St Albans' Own East End

information needed

Info needed
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Ever on the search for further information, we would like to find out more about ...

From Handalone Laundry to Ashley Road Church

Can anyone offer any information or account of the Ashley Church, on the corner of Hatfield Road and Ashley Road?  Formed in 1939, a permnanent building opened in 1954. Between times the group met in a former laundry outhouse at the end of the garden of 312 Hatfield Road.  The new church was constructed on part of a triangle of land at the road junction.  Missionary Gladys Aylward is reputed to have made a visit at some time in the 1950s.  Does anyone know if this is so, or have any details about this event or about the church between 1939 and the present?

Smallford plant nurseries

We are looking for photographs of Smallford, especially the market-gardening industry.  Two places are of special interest: Nottcutts when it was the premises of Sear & Carter, and Wellfield Nurseries.  If you have recollections of working at either of these places (or indeed Chester or Nielsen), we would be delighted to hear from you.

Ballito takeover by Courtaulds

Were you employed by Ballito Hosiery Mills, Fleetville, when in 1966, the textile giant, Courtaulds, made a take-over bid for Ballito.  We would like to hear from you and what happened to your employment at the time.

The homesteads of the farms

Did anyone take a photograph of the homesteads of Marshalswick Farm, Jersey Farm, Newgates Farm, Butterwick Farm or Beaumonts Farm?  If so it would be great to enable everyone to share what these buildings once looked like.  A shoebox or album somewhere is probably hiding some of these gems.

Garage door and immersion heater manufacturers

A visitor to this website is searching for two St Albans' businesses which were open in the 1960s.  One made garage doors; the other manufactured immersion heaters for copper cylinders.  Do you know of any firms which undertook these kinds of work?  Garage doors made at Sphere Works; now confirmed.

Carlton Football Club

This amateur club took its members from around Burnham Road.  Can anyone tell us why the name Carlton was used ?  The team was based at Bishop's Store, 113 Hatfield Road.  The owner, 'Bish', ran a club for young people, called the Carlton Club, although we still don't know where the name Carlton came from.

Gainsborough Avenue

This road remained undeveloped for a quarter of a century as Wormleighton Road.  As soon as houses began to appear the name changed to Gainsborough Avenue.  What or who was being commemorated here?  Wormleighton is one of several alternative titles for the Duke of Marlborough.

Guildford Road factories

Today there is little evidence of the former factories of the Ribbon Company and Janes & Green portable buildings works in Guldford Road.  Do any photographs exist of these two factories?  Or advertising material?

Any old nursery catalogues

This is a tall order, but there may be, in someone's loft or archive, catalogues from local nurseries that no longer exist.  There is even a slight chance of there being a colour catalogue, printed before 1916, by Smith's Printing Agency, St Albans.  This is the building which later became Ballito.

Kiosk in the park

There used to be a tea kiosk, a small brick building with varandah, at Clarence Park, close to the cricket pavilion.  It has long since been demolished.  Many residents will recall buying drinks and ice creams there.  Does anyone have a photograph which includes the kiosk?

Peake plaque

The W O Peake building in Hatfield Road was adorned with a plaque in 1958.  "The Memory of William Oliver Peake 1879 - 1957 who was responsible for the design and erection of this building."  At the point when the building was later demolished, what happened to the plaque?

St John's Preparatory School

A resident who grew up in Fleetville recalls attending St John's Preparatory School in Beaumont Avenue. St John's Lodge, formerly Avenue House, has now been replaced by the houses of St John's Court.  The directories make no reference to this school. either here or where it later moved to Jennings Road.  Does anyone else have a recollection of the school, knowledge of a uniform or any documents, such as reports, letters or photographs?

Photo ID parade in Hatfield Road!

The photo shown here was taken in connection with a sponsored Christmas event in 1955.  The location was outside 167 Hatfield Road.  Does anyone recognise themselves or could tell us more about the event or the sponsoring company.


This road is off Colney Heath Lane.    Was Merryfield a person's name or a place to be happy?  Does anyone know?

The Crown DL4 Home Guard position

The Hertfordshire Archives record a WW2 position at the Crown, with the hotel as HQ and fixed road blocks 100 yd into Stanhope Road, 80 yd east into Hatfield Road and an unspecified distance into Clarence Road; but nothing in Camp Road.  Were you are child, teenager or young adult at this time and recall this?  Please get in touch.  The road blocks were probably removed before the end of 1944.

Fleetville turnpike mile marker

The mile marker was removed from its original location near Woodstock Road, and apparently placed in storage.  Where was it stored and for how long?  When was the decision made to place it in its present location?

