Situated on the north side of Carlton Place, Bedford Mews first appears in the local press in an advertisement of September 1832. They had been built shortly before by John Shelley, described as a brickmaker. The property was bought, at a date between 1839 and 1843, by William Richardson, corn and coal merchant of Baltic Wharf. In the mid 1840s (probably by 1847), the mews had been bought by Thomas Pratt, who had acted as ostler at the mews under the previous ownership. He continued as proprietor until his death in July 1864, running the business in co-operation with his youngest son William. The business then passed to William and his elder brother George - trading as Pratt Brothers - until, amid family rivalry, the partnership was dissolved in July 1865. William had the sole running of the business until, following bankruptcy, he relinquished control in March 1867. The mews were purchased (and re-opened in April 1867) by John Parr, late of Anglesea Mews, who ran the business until he sold out to William Thomas Wallace, formerly of the Red Lion Hotel, Dorking, in October 1867. For a few months between August 1874 and May 1875, Wallace was in partnership with his brother-in-law Frederick Charles Michels, a confectioner of Teddington in Middlesex. The partnership was dissolved on Michels' bankruptcy, caused by unwise investments in railway stocks and shares. Wallace continued to run the business until selling it shortly before his death in 1895 to Alfred Edmund Hillary. Bedford Mews seem to have been abandoned as a commercial stables in 1908 or 1909 when Hillary took over the Shirley Mews at 14 Park Street. Within a few years, Bedford Mews was occupied by the county's Territorial Army forces.

Bedford Mews were advertised in 1832 as “superior to any in the town, being more lofty and the stalls larger, with roomy boxes for tired horses, so essential after a hard day's hunt.” They comprised (April 1835) 20 stalls, 5 loose boxes, with lofts over capable of containing 20 loads of hay, men's room, large harness room, a range of capital lock-up coach-houses with large corn store, capable of holding 300 quarters of corn, and a spacious enclosed carriage yard, well supplied with water.

Bedford Mews, Carlton Place

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Advertisement from the Post Office Directory of Southampton, 1853

see also

Further reading:

Bedford Mews and Southampton Riding School, by Richard Preston (Southampton Occasional Papers no. 2)


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