1800AD - 1930AD

Houghton Regis Timeline

by Alan D Winter
Beginnings | 1200AD - 1800AD | 1930 - Present

1800AD

1800: James and Thomas Fossey and Joseph Tween of Houghton Regis are issued with  Gamekeeper's certificates. In July Puddle-Hill Toll Gate is offered to let by auction. 40 acres in HR in 5 different Lots is offered for sale by auction.

1801: Houghton Regis population 784;

1802: Land enclosures: "allotments assigned to the impropriator and vica, in lieu of tithes" (ref FWB).

1803: The Old Gibbet Post(WS) at the corner of Gib Close, Chalk Hill, is destroyed by Irish recruits. On this post a man from Sewell had been secured with chains for robbing the mail coach between Dunstable and Chalk Hill. Rev. Thos. W. Morris is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church

1803/4: A new Baptist Chapel is built on the south side of High Street at its western end, to replace the smaller one of 1790. The Chapel at Thorn is physically moved into the village where Baptists from Dunstable also came. ( pdf Google document of Houghton Regis Baptist Church) .

1804: The farm estate of Mr Joseph Anstee is advertised for sale by auction.

1806: At Bedwell 16 acres of Tythe free arable and sweared land under the tenure of William Collier was auctioned.

1810: Rev. W.M. Anderson is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church.

1811: Houghton Regis population 1,020.


Oil painting by Thomas Fisher about 1812.

Looking east towards the church with "Top School" to the left, and Townsend Farm to the right.
Source: Wikigallery.org

1813: Houghton Regis was asked to repair its road running between Whipsnade and Studham.
Source: Bedfordshire County Records.quarter session rolls

By October 1813, it appears to have been repaired.

1814: James Hardy, a straw hat manufacturer of HR declared bankrupt.

c1815: Charity boys are being asked to pay for their own pen, inks and firing at the Free School school house. An attempt is made by the Lesley's to make an unqualified son of the family the next schoolmaster, and thereby retain a roof over their heads. But Henry Brandreth(4) recommends to the distant trustee that George Taylor from Markyate should be the next school master. Taylor is there until 1820. In Nov. 1815 James Lesley died at his home in HR, after being the clerk to the Justices and Commissioners for 40 years, as well as clerk of the general and subdivision meetings.

By 1815 work had started to lower the height of Puddlehill.

1816: Henry Brandreth appointed sheriff of Bedfordshire by His Royal Highness the Prince Regent. William Sere, a child of almost 2, found drowned in a pond at Sewell.

1817: March - Gutley Blackhorn stole a sheep and a sack and received the death sentence but was afterwards reprieved. John Parker, 77, was found drowned in a ditch. George Taylor gives first official lessons at the Houghton Regis Free School in February. But by now fruit trees and shrubs have been cut down , an outhouse had been pulled down, and essential fittings and tiles have been removed from inside the school house by the annoyed Lesley family. (CRO B 695). Jun - An unknown man was found dead at Chalk Hill. Aug - 25 acres of arable land next to the Mixed Way, and  Great Chester North Road in HR is offered for freehold sale.

Gutley BACKHORN, a native German, aged 37, residing in Houghton Regis was found guilty of sheep stealing and transported for life on the 'Larkins' to News South Wales, sailing on 20 Jul 1817.

1818: Young men are taught in branches of English Literature at Houghton Regis for a fee of 21 guineas, including board, by George Taylor. Nov - At the Annual Meeting of the Bedfordshire Agricultural Society, William Jones, a labourer, was awarded 3 guineas having worked on the same farm at Houghton Regis for 42 years. Notice given of intention to bring in through Parliament a toll road between Luton and Dunstable.

1819: Rev J Dunne 'instituted' at HR. James Turner insolvent.

1820: The circuitous route around Puddlehill is sold off to Henry Brandreth for £20; tollgate is moved to "Kate's Hill" near Toddington turn-off. George Taylor dies; Richard Cumberland carries on now as headteacher at the Free School until his death in 1874 when he is 87 years old.

1821: Houghton Regis population 1,283.

1822: Caldecote Manor (Calcutt Farm) is in the hands of Richard Gilpin, without manorial status (ref.)

1825: Repairs made to masonry of the tower of All Saints church.

1826: Rev. Daniel Gould is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church, serving until death in 1881.

1827: All Saints church tower steps repaired.

