A Look at the Past: Our ancient High Street properties

PUBLISHED: 13:41 16 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 May 2010

In 1909 J Phillips and Sons studio occupied number 73 High Street

In 1909 J Phillips and Sons studio occupied number 73 High Street

71-73 High Street NUMBER 71 - The Golden Pheasant - was a cottage in 1753, when it was owned by Elizabeth Hawkins. In 1837 the cottage contained a front shop, parlour, brew house and warehouse. It adjoined The Rose and Crown, which was a much larger coa

The Golden Pheasant at number 71 pictured in 1992 with Fairdeal Linens at number 73

71-73 High Street

NUMBER 71 - The Golden Pheasant - was a cottage in 1753, when it was owned by Elizabeth Hawkins.

In 1837 the cottage contained a front shop, parlour, brew house and warehouse.

The Golden Pheasant as it stands today

It adjoined The Rose and Crown, which was a much larger coaching inn.

The Golden Pheasant was first licensed in 1851 with James Melrose the first licensee, who also sold wet fish.

Frederick Reddern, of Horne Lane Brewery, Bedford purchased the pub in 1856. The brewery was eventually taken over by Charles Wells in 1876.

As far as tenants of the Golden Pheasant are concerned, in 1869 Walter Wren, a fishmonger with Lowestoft connections, took over, still selling fish.

His son Joseph, who opened a well-known fish shop on the Market Square, followed.

Joseph died there in 1905 aged 39, and his wife Laura passed away in 1906. Since then, there have been a succession of licensees, but the pub is still owned by Charles Wells Ltd.

Number 73: By 1841, this large property right through to Church Street consisted of two dwellings and was occupied by Edward Kimpton, a farmer, and John Luck, a tailor.

Next in occupation was Martha Race, then Emma Baker, and then Ann George, a widow, and two daughters.

Louisa George, her remaining daughter, died there in 1904.

James Phillips and Sons, photographers and stationers, then purchased the double-fronted shop, dwelling house, garden and coach house.

James Phillips retired in 1908 and dissolved the partnership with his two sons. Fred, the elder son, continued as J Phillips and Sons.

His photographic studio was on the first floor.

He sold the site to Hitchin Co-op in 1921 and Letchworth Hitchin and District Co-operative Society rebuilt the premises in 1937.

This shop comprised groceries on one side, with dairy and meat on the other side, and a pay desk at the rear where you gave your membership number to receive a half yearly cash or goods dividend.

The Co-operative Hall at the rear was available for hire. The shop converted into self-service before closing in 1983.

Fairdeal Linens opened a variety shop from 1984 to 1996, when the Job Centre moved from number 55. It is now called The Job Centre Plus.

Up my street

ROSE LANE

THE Rose and Crown coaching inn was at the corner. The two rows of workmen's houses, Rose Terrace and later Alexandra Terrace, date back to the wedding of The Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra in 1863.

# SHARP-eyed readers may have noticed the term 'burbage plots' last week. This is a mis-spelling of burgage plot, defined as an ancient property, usually a house and yard, with a strip of land behind. Following the town development scheme between 1190 and 1200 these burgage plots were rented out by the lord of the manor (The Bishop of Lincoln) at a shilling (5p) a year. In 1294 burgesses claimed the right to leave plots to their heirs when they died.

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