Nostalgia: From poor beginings
BRIGHAM HOUSE 93 High Street, Biggleswade BRIGHAM House began life as a poorhouse and a work house. The present building dates back to around 1781. Following the completion of The Union Workhouse at London Road in 1836, the premises were closed and sol
93 High Street, Biggleswade
BRIGHAM House began life as a poorhouse and a work house. The present building dates back to around 1781.
Following the completion of The Union Workhouse at London Road in 1836, the premises were closed and sold to George Newberry in 1837.
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It is shown on the tithe award plan of 1838 as the 'Old Workhouse' and surrounded Camden House to the north and west from Stratton Street to Crab Lane.
Thomas James Hooper from Worcestershire, who had qualified as a solicitor in 1854, moved to Biggleswade taking over the practice of Thomas Argles.
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He purchased the old workhouse, now a desirable private residence, in 1861. Thomas Hooper held a considerable number of public appointments including registrar of Biggleswade County Court.
I believe that he was responsible for the county court house built in his garden circa 1861.
The firm became Hooper and Fletcher in 1898 when Thomas Hooper went into partnership with William Fletcher who came from Brigham Hill, Cockermouth. Following her husband's death in 1904, Mrs Hooper sold the house to William Fletcher who named the house Brigham after his birthplace.
He carried on with the practice and numerous public appointments until his death in 1931.
New partners continued and Hooper and Fletcher moved their offices to 9 Shortmead Street.
Mrs Fletcher lived at Brigham House until she passed away in 1940.
Mr and Mrs Tunnard were the next owners until 1959 when George Hay and Co, the well-known accountants, purchased the property for their offices.
The county court house continued independently until the local Customs and Excise Office (including old age pensions) moved there from Station Chambers around 1934.
By 1940 the building was recognised as government offices.
The Employment Benefits Office and Job Centre were in operation there from 1980 to 1996.
After a time this distinctive building became surplus to requirements and is now a private house.