The mysterious circular construction
The mysterious circular construction

When the large garden behind the 18th century Kingsbury House in Church Street became the site of a new housing development (Kingsbury Court) in the 1980s, one quaint building there was retained.

It’s a small circular construction, made almost entirely of flint, with a thatched roof.

About 60 years have passed since the thatch was replaced and it is now thickly covered with moss.

Work will start in the next few days to provide a new roof, with the work being carried by master thatcher David Underwood, of Totternhoe.

The building, about nine feet in diameter and nine feet six inches in height to the eaves, stands at what was once the end of the Kingsbury garden alongside a sycamore tree, a wych elm, a chestnut tree and a beech.

Jessie Roberts, the daughter of Frederick Freeman who lived at the house between 1901 and 1906, wrote lovingly about her childhood there in an article published by the Bedfordshire Magazine in 1968.

She described the little building in the garden as resembling a summer house, but it had no window (then) and the door faced east, so its purpose was a mystery to her.

Could it have been a game larder, she asked, or even an outside toilet?

It is too small for a dovehouse. It has been called an ice house, but there is no cellar underneath, and some records describe it as a bath house.

Kingsbury, in more recent times, was the home of Dr Gerald Ashton and his wife Mary, who on their death expressed a wish that the land be developed for homes for older people.

The larger picture was taken in 1989 when the garden became a building site. The smaller photo was taken in 2011.

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