Times gone by

THE motley collection of shops and businesses known as Middle Row has changed and grown in higgledy-piggledy fashion over the centuries and now has a particular charm, albeit in need of a great deal of tender loving care.

This famous photo was taken in around 1890, looking down High Street South from the crossroads.

The buildings in the foreground were demolished in February 1911 to allow West Street to be widened. This meant that the old Rose and Crown pub, whose sign can be seen in the photo, became the corner building on West Street.

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Later it housed a newsagent’s shop run by Mr Keep (hence the name Keep’s Corner) and the premises are now the base for Taylor’s, the estate agent.

Next door is the distinctive building with the pointed roof which for many years was a butcher’s shop run by Vic Tilley and then his son, Mick. It stands empty today.

There are other pub signs visible further down the road.

At one time Middle Row contained at least five pubs including the Rose and Crown, the Shoulder of Mutton and the Britannia, which stood alongside the tunnelled alleyway and which burned down a few years after this photo was taken.

> Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society

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