1829: A well is discovered during the building of the Dunstable to Leighton Buzzard railway line. The well is at least 120 ft (37 m) deep and is filled with Roman material including pottery, tiles, human and animal bones, burnt wood and ashes. The well is recorded by James Wyatt and W. Monkhouse.

1830: A hand pulled fire engine is purchased.

Francis SANDERS, age 16 of Houghton Regis, was found guilty in July 1830 of stealing from a dwelling house, and removed to Hulk Justitia at Woolwich  from where he was transported for 14 years, sailing on 3 Sep 1830 on 'York' bound for New South Wales.


1831: Houghton Regis population 1,424. From now until 1885 the elected Members of Parliament for the area are either "Conservative" or "Liberal". The 1831 Census categorizes males aged over 20, as being: Employers & Professionals (14), Middling Sorts (90), Labourers & Servants (230), Others 7 (source). Of these, two thirds were occupied in agriculture, a quarter in retail and handicraft (source) There are 289 houses in the parish.(source)

1832: Between 1430 and 1832 who could vote in Parliamentary elections was defined by the Forty Shilling Freeholder Act. Basically, any man who owned freehold property worth £2 in the county could have voted since 1430, provided they made the journey to Bedford to cast it, and at the expectation of payment of journey costs by the candidates. The Great Reform Act of 1832, extended voting to male tenants-at-will paying an annual rent of £50 or more, and to owners of land in copyhold worth £10 (value around £850 in 2012 source). Despite these reforms only 3,966 were registered and entitled to vote at the general election of 1832, out of a population in Bedfordshire of some 95,000.

1833: The “Liverpool Express” Stage Coach overturns near Chalk Hill; a person named Stern is killed.

1834/5: 86 seater Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, built at Chalk Hill, by the side of the 1782 road, where there were 26 cottages and Green Man public house.

1835: Puddlehill trust (Dunstable to Hockliffe) income from tolls £2,770.

Charles PARKINS, age 21, of Houghton Regis, was found guilty in January of sheep stealing, and sent to the prison ship Hulk Justitia at Woolwich from where he was transported for life on 6th Jul 1835 on the 'Mary Ann' to New South Wales (ref).


1836: Act of Parliament authorises £10,000 (£850,000 in 2012 money source) for "lowering Chalk Hill".
Rev. Alex. Smith becomes Pastor of Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church, which is now separated from the Dunstable brethren, and continues as Pastor until 1843 when he leaves for America.

1837: Chalk Hill, the Roman road, was excavated further, the road of 1782 being abandoned.

Henry PATEMAN,  age 18, of Houghton Regis, was found guilty on 9 Mar 1837 Assizes, of stealing potatoes and removed to Hulk Justitia at Woolwich on 10 Apr 1837, sentenced to transportation for 7 years, sailing on 4 Oct 1837 on the Neptune to Van Deimen's land (Tasmania).


1838: The number of stage coaches passing through Chalk Hill is greatly reduced as London-Birmingham railway is built, passing through nearby Leighton Buzzard.

1840: Puddlehill trust (Dunstable to Hockliffe) income from tolls £1,030.

c1840: Henry Brandreth(4) leaves Houghton Hall to the eldest son of his youngest sister, on condition that the boy, Humphrey Gibbs, change his name to Brandreth and live at the Hall.

1841: Houghton Regis population 1661. There are 364 houses in the parish.(source)
Queen Victoria stopped overnight in nearby Red Lion at Dunstable. 36 ratepayers of the village showed their disapproval of the early police force, at quarter sessions, ".. the amount of crime being in our estimation in no respect diminished, and the enormous cost being totally disproportionate ... We therefore respectfully entreat your worships [to relieve] us altogether from the rural police."

1842: Early in the year it was reported that James Messenger died after being concussed through being struck by the sails from the Mill (link ). Wooden pulpit bought for All Saints parish church.

James COOK, age 33, of the parish was found guilty of sheep stealing on 4 Jan 1842, Epiphany, was transported to Gibraltar for 10 years, but in February 1848 was further moved to Van Diemen's land (Tasmania) on board the Mount Stuart Elphinstone.

Joseph SHORT, and Jesse SINFIELD, both of the parish was found guilty of sheep stealing on 4 Jan 1842 Epiphany, was sent to Hulk York at Gosport on 26 Jan 1842, sentenced to transportation for 10 years, sailing on 15 Jul 1842 on the 'Marquis of Hastings' to Van Diemen's land (Tasmania)


HMS York: 'Hulks' were unable to sail, but instead served their time  as storage,
 sometimes as 'prison hulks'. Image: Wikipedia

1843: Rev. Geo. Hull is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church.

