Looking back at the history of
Saffron Road from Station Road to Hitchin Street (in yellow on the 1924 map)
Starting our walk from Station Road we would have seen the cultivated area but now we find Number 1 which was formerly the Court House but is now the Town Council Offices
On 1st December 1839 Samuel Whitbread the prominent local magistrate signed a motion together with six other magistrates to set up Bedfordshire Police Force. It became operational on 18th February 1840. There were six Divisions for the County one of these being based at Biggleswade. In the absence of a Magistrates Court, the Town Hall was utilised for the administration of justice locally. This continued until 13th October 1927 when the County Police authority opened the purpose built Magistrates Court on a plot of land in Saffron Road. The Chief County Architectural Assistant Sydney C. Jury designed the building and Pettingell & Clark of Hitchin were the builders
A courtroom seating 50 people, rooms for the Judge, Magistrates; Registrar and court officials were provided. The whole of the courtroom furniture was made from Austrian oak. Mr Jury when interviewed said that the court was the best of its kind in the county and everything had been done to comply with the most modern ideas in design.
There was no mention of a mortuary. Biggleswade Urban District Councillors discussed the provision of a mortuary for the town in 1938, so I assume that this was wartime expedient.
There was a proposal in 1946 to provide a Juvenile Court at Biggleswade, but in practice local Juvenile cases were still heard at Bedford.
In 1947 the Petty Sessional Districts were reorganised into Bedford, Luton, Ampthill, Biggleswade, Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard. With increased business, the Courthouse was extended in 1961.
The Justices’ clerk’s office was transferred to Bedford in 1971.
There was further reorganisation throughout the County in 1998 so that Magistrates Courts at Biggleswade, Ampthill, Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard closed on 1st January 2000, leaving just two courts at Luton and Bedford. The last defendants came before the magistrates on 22nd December 1999.
Following upon the new Mid Bedfordshire District Council Headquarters at Chicksands a Point of Presence was needed in Biggleswade. The three Local Authorities got together with a scheme to combine the Town Council Office with County Council and District Council representation in the former Magistrates Court as a present day Town Hall.
Conversion work started in December 2005 and the New Town Hall opened for business on 30th March 2006. The Town Council original offices in Chestnut Avenue were sold.
Then, where Skipp’s greenhouses were (as seen above) there is now the entrance to Saffron Court, a development of 35 houses.
Back to saffron Road there are houses 10 to 62 leading to the former Fox public house and Hitchin Street.
On the right side starting with the bungalow Sandbrook at No 1
This is followed by 1a and 1b; they were formerly Police Houses built in 1938.
Then Saffron Cottage to No 17 Saffron Road which was reputed to have been a public house and indeed looks the part.
In the 1873 and 1874 Licensing lists William Burnage was licensee of a beerhouse owned by Wells &Co and to be called the Dragon. James Tingey was licensee in 1891.
Then the link from Foundry Lane that opened when the scrapyard was demolished and the Health Centre built.
Saffron Road Motors (Cars 4 sale that opened their first garage at Station Road in 1972, later relocating to Saffron Road.
This is followed by some earlier light industrial buildings now used as retail and small business units
Finally two flats lead us back to Hitchin Street.