & Sons Ltd Bury St. Edmunds in 1961. The company became Greene King (Biggleswade) Ltd and the company restructured when the former Simpson Brewery at Baldock closed.

WHL Brewery 1890.jpg


Brewery staff in 1890

 Brewery offices about 1990


New Brewery 1989.jpg

New Bedford lorries in1980

New brewery early in1990

New 600 hectolitre BREWHOUSE 1990.jpg

Brewery operation.jpg

New 600 hectolitre brewhouse 1990

Brewery operation


View from Water Tower 1989.jpg

Brewery Demolition April 1999.jpg

Demolition has started

View from the water tower, over Back Street and Hight Street to the Market Square – 1989.

Demolition in progress – April 1989

Last Kegging Day 10-10-97.jpg

Last Kegging Day 2.jpg

Last Kegging Day on 10th October 1997 and below the gates are closed for the last time.

Malting & Brewery Church Street Aug 97.jpg

Trade continued to increase, a new keg beer plant opened in 1977 but bottling ceased in 1981. In 1990 the brewery was gutted and a new state of the art brewery created to brew both lager and ale. But, contrary to expectations, the brewery closed in 1997 with production concentrated at Bury St Edmunds.

The 6½ acre site now contains ASDA Superstore which opened on 28th November 2005 and a the back of small housing estate, Wells Court, built 2010.

ASDA 2004 design 2.jpg

ASDA 2004 design 1.jpg

Seprember 2004 – the high quality design that was ditched

October 2004 – anotherdesign that was rejected

ASDA site 2004.jpg

ASDA building start 2004.jpg

Asda under construction in 2004 and the completed entrance in 2009

Asda 2012.JPG

ASDA view from May 09.jpg

And this was the one the town ended up with.

Continuing along Church Street

1952 Was James Pope’s meadow purchased by grocer John Moore in 1905 and used as a garden for his shop and house behind High Street
1966 Turners Garden. Lawrence Gall purchased 1796 from John Bricheno used by a succession of High Street chemists the last being George Turner.
1967 Exchange of Land with Working Men’s Club
1981 Hills Yard
Windsor Terrace was purchased in 1947 from Maurice Bennett and demolished about 1979 when taken into the brewery yard

Where the Working Men’s Club now stands was the ancient Wynn’s Barns which suffered a serious fire in 1874.

Working Mens Club Church Street Apr 09.jpg

John Greenhalf returning from The Crown Hotel with his supper beer saw flames leaping up from John Tebbutt’s farm in Back lane near the brewery. Labourers drinking in The Golden Pheasant broke down the gates of the farm and drove out the animals whilst other willing hands brought up the fire manual, but alas water spurted from the hose in all directions. With this he lost his house made of wood and thatch, cart shed, a barn stocked with 10 tons of onions, three in-foal mares,  two sheep and pigs. Most of the loss was covered by insurance and was estimated to be in the region of £800.

William Page (my great grandfather) purchased the farmyard in 1892 and on 29th September 1900 he obtained the tenancy of Eagle Farm from the Stratton Park Estate and moved his market garden & dairy business to Eagle Farm. The Church Street site became the Council Yard when he leased it to the Urban District Council for 7 years at £26 per annum, as they were unable to pay for it. The UDC purchased it in 18/10/1907 for £550. It was sold in 1957 after Stratton House was purchased. The Working Men’s Club bought the site and exchanged some land with the brewery to create their present premises.

Next are four cottages known as Norfolk Terrace (6-9) built about 1860 are still standing; below are census records believed to relate to here

RG10/1550 S116-120 
1881 1891 1901

Church Street 6-9 Dec 09.jpg

John Frazer
John Frazer
Cornelius Taylor
Cornelius Taylor
Fanny Wright
James Daines
Basket Maker
Frances Marsom
George W Bellamy
Martha Cooper
Robert Samuel Marsom
Oliver Morris
Eleanor Pledger
William Larkins
Blacksmith Apprentice
Thomas Taylor
John Frazier George Manger
Grocers assistant

Then there was a footpath through to Windsor Terrace and Claremont Cottages.

 Claremont o6.jpg

This followed by a walled garden occupied by George Turner the High Street chemist.
Next came Hills Yard that was formerly used by Charles Ferguson in connection with his livery stables and sold to Greene King to extend the brewery premises.
Today one will see here Wells Court built in 2010 as 14 affordable houses by North Herts Homes Ltd.

Site for 14 flats Church Street Apr 09.jpg

Wells Court site & 1-5 Church Street Apr 09.jpg

Church St site July 09.jpg

The front of Wells Court under construction in 2009

Wells Court Apr 10.jpg

Wells Court Nov 10.jpg

Wells Court in April 2010

Wells Court in November 2010

1-5 lead up to Rose Lane there are ancient but much altered cottages as seen here in 2009 with suggested occupants from census records.