1844: Primitive Methodist Chapel is built on the east side of King's Street.

1845: Barn of Mr Fisher Scroggs of Sewell is destroyed by fire and three ploughs of Mr Cook are broken. David Humphrey and David Tennant confessed their guilt, as well as setting fire to Mr Cook's premises (ref. Bedford Times, 14 March 1846).

1846: Humphrey Gibbs, in order to inherit Houghton Hall, pays £120 to change his surname to Brandreth and takes up Brandreth coat of arms in conjunction with his own family's arms. 21st December: Humphrey Gibbs Brandreth purchases from the Duke of Bedford for £5,000 farmland and buildings south of Houghton Hall, to the west of the road leading from Houghton Regis towards Luton (now Park Road North), part of the farm being the occupation of William Eames. One plot was known as Home Close (now used by local football amateur teams); another part known as Old Close (now Houghton Hall Park, a free roaming space managed by Central Bedfordshire Council).

1846: Rev. M.W. Flanders is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church.  A major fire destroyed several ‘old cottages’ at Thorn in May 1846 (BLARS B175).

David HUMPHREY, aged 21, of  Houghton Regis was found guilty in the March Assizes of arson and sent to Millbank Prison on 24 Jul 1846. He was later transported for 20 years, sailing on 31 Jul 1852 on the 'Lady Montagu' to Van Diemen's land (Tasmania).
David TENNANT, aged 22, of Houghton Regis was found guilty in the March Assizes of arson and sent to Millbank Prison on 24 Jul 1846. He was later transported for 20 years, sailing on 8 Oct 1846 on the 'Pestonjee Bomanjee' to Van Diemen's land (Tasmania).

1847: A national school is established at Houghton Regis. Five newly built cottages at Thorn were sold to Humphrey Brandreth of Houghton House (BLARS B173; B174; B176; B178)

1848: John White's slaughterhouse and barns at Chalk Hill caught fire. Estate cottages are built near Chequers roundabout.

1849: Bedford Assizes: three men from the area are accused of unlawfully and maliciously wounding two police constables. (A fascinating account of this case and life and times of those days was written by Judy Wright in 2006, called Selling Sparrows  - dedicated website)

George WHITE,  aged 25 of Houghton Regis is found guilty of a felony at 8 Mar 1849 Assizes. He is sent to Millbank Prison / Shorncliffe / Portland Prison, sentenced to 15 years transportation on 8 Aug 1849, and sailed on 30 Dec 1850 on the 'Mermaid' to Western Australia (ref).


1848: 'Dunstable North' Railway Station opens for service between Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard. At this time the station is in Houghton Regis. Today this is one of the sites of Council Offices for Central Bedfordshire.


1849: Rev. J.W. Lance is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church.

1850: Wesleyan Methodist Chapel is built, off what was then Cumberland Street, (the site today is the entrance road to the Cemetery, south of Morrison's supermarket). James Turvey stole 5 bushels of wheat and was sentenced to 12 Calendar Months Hard Labour (note)

c1851: Humphrey Gibbs Brandreth pays Henry Clutton £4,508 to renovate Houghton Hall.

1851: Census records 183 plaiters living on the main road between Townsend Farm and the Green. Houghton Regis population 2,213. There are 474 houses in the parish.(source)
Mrs Poulton, schoolmistress in the High Street; Sam Poulton, a 'plaiting schoolmaster' present at Church Place in front of the church. A top earning plaiting child made 12s a week. At Puddlehill the census records 26 cottages with 82 plaiters.

Extent of Houghton Regis in 1851


1853: George POULTON, age 18, on 13 Jul 1853 Assizes, straw plaiter of Houghton Regis, was sent to Millbank Prison on 14 Sep 1853 for burglary and stealing money [ref]. He was transported for 10 years, sailing on 3 Jan 1856 on the 'William Hammond' to Western Australia.(ref)

1854: Rev. John Lewis is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church.

