St Albans' Own East End

Fleetville shops


The 'Mile of Shops' which is Hatfield Road is now over a century old.  Although the traders have moved many times, and the mix has gradually evolved, the streetscape has remained remarkably as it was in the early days.  Shop blinds are out and shop fronts are flat panels of plate glass, but there are still as many shops.

This selection of photographs from different periods illustrates earlier versions of Hatfield Road from the Crown to Bycullah Terrace.

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Alexandra House, which is 2 Clarence Road and 39 Hatfield Road, is part house, part shop and part bank.  Completed c1912 the shop opened as F W Fox, chemist, before being taken over by Shields & Warren, another chemist.

The bank was opened as Barclay's, Fleetville's first and used by many of the traders along Hatfield Road.  It closed by the later 1960s.  Both shop and bank have had a number of tenants since.

Aberdeen House, on the corner of Albion and Hatfield roads, opened c1899 as a butchery owned by Steabben & Son.  The firm had a slughterhouse at the lower end of Cavendish Road.

After the First World War the premises were taken over by Harry Patience, whose family were tenants of Popefield Farm.

Left: On the site of a former harness maker's workshop, Robb Butler opened a car repair workshop; petrol was also dispensed on the frontage.  Swan Car Hire was also based here, on the corner of Cavendish and Hatfield roads.  The building has now been replaced by a small group of town homes.

Right: on the corner of Arthur and Hatfield roads was a greengrocer until Harry Woolford's bootmaker's business opened in 1922.  Mr H Bowman took over c1956 running the shop as a chemist before moving to a shop in Sutton Road.  It is now Verulam Angling.

The parade known as Bycullah Terrace is opposite Morrison's supermarket.  Originally three shops at each end with three manager's houses for the printing works which was on the Morrison site until 1916.  The last of the houses to be converted to shop use was not until the 1950s.

The shop on the left was a grocery run by Frank Lovegrove, then Leslie Bennington, and then Mr Dixon.  It is now a take-away.  The second shop was P H Stone before he moved further along the road. Mrs Blakeley and then William Grace moved in; a shop known to generations of children attending Fleetville School, because it was a sweet shop.  It is now Alban Locksmiths.

Left: the original building of St Albans Rural Conservative Club (1912) before conversion to a military hat manufactory from Lambeth after WW2.

Right: Began as a hairdresser before becomeing a confectioner, first O'Dietschi and then W S Fowler.  It is now an art gallery.

This block of four shops was added to the scene c1912 and two of them quickly became shops for the St Albans Co-operative Society: grocery and butchery.  The third was known by many young people as Bishop's Stores before being taken over by the Co-operative Society as a greengrocery and then dry cleaners.

The fourth shop was a pawnbroker run by Mr Asker,

This 1970s photo of Coral Press is the former premises of Ben Pelly, china, glassware and hardware.  Ben Pelly also had the premises to the left which became Securicor Ltd.  To the right was one of Percy Hall's Fleetville Saloons before being acquired by Mr Haines, gents outfitter.  In the photo it is The Pet Shop.

The Pet Shop is now Kashmir Deaf Children's Trust Charity Shop, while the other two units are part of Tesco Express.

The Handy Stores was a well-known ironmongery and general "useful" shop.  To its left was, and still is, G D Golding, outfitter, and the shop advertising Luncheons and teas, began life in the 1920s as the Rendevous Restaurant, the Jack's Cafe, Pat's Cafe and Albany Aquatics.  Today, from L to R: Claims Solutions, G D Golding and Prestige Performance Rover Servicing.

Left: view towards the Crown. Sear & Carter, nurserymen.  Now St Paul's Place.

Right: Henry Sear had a dairy shop, the P H Stone had one of two shops here.  It then became a laundrette, Noos & Soos abd is now Thai Takeaway.

Left: Mr A R Smith began trading his post office and stationery shop in Bycullah Terrace (now Simmons, bakers) befoe moving to this corner in 1930.

Right: Crown Hotel, little altered except for the former coachman's accommodation far left.

The corner shop began as S J Gibbs, furnishers.  The Grimaldi family, which had a filling station and car franchise opposite, also used the shop as a small showroom.  In this 1960s photo St Albans Refrigeration has just moved out.  The shop to its right was, for many years, a cycle shop run by F W Hickie.  Just beyond the archway was P H Stone's other shop, a newsagent.

Today the shops are The Oasis restaurant, Al Barka Mini Market, the Rennie Grove shop and two units for S K Carpets.

Left: Formerly P H Stone, newsagent and W & D North, greengrocer & fishmonger. Now occupied by S & K Carpets and a tattoo studio.

Right: Leslie Driscoll dispensed varnishes, paints and timber from this shop at 81 Hatfield Road.  Today it is the Asian Food Store.

This Bycullah Terrace sweet shop beloved of generations of children is run in this photo by Mrs A Blakeley, was taken over by William Grace at the end of WW2, before changing its business to become Sketchley Cleaners in the 1960s, then a radio & television shop.  Today it is Alban Locksmiths.

The shop on the right is on the corner of Harlesden Road and Hatfield Road.  Here it is a bootmaker's, and continued to be so until the 1960s when it was T A Horn, heating engineer.  Today it is a hair salon.

The shop with the two ladies standing outside was a cafe (dining rooms) but from c1920 it was Mr Townsend's cycle and radio shop.  Today it is Kadect Charity Shop.

This parade next to the recreation ground was built c1930.  The five shops in 1964, when this photo was taken, was Mrs D Miles, confectioner, Mrs L Wright, ladies' hairdresser, St Albans Motor Accessories, J B Johnson, butcher, and Andrews, fruiterer.

Today, the same shops are: D Miles, sharpening [until 2015, recently closed], Barber Inc, hair styling, Triple M Salon, [shop closed], Andrews, fruiterer.

"The mile of shops"

Above: the nearest shop had always been a bakery – J F Cornwell, W Nott, Frank Maison, R Schnabel, E Sillitoe and Premier Bakers.  Today it is a pizza shop.

Right: E Hanley had occupied this premises on the south side near Albion Road since the 1890s.  In the 1960s it became Carla ladies' hairdresser.  Today it is a pet grooming studio.


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St Albans' Own East End