Nostalgia: Our historic high street

19-21 High Street The original building was more than 300 years old when it was demolished in 1964. John Sandon and other family members were in business there from 1804 as plumbers, glaziers and drapers. The drapers shop was let to Jacob Randall in 184

19-21 High Street

The original building was more than 300 years old when it was demolished in 1964.

John Sandon and other family members were in business there from 1804 as plumbers, glaziers and drapers.

The drapers shop was let to Jacob Randall in 1841, followed by Robert Davison in 1851, then in 1871 to Robert Mitchell.


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John Sandon's daughter Louisa was in control in 1881.

She married Hugh Whaley and continued as Louisa Whaley as a draper until her death in 1919.

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The business passed to her son Hugh Whaley and he sold the shop in 1928 to the Misses G and C Thomas. They were daughters of Perry Thomas who came from Cornwall in 1883 to work for Spong and Son at number 23.

The shop closed in 1964 after over 120 years of trading. Despite being listed, the building was demolished and the planners hoped that it would be replaced with a suitable building.

The premises were duly rebuilt and are now three shops.

At number 19, Bob Holmes opened menswear shop H R H Holmes and Son.

Later his wife, Josie joined him with a ladieswear shop.

The ladies shop was discontinued in 1992 and the gentleman's shop closed for good in 1998. It is now Sellors and Lettors.

Number 19a was firstly Lunn Poly Travel Agency and is now Thompson's Travel

Number 21 was formerly Sketchley's cleaners and is now Timpson's Shoe Repairs.

At number 17, Thomas Spong started his chemists and printing business in 1826, with shops in Biggleswade and Shefford.

His son Douglas Spong carried on after his father died and rebuilt the printing works behind the shop in Church Street in 1909.

The North Beds Courier started in 1908 and continued until 1972, being purchased by the Bedfordshire Times in 1937 when the office moved to the Market House. Spong's Almanack came out year after year and became a source of local reference.

Spong's is to continue next week.

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