1856: The final remaining distant trustee of the Thomas Whitehead Free School on the Green relinquishes trusteeship to a set of new local people. David Hunt, a shepherd of Houghton Regis, was charged at Luton for setting fire to 17 stacks of corn belonging to Edward Barnard; he had walked from Dropshort (just on the edge of Toddington) down Lord's Hill towards Bidwell, walking past Barnard's farm.; the account does not show whether he was found guilty or not.

c1857: The Church of England built a 'National' school at the northern boundary of the churchyard.

1858: 'Dunstable Church Street' Railway station opens with trains running from Dunstable to Luton. At this time the station is in Houghton Regis.

1860: A subscription was started for the building of the church-yard wall.

1861: Houghton Regis population 2,169; Houses, 452. Rev. G. H. Davies is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church. Act of Parliament restricts speed in the country to 10mph, and to 5mph in towns.

1862 Directory  on the Houghton Regis Heritage Society website lists some names and occupations at this time.

1863: A subscription is raised to bring a gas supply to the village. In the town centre the foundation stone for a new Houghton Regis Baptist Church is laid in July by Rev. Davies, and the building opens in April 1864; the builder being Mr. Joseph Tofield of Houghton Regis. The former Baptist Church is converted for use as classrooms and are used for that purpose for over 20 years under the British School Committee, then as Board School from 1878.

1864: Man and Flag Act, restricts road speeds in the country to 4mph, and to 2mph in towns, plus a man had to walk in front of mechanically driven vehicles with a red flag. This law in force until 1896. James Knapton set fire to a stack of oats the property of Richard Howes, (note) and was sentenced to 6 Years Penal Servitude.

1865: Thomas Whitehead school was handed over by the Rev Jacson to 'six substantial inhabitants' per the will of Thomas Whitehead.

1866: William Godfrey was found drunk and riotous on the 23rd Sept. 1866, and was sentenced to 1 Calendar Month or to pay 3 pounds 4 shillings (note).

1867: Factory Act prohibits children under 8 from working and those aged 9-13 were limited to part time work if they had school attendance certificates, so this affects the local plaiting industry. Samuel Taverner, aged 28, in October 1867 stole one barrow wheel of the value of 2 shillings and a quantity of iron of the value of 1 shilling the property of William Malin; he was sentenced to 7 Years Penal Servitude. (note). Joseph Horwood, aged 27, in December 1867 stole three spades of the value of 6 shillings and 4 pence the property of David Searle at Houghton Regis on the 10th Dec.1867; he was sentenced to 7 Years Penal Servitude. (note)

1868: Puddlehill Trust sell the right to collect tolls.

1869: Factory inspectors record plaiters living in every cottage. John Deacon, 70, commits suicide by throwing himself down a well in the middle of the night after receiving notice to quit his lodgings.

1870: Dunstable Church Street railway station is virtually destroyed by fire. Import duties are lifted and cheap foreign plait starts to come in, seriously affecting local employment.

1870: Rev. Alfred Walker is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church.

1871: James Holt of High Street describes how he buys straw from farmers, processed it, and children help to prepare it for Dunstable's plait market on Wednesday's. Houghton Regis population 2,412.

1873: Serious accident on the railway between Dunstable and Leighton, several persons injured. The Turnpike on Watling Street between Houghton Regis and Hockliffe, known as the Puddlehill Gate is abolished.

1874: The Houghton Steam Corn Mill is offered for Sale by Auction (see fascinating account on page 204 of Dunstable History Society Newsletter) and is sold to the tenant, Mr Smith, for £1,200.

Work to enlarge the Chalk Cutting (now A5)  (undated)

1875: National School closes. The Free School on the Green moves to the National School building. Asa Heap and wife at the Whitehead school until 1902, joint salary £100 p.a. Houghton Regis Public Baths opens daily.

1876: 25 pubs and 6 beerhouses are recorded – 1 for every 17 inhabited houses in Houghton Regis.

1877: Mrs Catherine Bleney of Houghton Regis charged with wilful murder of the illegitimate new born child of her daughter, Harriet Bleney (Bedfordshire Mercury). Annual treat for Church Sunday School scholars hosted by Henry Brandreth in Houghton Hall Park; 400 attended. Post office Directory for 1877 on the Houghton Regis Heritage Society website lists information and people at this time.

1878: After some resistance local people are persuaded to have piped water. 41 children baptised on Whit Sunday. A parish meeting was called to decide whether to have a school board or not. After debate, the motion to have one was carried 31 to 26

1879: The 14thC chancel at All Saints is rebuilt. Stone pulpit erected at All Saints church. In July, Henry Pateman, a butcher of the village was fined £5 + £1 costs for sending bad meat to the Central meat Market.

