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PUBLISHED: 11:45 07 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:26 05 May 2010

Shortmead Street flooded in 1905

Shortmead Street flooded in 1905

46-52 Shortmead Street NUMBERS 46 and 48 was a shop and dwelling house. Bricklayer Samuel Benson owned both cottages in 1838 and he occupied one and watchmaker George Pepper occupied the other until 1861. Later, Mr Benson, who became a builder in the to

46-52 Shortmead Street

NUMBERS 46 and 48 was a shop and dwelling house. Bricklayer Samuel Benson owned both cottages in 1838 and he occupied one and watchmaker George Pepper occupied the other until 1861.

Later, Mr Benson, who became a builder in the town, constructed cottages in Bensons Yard and Bensons Row, that will be detailed in a future article.

Between 1851 and 1861 tailor William Keep lived in one of the cottages and Ann White owned the other property with an ironmongers shop in 1871. She was followed by her son Frederick Isaac White. He was a brazier, gas fitter, bell hanger and general ironmonger from 1880 to 1925.

After he died in 1930 the property was sold. Then Albert Miller, described as a shopkeeper, was advertising English apples in 1933 and also had a carpentry business in a building in the yard behind the cottage which originally led to Bensons Row and through to Chapel Fields.

Number 50 was a dwelling house occupied by tailor William Sheffield between 1851 and 1861 then James Winch between 1861 and 1871 and finally shoemaker John Frost.

The Biggleswade Co-operative Society converted it into a grocery shop in 1895. There were initially 124 members benefiting from their Co-op dividend. They held annual social tea meetings in the town hall followed by a free concert given by members of the society.

Initially the society was successful extending to take in number 52. But the enterprise ended at an extraordinary special general meeting of the shareholders held in 1916 when the society was wound up voluntarily.

The three premises from 46 to 50 were eventually consolidated, becoming Phillips second-hand shop in the 1940s to at least the 1970s. The restored building is now Shortmead Antiques which has traded there for a number of years.

At 52 Charles Elphick used the detached shop in 1916 as headquarters of a newspaper's Prisoner of War Fund appeal. Alfred Day opened there as a fruit and vegetable dealer in 1919 and Charles Rawlins, a watch repairer, followed him around 1930 until 1940 when he moved to 30 Hitchin Street.

N R Daws Insurance was there in 1988 until it moved to 6a. The shop was demolished in 2001 to make way for the present development of Elphick Court.

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