Nostalgia: Builders' premises have stood for two centuries

PUBLISHED: 12:04 18 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:11 06 May 2010

Stratton Street builders

Stratton Street builders

Stratton Street Builders, now 83 High Street, Biggleswade THE site consists of an attractive listed Georgian building dating back to 1820/30 with an extensive yard containing timber buildings created for building and carpentry trades. In 1839 William Twe

Stratton Street Builders, now 83 High Street, Biggleswade

THE site consists of an attractive listed Georgian building dating back to 1820/30 with an extensive yard containing timber buildings created for building and carpentry trades.

In 1839 William Twelvetrees was a carpenter there (it was then known as 7-9 Stratton Street) and in 1854 he was described as a builder employing 30 men.

By 1861 his son Edward, who was also an architect and surveyor, was running the business.

Edward was able to retire in 1890 and moved to Sandy.

The firm was responsible for building many properties in Biggleswade including the town hall in 1844 and Drove Road cemetery chapels in 1869.

There was a succession of owners including John David Ruffell, a builder and estimator, who died in 1898.

The premises were then apparently shared between Stones and Shelton, builders and carpenters and Hedgecock and Brewer, builders and undertakers.

The next owner, John Styles from Bath, had taken over the business of Edward Newberry at 4 London Road in 1879.

He was soon joined by his son George trading as Styles and Son. They were undertakers and funeral directors, monumental masons, builders and contractors.

Their workshop was destroyed by fire in December 1904, and in 1906 they were able to continue in business at 7-9 Stratton Street.

Following the death of his father, George Styles took over in about 1920.

The business flourished with many properties locally either newly built or altered and Styles was a household name in the town.

The firm became a limited company circa 1930 as Styles (Biggleswade) Ltd.

The directors were George Styles senior and sons George and Harold, who continued as directors in 1940 when their father died.

Stratton Street became part of High Street in 1947 and the premises was numbered 83.

When the brothers retired in 1972, three generations of Styles had traded in Biggleswade for 92 years.

W T Clarke and Son, general contractors, were the next owners but the site was unoccupied in 1997.

The present owners Quince Stoneworks moved in soon afterwards but their original premises at 3 Potton Road are still in use.

The original timber buildings have lasted for almost 200 years, but are now showing their age and some have been demolished, possibly because of health and safety regulations.

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