1880: After 1880 school attendance is made compulsory for children aged 5 to 12 years old.

1880s: Henry Chernocke Gibbs Brandreth buys back the Manor of Houghton Regis from the Duke of Bedford, and builds a fire station in front of the church.

1881: Houghton Regis population 2,406. There are 579 houses in the parish.(source). The old Free School building on the Green is replaced by a brand new building after trustees raised funds from the sale of some land assets near the railway line; now the Free (charity) school provides a school for both boys and girls.

1882: Stone panels carved in pulpit as memorial to Rev. William Faux Lovell, M.A.

1885: Redistribution of Seats Act 1885. The old Parliamentary seat of Bedfordshire (2 members) is abolished. Houghton Regis was reallocated to the "Luton" seat (1 member) along with Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard. 1885, Cyril Flower (Liberal), MP for Luton. Thomas Innes and Thomas Spittal fined for out of hours drinking at The Chequers. Joseph Burt, Thomas Higgs, Alfred Groom in brawl after drinking at 'The Lion'. Leonard Scott, Edward Bleaney charged with stealing eggs from Thomas D. Cook.

1886: Rev. J.T. Frost is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church.

1887: Mr W. Cooper of Tythe Farm, Houghton Regis  was a successful ram breeder at this time.

1889: The first elections to Bedfordshire County Council are on 24 January. Henry Chernocke Gibbs Brandreth is Houghton Regis' first representative.



1890’s: J B Forder’s workforce are pictured at the Sewell Lime Works. Part of MaidenBower is lost to excavations before the lime works eventually close.

1890: "battle of Brewers Hill", at this time in Houghton Regis, is about whether Brewers Hill stays as a private track, or is made a public road. Read more.


1891: Houghton Regis population 2,187. There are 584 houses in the parish.(source). Waterlow & Son Ltd printing works opens in Upper Houghton (demolished 1990). ( Waterlow's see p185 of DHS Newsletter and Also GracesGuide and Collections Online).

1891: There are 584 houses in the parish.(source).

1892: Brewer’s Hill Road, s formally opened to the public. 1892 Samuel Howard Whitbread (Liberal) is elected MP for Luton constituency.

1894: Harrison Carter open engineering works in south of Houghton Regis on the Luton Road. William Abel, butcher, and George Tompkins, butcher is summons for sheep wandering in corn field.

1895: In March, an application was handed in to the HRPC for "one quarter and one acre" for allotments. Thomas Gair Ashton (Liberal) is elected MP for Luton constituency.

1896: It was the practice of the Parish Council (HRPC) to elect parish councillors on an annual basis at a public meeting by show of hands. If anyone called for a poll, and 4 people supported the call, then a poll had to be conducted. In March 1896, 25 nominations were received; topping the poll was Alfred Spittel, shoemaker of High Street, Houghton Regis with 77 votes and a poll was demanded.

1897: In March, 19 nominations for parish councillors were received. The Top 15 were elected.
 30 Sep - Houghton Regis CP/AP was reduced to help create MARKYATE CP LGBO P1312. As part of this, Buckwood Stubbs, a long-time outlying parcel of Houghton Regis was transferred to help form the new parish of Markyate. HR Parish council "show of hands" decides who is elected.

1898: Kelly Directory of Bedfordshire mentions "...The church of St. Michael, formerly All Saints ..."
In March, 21 nominations were received for parish councillors, a poll was demanded but insufficient support was found, and the top 15 were declared duly elected. In August, the Church Sunday school annual treat held, with scholars "marched to the Park" to enjoy a "sumptuous tea" at Houghton Hall.

1899: January Up to 60 invitations were accepted to attend the annual Servants Ball at Houghton Hall. In March, 22 nominations were received for parish councillors, a poll was demanded but insufficient support was found, and the top 15 were declared duly elected. PC Gough retired after spending the last 15 years of his 28 years service stationed in Houghton Regis. November - Petitioners at Upper Houghton demand a separate polling district. In August the annual Sunday School treat was held at Houghton Hall with games and dancing, and with one of the "fire balloons" lodging in a Park tree. A Miss Harris was appointed as assistant mistress to the Chiltern Rd school in Houghton Regis at £35 per year.


