Nostalgia: Engaging the wharf factor…

PUBLISHED: 11:36 09 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:35 06 May 2010

Wharf House

Wharf House

WHARF HOUSE, SHORTMEAD STREET, BIGGLESWADE Have you ever wondered about the impressive house in Shortmead Street known as Wharf House? It was originally the Middle Wharf used for the Ivel Navigation between 1756 and 1876. Denis Herbert and Richard Foste

WHARF HOUSE, SHORTMEAD STREET, BIGGLESWADE

Have you ever wondered about the impressive house in Shortmead Street known as Wharf House?

It was originally the Middle Wharf used for the Ivel Navigation between 1756 and 1876.

Denis Herbert and Richard Foster, both coal merchants, were trading there in 1785. John Foster, William Hogg and John Croft followed them in 1823.

William Pope, a corn and coal merchant and maltster, was in occupation from 1830. He was one of numerous members of the Pope family involved in the corn trade at Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton, including his five sons. For many years it was known as Pope's Wharf.

When William Pope died around 1885, the business was known as Pope Brothers. They had another premises at Mark Lane, London.

In 1899 there was a failure at the London Corn Exchange that resulted in difficult times for the firm.

A fire in 1905 destroyed a large part of the corn stores and buildings at Wharf House, together with an adjacent onion loft belonging to Frederick Gee.

After one son, Charles James Pope, died in 1904, the firm was known as Charles James Pope and Co.

The last son, William John Pope, retired to 17 Fairfield Road, where he died in 1932.

By 1935 William Jordan and Son of Holme Mills were the owners of the wharf premises, but Miss Alice Sarah Hipwell resided at Wharf House from about 1925 until her death in 1938.

She was connected with a family of millers at Sharnbrook.

After this, Jim Alison rented part of the wharf for a road haulage business delivering flour from the J Arthur Rank mills in London to bakers locally.

Abel (Peter) Smith, a corn merchant, moved to Wharf House in 1938 with his son Harold, but their business closed in 1940 due to the war.

Harold Smith, a notable local historian, became transport manager at Franklin's Mill.

It was about this time that the iron railings in front of Wharf House were removed for the war effort.

After the war, Wharf Engineering was one of the firms operating in the complex.

William Chisholm and family utilized Wharf House as an overnight stop for long distance lorry drivers for some years until it became a private residence.

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