From brewery to boot factory and estate agents

Our ancient Market Square – Part Two AT number one Alfred Richardson occupied a wooden building that was a brewery and an off-licence from around 1869 in what was The Swan yard. He catered for the home trade and moved to Potton in 1877 where he continued

Our ancient Market Square - Part Two

AT number one Alfred Richardson occupied a wooden building that was a brewery and an off-licence from around 1869 in what was The Swan yard.

He catered for the home trade and moved to Potton in 1877 where he continued as a brewer and also had a mineral water business.

The building then became Soundy's boot factory until about 1920. Wells & Winch Ltd the brewers built a new single storey shop and offices on the site early in the 1930s and let it to F W Western estate agents. Westerns purchased the building in 1952 and extended to two storeys. By 1970 the firm was Peacock Western and is now Thomas Morris estate agents.

Numbers two to six Market Square was originally The Swan garden that was sold off in 1874 as four building plots. Three of these had 28-foot frontages and the fourth had a 12-foot frontage giving access to the land behind.

At number two William Aubrey was a grocer from about 1890 until 1922 when he sold the business to the Herts & Beds Bacon Factory which remained there until about 1970. Horace Gale Ltd then converted it into a musical, record and audio shop. It won top awards as independent music retailers for window displays in 1996, becoming Gales Euronics in 2000 before finally closing in December 2005.

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The building is currently occupied by Greggs the bakers which opened early in 2006. Bell McCombie accountants, later Austin & Co then Keens, Shay Keens occupied the offices above until it moved to Victoria House, Shortmead Street.

At number three was coachbuilder James Saunders who opened his new showroom in 1892 with workshops and a large yard at the rear. Together with his sons he carried on an extensive business making horse drawn vehicles of all kinds. The last member of the family Cecil James Saunders moved to Palace Street in 1925.

The Biggleswade Gas Company opened its new showroom there in 1927. The Tottenham & District Gas Company took over in 1940 then, after nationalisation in 1948, it was British Gas. It closed the showroom in December 1993. Woodman & Son moved its funeral parlour to the building, moving from Church Street in 1996, and is still there.

To be continued

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