Nostalgia: Commerce House
COMMERCE HOUSE, 22 HIGH STREET, BIGGLESWADE Part Two ALBERT Denny took over the gentleman s outfitters business at Commerce House from his father Robert in 1906. A serious fire devastated the business in May 1944, with much of the building and stock des
COMMERCE HOUSE, 22 HIGH STREET, BIGGLESWADE
ALBERT Denny took over the gentleman's outfitters business at Commerce House from his father Robert in 1906.
A serious fire devastated the business in May 1944, with much of the building and stock destroyed.
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Clothes were on ration in wartime and items which had been stored in the cellars and were salvaged from the fire were sold at half price and half coupon.
Local shoppers took advantage of the opportunity and the stock was soon sold out.
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Fred Levitt, a renowned architect, used the first floor of Commerce House as offices.
He was badly affected by the fire, losing plans of his designs and records going back 20 years.
The wartime HLS Transport Pool formed by hauliers from Arlesey, Henlow, Langford, Potton, Sandy and Stotfold also occupied offices in the building and had to relocate.
Albert Denny, aged 61, died later that year and his son Robert continued the business from his home in Drove Road.
With building restrictions still in force, it was not until 1949 that Robert Denny was able to have the premises rebuilt and resume normal trading.
Fred Levitt designed a new two-storey building on the original foundations using salvaged bricks.
Mr Levitt was able to return to new offices on the first floor, until with his business expanding he relocated to London Road where The Levitt Partnership still flourishes.
Robert Denny closed his gentleman's outfitting business in 1973 and converted the premises into two shops.
One shop was let to Fruit and Flowers and then four years later Cream, a ladies' fashion shop opened there.
In 1988 the Halifax Building Society took over the shop and is still there.
Colley Sampson Estate Agents took over the other shop. They moved on and by 1988 it was The Linen Shop.
The next change was to Lady Jane Fashions and the present occupants are PD Sports Scene.