Hatfield Road houses opposite Clarence Park

These were built after the opening of the park in 1894, but those between Granville Road and The Crown were later demolished for the neo-georgian W O Peake factory (now also demolished).  Are there any photos of those early villas - presumably similar to those between Granville Road and the railway?  Or a photo of the formative Peake factory before transformation into its 1930s building?

Small works

Were you, or another member of your family, employed in - or did you set up - one of the many small factories and workshops in the Fleetville and Camp areas?

Charles Hart's children's amusements

Everyone knew the multi-coloured picket fence, where the organ museum is now, next to Camp School.  We are  searching for good photographs of Charles Hart's roundabouts and other rides, preferably in use.  It is entirely appropriate that a roundabout should appear in the One Hundred Objects which help to tell the district's story.

Songs written by Peter Jenkyns

A former head teacher of Fleetville and Oakwood schools, Peter wrote a number of songs, subsequently published.  Are there any early versions - or even recordings - still around; or recollections of learning and performing them?

School journey to the Gower Peninsula

Mr Belcher took children from Fleetville School to Port Eynon, on the Gower, in June 1955.  If you were in that group (where their return was affected by a rail strike) please contact the author.

River cruise

In 1954 500 children from Camp, Fleetville and 3 other schools enjoyed a visit, using several buses, to Windsor for a cruise on three launches along part of the Thames.  Does anyone recall this trip, know who organised it or who paid the costs - or were the costs paid by the parents of the children who went on the trip?

J W Vernon, Printers

Searching for information on the early days of this firm from c1922.  Are there any decendant members of the Vernon family still living locally?  Vernons appeared to play a crucial role in picking up the baton, so to speak, when Smith's Printing Agency closed.

New Zealand connection?

The Horseshoes nurseries were once called the New Zealand Nurseries.  There was also a group of homes in Hatfield Road with names Wairao, Auckland, Rimutaka and Waipira (all North Island references). On the site of the former branch library was a house (empty since c1936) called Waratah (apparently Australian in origin).  Is there a common connection here, for example, one person who owned all of these properties?

Fleetville Cafe

Now Fleetville Fish Bar, the cafe has been dispensing refreshment from the time the parade was built.  A large rectangular public clock used to announce the name of the premises and give the time (erratically) to passers by.  Does anyone know when the clock was first installed and when it was removed?

Pig bins

In the early post-war years the council had an arrangement with a bacon company elsewhere in the county and 35 large pig food bins were left around for people to put their food waste in.  The council collected several tons each month.  Does anyone recall where any bins in the Fleetville/Camp/Beaumonts/Marshalswick area were located?  In 1953 the design of these was changed to become conical to make emptying easier!

The ballito typeface

The Ballito Hosiery Mills factory was proud of its advertising and presence in the commercial market place.  Pre-war material was often in an art deco style.  Especially its name (it was in blue neon on the factory wall).  This is a rather technical question, but does anyone know the name of the typeface the company used for its name?  That is, unless the name was especially designed for them.

Sandfield School playing field

Does any former pupil of Sandfield School recall making use of a playing field at the old Wellfield Nurseries at Smallford?  Today, the land is still used for sports training, including St Albans Rugby Club.  What travel arrangements were made for travelling between the school and the field?

2nd, 9th, 5th/13th,16th or 18th scout/guide groups

If you were in any of these groups, and especially if you can recall camping, social, entertainment or official events from your involvement, or have photos of these events, please get in touch.  The guides will have had dfferent designations.

Cycling clubs

Cycling clubs were very popular in the 1920s and 1930s.  Did such a club base itself in Fleetville?  A cafe called the Rendevous Cafe (later Jack's Cafe) opened in the 1930s near where CAMRA is now, in front of Fleetville Junior School.  Its name suggests a meeting point of some kind.

St Albans-Duisburg link

The St Albans-Duisburg Committee was formed in 1948 to provide much needed relief, reconciliation and understanding between the young people of the two cities.  The first children from Duisburg arrived here for short stays in 1949.  Did your family welcome a young person from Duisburg into your home?  Did you visit Duisburg and stay with a family?  Have you recollections of these visits?  Are you still in touch with their families?

Maypole dancing

The author has a photograph of maypole dancing at an elementary school in Watford.  Do you have a similar picture taken at Fleetville, Camp, Colney Heath or another local school?

War Service and National Service

We would like to hear from anyone, then living in the district, who was, or whose father was, called up for War Service training in the first group, April 1939; or in the first tranche of National Service training in 1949.