1900AD

1900: The Parish Council met on January 1st and resolved "That this meeting of the Parishioners of Houghton Regis enters its most emphatic protest against the scheme of incorporation proposed by the Borough of Dunstable". The Council agreed to a levy of 6d in the £ (if necessary) to oppose the Incorporation of Upper Houghton Regis by Dunstable Town Council. Dunstable Borough Extension Local Government Enquiry Report (story link).
Cheap Chinese plait imports bring prices obtained for locally produced plait down to a quarter of what was obtainable in 1870. Building plots along Gilpin Street, Upper Houghton Regis, are advertised for sale.

1900: (anecdotal, referring to the Chalk Cutting, above.) "When I was 15 (1960) my boss who was 60 told me about his grandfather as a young boy rode a horse from Leagrave to here, jumped the hedges at the top not realising what was on the other side.Rolled all the way down." - Roger Ellis.

1901: In March the number of candidates for parish councillor was reduced by the withdrawal of the Rev. WIlliam Wedge, to 15 and those 15 were duly elected.
Houghton Regis population 2,608. There are 681 houses in the parish.(source)
Rev. John T. Isles is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church.



1902: Dales Dubbin manufactory starts up in Tavistock Street, Upper Houghton Regis, having previously been established in East Dulwich. In August the eldest of Squire Brandreth's sons came of age and threw a party in the park inviting 150 farmers and nearby residents, including tea in the Hall.

1903: Harold Brown at the Whitehead school until 1930. January, a new scheme at Upper Houghton Regis to replace Station Chapel with a new Wesleyan Chapel. Letters written on costs of adding Upper Houghton Regis to Dunstable's drainage system. On the lack on proper drainage system at West Street, Upper Houghton Regis.

1905: Nancy Hawnt of Fulham, was killed on the Watling Street just north of Dunstable when she tried to overtake a heavy motor lorry and the wheel hubs touched. The occupants of the open topped car were thrown out and Mrs Hawnt, said the Gazette, "expired about 20 minutes after the accident".
Dumb wells  were prone to overflow at Upper Houghton (story-link). Petitioners to Luton Rural District Council called for Upper Houghton Regis to be connected to the Dunstable sewerage scheme (story-link). More discussion at LRDC.

1906: The Parish Council were not in a mood to tolerate Upper Houghton Regis being incorporated with Dunstable, and held a poll. See "The Boundary Extension Proposal" . Mr Brandreth, the largest landowner was opposed to incorporation, as was Mr A J Cook, chairman of Houghton Regis Parish Council.
June 1906: A page from the Parish Council minutes holds a copy of the notice declaring the result of the poll. "Are you in favour of Upper Houghton Regis being incorporated with Dunstable". To which 148 voted in favour, and 347 voted against. The poster makes it clear that the proposal was lost.
Source: Houghton Regis Town Council archives.
Two ratepayers in "Cumberland Road" (?Street?) were in court for not paying their rates because they were unsatisfied with the dreadful state of their road (story).
Messrs Waterlow & Sons, printers of Upper Houghton Regis, wrote to LRDC complaining about lack of drainage and having to use dumb wells (story). Boundary extension proposals hearing to add Upper Houghton to Dunstable, and the question of drainage (12/1906).
5 July 1906 Agreement of HCG Brandreth with Luton Rural District Council for sale of land at Parkside, Houghton Regis (source).
23 Nov 1906 Agreement of HCG Brandreth with Luton Rural District Council for sale of land at Bedford Road, Houghton Regis.(source)

1907: Vauxhall Ironworks - named after the home of the infamous Falkes de Breaute of the 13th century - move to Luton. Jun1907: Suggested agreement for Lower Houghton sewerage (21 June 1907,  Luton Times and Advertiser). Hearings in House of Commons select committee over the incorporation of Upper Houghton. Link.


Townsend farm (right).Top School in the background.


9th Nov 1907: - Land north of Union Street, Dunstable (known as Upper Houghton) is transferred to DUNSTABLE CP/AP. Houghton Regis population reduced to 1,369. The Dunstable (Extension) Order, 1907.

1908: Henry Chernocke Gibbs Brandreth dies. 19th Oct, Marquis of Northampton’s car ends up in a ditch at Chalk Cutting. Sewage scheme – Parliament – But was Houghton Regis Parish Council consulted?

