Signs of the times

THE two pub signs in this old painting give its precise location, but the scene today is considerably different.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 21st January 2012, 11:03 am

This is Market Square at Eaton Bray, but the layout of the roads has changed and the pond has disappeared. So, too, have the village stocks!

The familiar tower of Eaton Bray church can be seen in the background, although trees now slightly obscure the view from what would have been the artist’s vantage point.

Our small colour photo was taken a few days ago from a similar position.

The 300-year-old White Horse pub, whose sign can be seen in the distance, is still going strong, situated somewhere to the right of the picture.

The Five Bells pub, whose sign is in the foreground, closed recently.

Work on converting it into a dwelling, preserving its massive fireplace, has just been completed and the building is now up for sale.

The porch of the old pub can just be seen on the right of our modern photo.

The watercolour is by Thomas Fisher, who paid many visits to this area between 1812 and 1822.

He was commissioned to paint views of numerous local scenes by Sir Gregory Page-Turner, of Battlesden House.

A folio of Fisher’s Bedfordshire watercolours was sold at auction in 1980 including a view (featured at the time in Yesteryear) of what was then the new road through the chalk hill at Dunstable.

The painting of Eaton Bray belongs to Richard and Anne Grant, of Edlesborough Mill.

They used to live in the blacksmith’s cottage which stands to the left of what was the pond.

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