1861 1871 1881 1891 1901  1 to 5 Church Street
Samuel Peacock
Coach Smith
Samuel Peacock
Coach Smith
Ann Peacock
George Goodman
Rural postman
Caroline Goodman
George Bilcock
Agricultural Labourer
George Bilcock
Agricultural Labourer
George Bilcock Charles Bilcock
Agricultural Labourer
Elizabeth M Church
Thomas Hodge
Coach trimmer
John Dear
John Dear
Former carpenter
Alice Tasker
William Humberstone
Agricultural Labourer
William Humberstone
Agricultural Labourer
Frederick Howe
Annie Howe
Alice Howe
Jane Graves
Jane Graves
Jared Garner
George Carter George Hill

Returning now from Rose Lane towards Shortmead Street on the south side of Church Street the following properties have their frontage in High Street.

Golden Pheasant Apr-09.jpg Caretakers House Liberal Club April 09.jpg Georges Hall nd HSBC bank6 Jul 08.jpg

First is the entrance to The Golden Pheasant public house, an ancient property dating back to 1753

The caretaker’s house at the rear of George’s Hall built in 1912.

George’s Hall is on the left and the rear of HSBC Bank is on the right. This opened in 1966 in the former George Turner’s chemist shop; note the high widow.

Trinity Court Church Street Jul 08.jpg Church St May 09.jpg Hair Stylist Church Street Jul 08.jpg

The cars on the left are parked at rear entrance to Barclays Bank the bank was built in 1911.

Then comes Regency Lodge is a block of flats in behind 43-7 High Street originally four timber framed cottages.

Bright Styles hairdressers, The Barn also two flats. Charlie Ferguson’s former livery stables were behind his dwelling 53 High Street, where his mother moved from the New Inn in 1912. Sometime after his widow, Maud Ferguson, died in 1972 the premises became Church Street Motorcycles. Ferguson’s yard now (part of the brewery site), was opposite.

The Old Warehouse Church Street Apr 09.jpg Shoe Co May 09.jpg LLoyds Bank Jul 08.jpg

Product Partners Ltd incorporated in 1995 completely refurbished the building now known as The Old Warehouse. The rear of John Moore’s grocers shop at 51 High Street was formerly a Maltings. They closed in 1952 and the latest occupier is Howorth’s shoes.  

This rear yard of an ancient building was Brookbanks Outfitters;it is now the back of three shops.

The back entrance to Lloyds Bank this was the Kings Arms in 1764.


Shops Abbots Walk Jul 08.jpg Abbots Walk from High Street.JPG Abbots Walk Back of May 09.jpg

Abbots Walk leading to High Street was the Chequers inn, rebuilt in 1900 as the brewery offices and Henry Franklins’ corn shop.

Abbotts Walk in 2008 and at the entrance in 2009


Nationwide May 09.jpg

Crown Hotel Apr 09.jpg

New premises block built in 1985. Now offices, Age Uk and Nationwide Building Society. This was the site of an ancient building that survived the Great Fire. It became F C Larkinson in 1935 when the premises were reconstructed and old wooden buildings at the rear were demolished.

The Crown Hotel garages below, left were rebuilt in the 1930’s.

The Crown Hotel is where the Great Fire of Biggleswade started in 1785 when about a third of the old town was destroyed. The Crown Inn was rebuilt by 1800 together with Swan Inn opposite on the High Street. A Wednesday corn market was held outside the Crown a century ago.

Spong’s former printing works was built in 1909 behind their chemist shop at 17 High Street.  After it closed Woodman & Son funeral parlour moved to 3 Market Square in 1996.Carpentry Management Contracting completely refurbished the premises as The Old Print Works in 2000. Now Aiden Jones personal trainer gymnasium.

Crown Hotel Back of & old print works Apr 06.jpg

print works 201 Apr 06.jpg

Aiden Jones Church Street.jpg

With the Crown Hotel car park on the far left the building with the blue door is ‘The Old Printworks’ in 2006.

The rear entrance to Poundstretcher is on the right with the brown door. This was the storeroom for William Maddams’ Wine Shop purchased on 1840 and sold John Moore the grocer at no 51 in 1909.

The rear entrance to Poundstretcher is behind the first car.

Looking into the far distance Savage’s establishment can just be seen.

Aiden Jones personal trainer gymnasium. Savage’s is now the shiny new building with its delightful mansard roof.

Natwest bank May 09.jpg

St Andrews Court May 09.jpg White Horse Church St May 09.jpg
Rear of National Westminster bank originally The Westminster Bank built in 1927. Flats 1 to 9 St Andrew’s Court, behind Rylstone House, was Dodimead’s furniture shop now Taylor’s Estate Agents The former White Horse now (2015) Loline Interiors can just be seen on the corner; it is No 1 High Street and concludes this walk.

All material is copyright Biggleswade History Society 2005-15