1909: The late Mr Joseph Green of Bidwell is reported as being the largest breeder of ducks in the country (see Notes)

1910: Two ricks belonging to Mr E.G. Blow, and Mr J.  Innes were set alight at Skimpot Farm; Mr Horace Taylor, 52, a tramp, was charged with causing £180 of damage.

1911: Cecil Bisshopp Harmsworth (Liberal) elected MP for Luton constituency. Houghton Regis population 1,369. A boy who went onto become the American film star, Gary Cooper, was baptised at All Saints' parish church. He was known then as Frank James Cooper.
14 March, HRPC consents to the closure of the post office for a half day on Thursdays.
31 March, HRPC agrees to raise funds by voluntary subscription to celebrate the coronation of King George V.
18 Dec 1911 Agreement for sale of right of construction of sewers at Houghton Regis, Beds.
Between the Trustees of the late HCG Brandreth and Luton Rural District Council. [source]

1912: Towns End Farm sold to Blue Circle Cement. JD Forder sold lime works to Blue Circle Cement.
The 1664 charge of William Strange is being received in gifts of money varying from 2s. to 4s. 6d. to each recipient from the owner of Brewer's Hill Farm.
Rev. R. Raikes Davies is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church.

The Bricklayers Arms is closed. There are mentions of this venue  in newspaper archives between 1868 and 1913. There is a report in the Beds Advertiser & Luton Times of 7 February 1913 that states that in the previous year the "Bricklayer's Arms, Houghton Regis, was closed by an order made by the Compensation Authority of the County."[ref.] [Discussed]

1913: Houghton Hall sold by the Brandreth family to Colonel (later Sir) Dealtry Charles Part. In all, 2,500 acres owned by the Brandreth's are sold to dealer for speculative housing. The parish council is concerned over the implementation and cost of new sewers in the parish.

1914: First World War: The Dunstable Gazette of 16th September 1914 lists the names of 29 men from Houghton Regis who joined up. Most of them went into the 5th Bedfordshire Regiment and Bedfordshire Yeomanry.
A report to the HRPC in March is reproduced in the Parish Council minute book indicating annoyance with other authorities (Luton Rural District Council) for not supplying proper information about the cost and implementation of sewerage in the parish, whilst still expecting parishioners to pick up the whole of the costs.
In October the Luton News reported that a number of horses "belonging to B Squadron of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, stationed at Houghton Regis, stampeded from a field adjoining Poynter's Farm, and rushed madly through High Street. Most of them took the road leading to the Icknield Way, but a number galloped to Luton along Dunstable Road and through different streets of the town. Members of the Yeomanry on mounted police duty rounded up the frightened animals, but two horses were so injured that they had to be shot."


Troops parade through Houghton Regis in 1915


1915: 2nd Lieutenant Hugh Anthony Bertlin was seriously injured after the motorcycle he was riding was in collision with a car near the Chequers pub in Houghton Regis. He died at Wardown Park Hospital on the 12th July 1915, aged 24 (Inquest Into Motorcycle Death)

1916: In January the HRPC was concerned about the military taking over the village green, having "erected huts thereon and generally using it for maneuvers. Road making and general work is going on under the direction of the colonel in command. No approach has been made to the parish council for permission ...". They later received assurances that the village green would be "reinstated or compensation paid in lieu of reinstatement" in due course (source HRTC archives).
Rev. H.T. Timewell is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church.

1918: Rev. Robert Martin is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church. HRPC is asked to pay 10/6 subscription to Commons and Footpaths Preservation Society.

1919-20 Sketch Map


1920s: The corn mill that stood at the end of Mill Lane, overlooking what is today the Houghton Regis Quarry SSSI, is now derelict. Chalk Cutting is widened.

1921: Houghton Regis population 1,435.  There are 362 houses in the parish.(source)

1922: Sir John Prescott Hewett (Unionist) elected MP for Luton constituency.
Rev. E. Victor Whittle is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church.

1923: Geoffrey William Algernon Howard (Liberal) elected MP for Luton constituency.

1924: Terence James O'Connor (Unionist) elected MP for Luton constituency.
Rev. Chas E. Duffy is Pastor at Houghton Regis (Baptist) Church.

1925: August, cement works are built.

View from Houghton from Cement Works chimney

1926: Portland Cement Company began operation: it was acquired in 1932 by Blue Circle Industries. Dust from the works on the south side of Houghton Road coated trees and roofs.