Cell Barnes Lane caravan site

A site in Cell Barnes Lane, previously thought to have been an allotment ground, was adapted as a caravan site c1960, with the intention of returning it to allotments eventually.  Do you know how long the caravans remained there, and whether the ground WAS returned to use as an allotment ground?  Or was the location mis-named and that it is the Drakes Drive Mobile Home site?

Moved from London?

Did your family move from Hornsey, Finchley, Hendon, Edmonton, Tottenham or Southgate in the 1950s to come and live in one of the new houses then being built on the London Road (Mile House) estate? 

Festival of Britain flowering almond trees

The residents' association for the formative Marshalswick estate around Ridgeway west purchased a number of flowering almond trees for planting in the road verges during Festival of Britain year, 1951.  Apparently 112 were purchased.  What was the significance of this number?

Marshalswick Boys' Club

This was formed and led by Geoff Dickens from 1957 "to give the youth of the new estate somewhere to go."  If you were an early member of MBC do please get in touch.

Smallford speedway (related inquiry)

It appears that the Speedway  track (between the garden centre and Popefield Farm, Hatfield Road) was also used as a greyhound track in the 1930s.  Could this have been before conversion to speedway, or were the two acitivities operated concurrently?

Home guard

Were you or your father, grandfather or uncle in the Home Guard during WW2, or your family have information on the location of road blocks which were set up by the Home Guard in the district?  If you know where various companies of the 15th Battalion met for practice and training, we  would very much like to know.  This is a photograph of a home guard company near Central Drive/Hazelwood Drive north.  Do you know the names of anyone pictured?

School uniforms

On the Photo Library page are photos of two children, each wearing a different school uniform.  Probably taken in the 1930s they were part of a party visiting Ilfracombe, but it appears everyone came from St Albans, and many would probably have come from the Fleetville and Camp area.  If you are able to identify either of the uniforms from the badges, please get in touch.

Clarence Park events

Football and cricket matches, informal family activities, sports days, Co-operators' Days and Scout Tattoos.  Billy Graham Rallies.  Even military training.  They have all taken place here.  If you have any pictures, event programmes, memories or other information about them, please contact us.

Shop near Camp Road/Camp View Road junction

Now number 155 this was a general store cum post office, first opened by Mr T Gear and then Mr G Trottman.  Are there any early pictures of it?

Street parties

Many streets held parties to celebrate major events.  If you were present at one or helped to organise one, or have a photograph taken at the event, the author would very much like to know.

Brick-built street shelters

The earlier street shelters were replaced in 1942/3 due faulty design and construction.  Do you know where street shelters were sited.  Did you photograph one?

Sander's Pleasure Garden

On the plot where SS Alban and Stephen School (original building) is now, was a pleasure garden belonging to Messrs Sander's Nurseries.  The garden was sold by Sander's in 1932.  Information about its use as a garden, and any photographs, would be welcome.

The circus and Cell Barnes Lane

Before the building of the London Road estate, Cell Barnes Lane was a country lane from the end of the Springfield estate to Hill End Lane.  There was a tennis court on one side and the circus field on the other.  Has anyone a photograph of this lane or any circus visits?

Merrilands School, Elm Drive

A private school of that name was in Elm Drive from c1933 but had closed by 1960.  Details of its closing date would be useful.  Former nearby residents, former pupils or maybe  part-time teachers other than the principal, Miss Kell, will have recollections we would like to hear about.  Partly answered - see Answered questions.

Brick-built police boxes

The city police replaced a number of wooden police boxes with brick-built ones in 1942.  They incorporated a public telephone door.  Does anyone know where they were located, or have a photograph which includes an example of one?  One we know of was at the junction of Beechwood Avenue and Hatfield Road (where the council flower bed is now).

Beaumonts farm house and the iron cottage

This temporary domestic cottage was close to the old Beaumonts farmhouse until both were demolished in 1938.  Do you have a photograph of either building?

Street parties

Many streets held parties to celebrate major events.  You may have been present at one or helped to organise one, even modern parties. Photos?  Recollections?

Sutton Road caravan site

Woodvale Park, on the south side of Alban Way, Sutton Road, used to be a site for static caravans.  It was taken over from its previous owner by the District Council in 1977.  But who was its private owner, who had left it without many basic facilities?

Were you associated with the 12th St Albans Scouts?

A scout group which is no longer extant was the 12th St Albans (Cell Barnes) Group.  In 1950 a total of 51 cubs, scouts and rovers camped in a field along Watford Bypass.  We would like to know more about this group attached to Cell Barnes Hospital.  There was also the 15th Guide Group.  If you were associated in any way with either of these groups, please get in touch.


St Albans' Own East End