Nostalgia: Our ancient high street

Numbers 3-5 BOTH numbers three and five High Street were destroyed during the Great Fire of Biggleswade on June 16, 1785. The whole corner site was rebuilt and the curved corner building provides part of an important street scene. Number three, The Dog

Numbers 3-5

BOTH numbers three and five High Street were destroyed during the Great Fire of Biggleswade on June 16, 1785.

The whole corner site was rebuilt and the curved corner building provides part of an important street scene.

Number three, The Dog in a Doublet beerhouse occupied this site in 1732. Charles Burnage, blacksmith and journeyman, lived at the house in 1851.


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Then Richard Cawse occupied the private house and jeweller's shop there from 1870 to 1894.

His son, nationally known as Charles Penrose, was born here in 1877 and was a radio star in the 1930s and 40s.

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One of his records, The Laughing Policeman, is still being played.

Alfred Blake, who was also a renowned painter of watercolours featuring the River Ivel, took over the business in 1894.

As there is no rear entrance to three and five, Alfred Blake had a garden nearby in St Andrew's Street.

He was a churchgoer and one of his duties was to wind the parish church clock opposite.

Following his death in 1925, Humphries and Edwards were well-known jewellers and opticians there for more than 40 years.

The Get-A-Way Travel agency was here until 1974. Woodward's, solicitors, are now the occupiers.

At number five, James Dodimead moved his furnishing and piano manufacturing business to the property in 1894.

When he died a year later, his son Edward Dodimead carried on the business, expanding in 1903 as house furnisher, cabinetmaker, upholsterer, pianoforte maker, tuner and repairer.

He moved to Rylstone House in 1919.

The building then became a chocolate and sweet shop, The Chocolate Box, first run by William Eggleton.

Tot Dixon took over until 1953 and was succeeded by Brian Desborough, who ran the shop until 1969.

Lucy and Bob Harper were the last proprietors, leaving in 1986.

The shop has since had several uses and occupants including Spicer McColl estate agents at the turn of the century.

It is currently Louise's Boutique.

The next article about The White Horse ends this current series.

I am happy to feature any request from readers either through

editorial@thecomet.net or Ken@big gleswadehistory.org.uk

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