Title The Associated Portland Cement Works, Houghton Regis, 1926
Image reference EPW014801 Date 24th March 1926  Picture for Website


1928: 01 Oct - Houghton Regis CP/AP was enlarged by the abolition of LEAGRAVE CP/Hmlt (Leagrave was a Hamlet until 1896 and Civil Parish after that until 1928)   Area: 143 acres.  (M. of H. Provisional Order Confirmation (Luton Extension) Act, 1928).

1929: Edward Leslie Burgin (Liberal) elected MP for Luton constituency.

Beginnings | 1200AD - 1800AD | 1930 - Present

Bibliography:

+ Book of Dunstable and Houghton Regis , 1985, Vivienne & Lewis Evans, ISBN 0 86023 223 9
+ Memories of Houghton Regis, Sue King, 2011, ISBN 978 1 906632 12 0
+ Old Houghton: Including Upper Houghton, Now Part of Dunstable, 1988, Pat Lovering ISBN 09509773 5 7
+ Royal Houghton: Story of Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, 1986, Pat Lovering ISBN 0 9509773 1 4
+ Some lines have been borrowed from http://www.dunstablehistory.co.uk/timeline.htm and
http://virtual-library.culturalservices.net/webingres/bedfordshire/vlib/0.digitised_resources/dunstable_timeline.htm
+ Met Office Dunstable, WW II : http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/54/a3793854.shtml
+ dunstablehistory.co.uk
+ Gary Cooper: mdb.com
+ Street Names in Houghton Regis, Houghton Regis Town Council
+ Thomas Whitehead School
+ Dealtry Charles Part, Wikipedia
+ visionofbritain.org.uk
+ Bedfordshire Library Resources
+ british-history.ac.uk (Publication: A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3; Author: William Page (editor); Year published:1912; Pages 389-394)
+ O'Dell, IJ 1981 Bedfordshire clergy and the Black Death. Bedfordshire Magazine 18/138, 54-58
+ #1 Walgrave, according to british-history.ac.uk
+ #3 railwaysarchive.co.uk
+ #4 There is a sketch map produced by the local historian,Worthington Smith, in 1904 which marks the “site of gibbet” and “gib arch” roughly midway between Puddle Hill and Thorn Turn on theWatling Street - just a short distance north of the chalk cutting. Puddle Hill has now virtually disappeared as a result of quarrying, and the large roundabout at the end of Leighton bypass has been built about 150 yards from Thorn Turn. If the Worthington Smith map is right, it means the gallows stood at the foot of the chalk hill rather than on its crest. John Buckledee
#5 History of Bedfordshire, Joyce Godber, 1969. p148
+ enotes.com/topic/Bedfordshire
+ enotes.com/topic/Reform_Act_1832
+ The compleat cook; or, The secrets of a seventeenth century housewife; Author: Rebecca Price; Madeleine Masson; Anthony Vaughan, ISBN 0710074441 9780710074447
+ Bedfordshire Community And Living Archives And Record Office
+ FWB = "Church of All Saints. Houghton Regis" Francis W. Buckingham, 1937. Book contains list of vicars of All Saints parish church from 1226-1928.
+ pdf Google document "Houghton Regis Baptist Church
+ Wikipedia: List of British Prison Hulks
Thorn Farm Burial Ground Historical Research





Recommended Reading

From Country Boy to Weatherman: A Houghton Regis and Dunstable Youth George Jackson tells the story of what it was like to live in Houghton Regis when he lived in an isolated house surrounded by fields that were to become the Parkside estate. Follow George's journey as he walks around the village and describes the things he remembers and the characters he used to meet.
Companion book to Old Houghton. A fascinating history of Houghton Regis


Old Houghton: Including Upper Houghton, Now Part of Dunstable Houghton Regis as you've never seen before. With a fascinating selection of old photographs of the village.


Memories of Houghton Regis The stories of people who spent their lives growing up in the Houghton Regis area, with memories of World War Two evacuees from London, the jobs they did, and the things they enjoyed doing.


Book of Dunstable and Houghton Regis A wealth of historical knowledge of Houghton Regis, the land allocation to create the market area of Dunstable, and the subsequent growth of the town and the village in this part of Bedfordshire.


Toddington and Houghton Regis (Chiltern Society Footpath Maps) Toddington and Houghton Regis maps.


Grave stones, Houghton Regis: Memorial Stone inscriptions of Houghton Regis Baptist Chapelyard

Vicars of All Saints' Church pdf file
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