Nostalgia: Our historic high street

39-43 High Street These properties make up another old timber-framed building, situated between Lloyds Bank and Barclays Bank. Thomas McGrath practised as a doctor there in 1838 when it was a single property. William Carrington was a draper there in 185

39-43 High Street

These properties make up another old timber-framed building, situated between Lloyds Bank and Barclays Bank.

Thomas McGrath practised as a doctor there in 1838 when it was a single property.

William Carrington was a draper there in 1850.

The Misses Pledger sold ladies and gents clothing in 1891.

Albert J Brookbanks was established in 1898 at number 39 as a gentleman's tailor, outfitter and draper.

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He was soon able to extend into 41.

The Post Office opened at 43 in 1851, moving in 1899 to a new building in Station Road.

In order to celebrate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887, a clock was installed at the Post Office when the postmaster was, appropriately, Stamp Hutton.

Richard Thomas took over as postmaster in 1898 and, as the person winding the clock weekly had to pass through his bedroom, he wrote to Biggleswade Urban District Council requesting its removal.

It has been at the Town Hall (now Ask restaurant) since 1898.

Barclays Bank took over number 43 until they moved to the new building (number 45) in 1911.

Then Albert Brookbanks occupied the whole block.

His slogan was 'Brookbanks, between the banks'.

Bob Brookbanks, his son, took over after Albert died in 1947, followed in 1951 by Rex King (Albert's grandson).

He was able to carry on trading after a serious fire later that year, but it was not until 1957 that the complete premises were refurbished.

Brookbanks closed down in 1964 when the building was sold and converted into three shops.

Number 39 became Hobbies and Sports and in 1981 it was Eastern Electricity showrooms.

Barnardos charity shop traded there from 1993 to 1999 when Shoe Co moved in.

At number 41, J Dyehouse, chemists, moved from 19 Market Square in 1988. Later, David Beardwell was the chemist there.

It is now Lloyds Pharmacy.

Number 43 was Lorna's ladies' fashions until it moved to Hitchin Street in 1977.

Quality Fruit and Flowers have now traded at number 43 for over 20 years.

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