122 Bromham Road


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Flats 1 to 6, 122 Bromham Road, Bedford, MK40 2QN


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Statutory Address:
Flats 1 to 6, 122 Bromham Road, Bedford, MK40 2QN

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Bedford (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Cottage orné built in 1852 and extended between 1852 and 1884.

Reasons for Designation

122 Bromham Road, a cottage orné built in 1852 and extended between 1852 and 1884, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it is a striking example of a cottage orné, incorporating many vernacular motifs which are skilfully managed by an assured hand, resulting in a well-proportioned and delightfully detailed building;

* its aesthetic quality is enhanced by the textural richness created by the combination of the polygonal stonework and fishscale-tiled roofs;

* whilst the disproportionate scale of the extensions and the alterations to these have had a detrimental effect, it is not sufficient to negate the intrinsically high architectural quality of the original cottage orné.

Historic interest:

* its picturesque composition and ornate detailing render it a notable instance of this building type, illustrating a very particular architectural fashion.

Group value:

* it forms a coherent ensemble of picturesque cottages with the Grade II listed 126 & 128 Bromham Road which together have strong group value.


122 Bromham Road, formerly known as The Den, was built in 1852 by Charles Trapp, a Moravian minister and businessman. The Moravian community in Bedford had been established in the mid-C18 and a strong Moravian presence had taken root in the town by the mid-C19. 122 Bromham Road was part of a group of three cottages ornés, including nos 126 & 128, a semi-detached pair formerly known as Ivy Cottage and Maple or Mabel Cottage, which were listed at Grade II in 1971. At some point between 1852 and 1884 (the date of the first edition Ordnance Survey map), the cottage was extended in red brick on the east side and then later to the rear, considerably enlarging its size. On the 1884 map 122 Bromham Road is situated in a garden containing broad-leaf trees and conifers. It has a conservatory on the east and south sides of the rear wing, and outbuildings in the south-east corner of the plot. By the third edition OS map of 1926, the conservatory on the south side had been removed. The outbuildings have in recent years been demolished. The three cottages were built on a single plot of land and were occupied by one household: the main family lived in The Den whilst the housemaids, cooks and gardeners occupied the pair of cottages for most of the C19 and up to the Second World War. It is thought that the cottages were named after the maids and housekeepers who lived in them; hence the names Ivy Cottage for no 128 and Mabel (sometimes listed as Maple) Cottage for no 126. To the rear of the cottages, 124 Bromham Road was also part of Charles Trapp’s development although it did not share the same architectural features as the other cottages. This house was demolished in 1913 following a fire.

During the interwar period, the cottages were still occupied by businessmen and their families, including several generations of the Whyley family, who were Justices of the Peace, coroners and lawyers, together with their household servants and gardeners. An article by Gregory Whyley in the Bedfordshire Times and Independent (Friday 9th August 1929) explains that when the chancel of the disused Church of St James in Clophill was demolished, the original carved oak balusters of the altar rails came into the possession of Whyley’s father and formed the balusters of the entrance porch and one of the staircases. He also mentions that the carved oak balusters of ‘the ancient alter rails’ of St Paul’s Church in Bedford have for over fifty years adorned the main staircase.

From 1946 to 1960 the properties were owned by the Head Master at Bedford Modern School. 122 Bromham Rd was used as a school boarding house with an oak panelled school hall and refectory on the ground floor, whilst the pair of cottages was used as staff accommodation. After the school vacated around 1960 the post office wanted to demolish no 122 and build a sorting office in its place but Mr Bennett (who lived next door at no 120, Bennett House) stepped in and outbid the post office at auction in 1965. Almost immediately after the purchase he donated 122 Bromham Road to the Salvation Army for use as a retirement home for elderly and retired officers which involved the house being divided into flats. The OS map evidence shows that between 1926 and 1966 the conservatory on the east side of the rear north wing was removed and the wing was extended to the south. Around 1980 the properties were bought and renovated, and were then sold separately in 1995 and 1999.


Cottage orné built in 1852 and extended between 1852 and 1884.

MATERIALS: the front range is constructed of stone laid in polygonal bond with raised pointing and ashlar stone dressings and a roof covering of red clay fishscale tiles. The rear is of red brick laid in Flemish bond with stone dressings and a roof covering of red clay tiles.

PLAN: the cottage has a roughly L-shaped plan consisting of the original 1852 north front range, an extension on the east side and a later rear wing, both added between 1852 and 1884. The rear wing has a further extension on the south end added between 1926 and 1966.

EXTERIOR: 122 Bromham Road is in a neo-Tudor picturesque style characterised by stone mullion windows, a clock tower, and a profusion of gables with a variety of bargeboard designs. The original stone range at the front is of one and a half storeys under a steeply pitched roof which sweeps down to ground-floor level at the east end and has a cross gable at the west end. The gable ends are decorated with scalloped bargeboards and drop finials. A gabled porch with ornate bargeboards and a drop finial projects from the cross gabled bay. It is supported by the original carved oak balusters of the altar rails from the disused Church of St James in Clophill, and has a red and black quarry-tiled floor. The front door is not original. To the left is a buttress with stone offsets and above is a single-light mullion window set in a stone surround with a Tudor hoodmould and casement with iron honeycomb glazing. To the left is a single-storey projecting gabled bay with wavy bargeboards and a three-light mullion window with the same hoodmould and glazing already described. Above is a small stone shield plaque. The left return has C20 double-leaf glazed door within a red brick surround, clearly a later insertion. Above, the attic storey is lit by a two-light mullion window.

On the right return is a projecting gabled bay, just below the roof line, with quatrefoil bargeboards. It is lit by a three-light mullion and transom window with honeycomb glazing but without a hoodmould. Above, a small window has been blocked up and a horizontal window in a stone surround inserted in the C20. To the right rises a square clock tower with stone quoins and a pyramidal roof which is punctuated by small gables with trefoil bargeboards and surmounted by a louvre. The north and west faces both have a round clock, and just below this on the west face is a three-sided corbelled oriel window with stone mullions and honeycomb glazing. On the north wall of the tower a doorway with a red brick surround and C20 door has been inserted.

The red brick extension on the east side has two storeys under a pitched roof with kneelered stone parapets at the gable end and a sawtooth cornice. The two tall chimney pots rising from the east gable have octagonal moulded bases and caps with decorative circular shafts. The two-bay south elevation has a pair of double-leaf doors with stone lintels and cornices supported by shaped brackets. The first floor is dominated by two large gabled windows positioned across the eaves. They have stone coping and kneelers and the two-light casement windows under wide stone lintels. The fenestration is in the same honeycomb style but the glazing bars appear to be of wood.

The rear (north) wing, added later in the C19 and then extended in the C20, has two storeys and a half-hipped mansard roof. It does not share the architectural detailing of the rest of the cottage and has been subject to numerous alterations.

INTERIOR: this is divided into six flats. It has not been inspected but it is thought that the original square panelling survives in at least one of the reception rooms. According to the article in the Bedfordshire Times and Independent (Friday 9th August 1929), the main staircase includes carved oak balusters from the Church of St Paul in Bedford, and another staircase includes carved oak balusters from the altar rails in the disused Church of St James in Clophill.




This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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