Yesteryear: George Street, Luton, hotel with a ring about it

Bell Commercial Hotel, George Street, Luton.

Bell Commercial Hotel, George Street, Luton.

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Luton town centre had two establishments named The Bell, both in George Street.

One, later called The Old Bell, lay on the west side of the road at the junction with Chapel Street. The other, The Bell Commercial Hotel, was on the east side of George Street.

Deeds for this site, held as part of the Whitbread Archive, date back as far as 1641.

Built on the site of the former Bell Inn, the Bell Hotel is likely to have been rebuilt when it was bought by Luton brewery owner John William Green in 1897.

At the time of the sale, it was described as ‘the fully licensed premises known as The Bell Commercial Hotel, 36 George Street, Luton’.

There were six bedrooms on the second floor and five on the first floor, plus a coffee room,bathroom, three WCs and a billiard room.

The ground floor had a bar, commercial room, smoking room, sitting room, kitchen and larder, while the basement had beer and wine cellars, another larder and a china pantry. The yard contained stables, a harness room, luggage room and coal house.

The name The Bell on a stone pediment on the front of the building, pictured above, denotes its original use as a hotel. It is believed the building stopped functioning as such some time between 1928 and 1931.

Since then the premises have mostly been in retail use.

Shops that have occupied the site have included G. & A. Pryce costumiers, Meakers outfitters, Paige gowns, Willerby Tailoring and Waterstones bookshop.