Nostalgia: Our ancient high street

Numbers 11-13 – Cambridge House SAMUEL Wells, the Biggleswade brewer, was an early owner and when he died in 1831, ownership passed to Wells and Co. Various tenants followed including William Gardener, surveyor, John Kay, practical brewer for Wells and C

Numbers 11-13 - Cambridge House

SAMUEL Wells, the Biggleswade brewer, was an early owner and when he died in 1831, ownership passed to Wells and Co.

Various tenants followed including William Gardener, surveyor, John Kay, practical brewer for Wells and Co, and Robert Welsh, general practitioner.

During this time there were several short-lived privately run schools for young ladies held there.


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Miss Elizabeth Hillyard rented the property from the Wells and Co brewery in 1898 at a rental of £40 per annum and was still there in 1901.

By then the premises were for sale and purchased by the London County Bank.

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They decided to build a new distinctive bank in 1927 when it became the Westminster Bank Ltd.

In 1968, after a merger with the National Provincial Bank Ltd, it became the National Westminster Bank plc, now shortened to NatWest.

The offices above the bank are Westminster Chambers.

Number 15

Number 15 was once a licensed grocer's shop when William Maddams purchased the business from William Burton in about 1840.

An 1863 letter heading read:

William Maddams Grocer, Tea dealer, Cheesemonger, Tallow Candles, Importer of Irish provisions, Coffee Roasted, Foreign Fruits, Fancy Biscuits.

Agent for Ind Coope; Romford & Burton Ales, Whitbread Ale & Stout in Bottles, Guinness Dublin Stout & Reid's London Stout.

In 1909 William's son Frank Maddams sold the shop to John Moore, enabling him to trade at both 15 and 51 High Street.

The shop was sold in 1952 to Brittain's Complete House Furnishers based in St Neots.

They were only there for a short time as they decided to concentrate on their St Neots shop, still successfully trading today.

The next owners were Woodhouse, a national furnishing chain, later trading as Times Furnishers.

Poundstretcher has been there for at least 10 years, utilising premises that must be at least 160 years old.

Both the High Street shop and original warehouse standing behind in Church Street, although altered inside are still recognisable as the original buildings.

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