Updated: 2 December 2023
The "East End" reference harks back to 1912 when a prominent councillor, during a debate on the subject of enlarging the city's boundaries to take in Camp and Fleetville, likened the unfinished streets and general untidiness as similar to London's East End.
It is a cul-de-sac busy with traffic, mostly parked, and busy with children, this is one of the three original roads of the 1900 addition to the map and named Fleet Ville – but not originally Fleetville!
The story of the former de Havilland Aircraft Company is now a topic. It was one of two major aircraft manufacturers in the district, becoming part of Hawker Siddeley and then a contributor to British Aerospace.
Turn away from the flats at Dexter Close and this is the view from Park View Close to Cunningham Hill Fields.
Trees are an engaging living resource. Some specimens need replacing; the majority don't; and thousands more are being added to the landscape. We also hope the water and drainage company is looking after the quality of our rivers and streams. Discover its viewpoint here.
The small brickworks between Hatfield Road and Hill End Lane was engulfed in flames In 1928. This was the result. Marconi Instruments developed their factory here – the south end of Longaces. Now it is the Marconi estate.
Photos and histories about our East End schools, and plenty of former pupils – and their teachers – identified. You may be among them; you could identify yourself, a friend or a relative.
This bloom is most at home in Pinewood Close where, before the houses went up, Ernie Cooper raised and bred a wide range of dahlias. This is Jescot Lingold, one of a family of Jescot varieties.
Many books have been written about St Albans. Not all are currently in print, however, but may be available from your local library. Each new book published is bound to be located on this page.
How old is a road? Was it a track? Has its name changed over time? When was it first laid out? This is a quick reference guide to the growth of of where we all live.
There are 25 pages of topics about the East End for you to discover, from districts to shopping streets, a turnpike and former hospitals, and a number of former factories of national renown.
Please help us to identify, fill in information or add images. Here, for example, we have a coach in tourist retirement, converted into a mobile shop by Mr Tolman, somewhere in Camp. But who was Mr Tolman?
A walking and cycling route encircling the city, with many sections off-road. Here is the section each of the Midland Railway, but there are over 6.5 km of route in total.
At the light controlled crossing join the cycle path on the south side of Sandpit Lane parallel with the road.
At the lower end of St Saviour's View join Lemsford Road until the public path on the left after Eastbury Court.
Use the public path to cross the railway bridge to reach Jennings Road.
At the bottom of the first section of Jennings Road cross over Clarence Road to the longer section, passing Verulam School on the right.
At the junction with Woodstock Road North turn right over the brick table, travelling south.
Keep Brampton Road on your right and follow Woodstock Road South. Until reaching Hatfield Road the road width is narrow and parking is an issue.
At Hatfield Road use the light-controlled crossing to the Morrison's side. Cycle on the mixed use path in front of the store towards Sutton Road.
At the junction with Sutton Road use the road, passing Castle Road on your left.
Turn right off the road at the junction with Alban Way. Alban Way is a continuous cycle path as far as Griffiths Way, with a connection to the City Railway Station.
Fleetville Community Centre, Highfield Park Trust and Trestle Theatre are among groups who now have a fundraising local lottery page. We all have an opportunity to donate and hopefully win prizes.
New this Spring St Albans District Council has launched the St Albans District Community Lottery.
Already about twenty-five community groups are participating with their own page on
We choose our good cause.
Fleetville Community Centre
Highfield Park Trust
Trestle Theatre Company
among more than twenty others
Sign up and decide how many £1 tickets you wish to play each week. Click Play to discover all live causes. The full details are are provided on the website.
You decide how much you would like to help raise towards the community group's target. And there is always the possibility of winning a prize.
Time has marched on since this Google Earth photograph. Forward of Sandpit Lane are now seven named roads between Beaumonts and Oaklands.
The planning application for the new Centre was approved. The Council, however, has delayed the building project for one year and is expected to proceed in 2023-24. It will be built on the site of the present 1942 community centre building.
The moment has almost arrived, when Fleetville will finally be in a position to remove the "temporary" 1942 building and instead show off a bright, modern and proud new community centre.
Recently added to the Council website Planning Pages is the full range of documents outlining the works for the new Fleetville Community Centre. It seems that the Recreation Ground will become very busy from this July – so that as much noisy dirty activity as possible will be undertaken during the school holiday.
At one time total closedown of the activity line-up had been anticipated until the new building opened. But now a portable building consisting of two rooms, entrance and toilets is to be brought in to a fenced off area behind the present building. It will sit next to the workers' compound. Pedestrian access to the portable building will be via Hatfield Road, near Beech Tree Cafe.
As expected today, a number of sustainable features are included in the new building, including a green roof, air source heat pump, rainwater harvesting and of course the highest standards of structural insulation.
Originally a start was slate for July 2022; then it was moved to September. The latest news from the front page of the Centre's own website indicates a further delay but no details are available.
Above top is the architect's drawing of the front (Royal Road) elevation nestling in a pocket of trees. Above is the spaces plan for the building, A larger version with description of the spaces appears on the Rec and Nursery page.
On the map below, the whole of the green sector on the right will be a busy work space for the construction. To the left of it, occupying recreation ground space, will be the contractors' compound, and the red block will be the temporary portable building permitting limited activities to continue during the coming year.
A new temporary pedestrian access leads to Hatfield Road.
Much anticipated by some will be the demolition phase and the opening up of the underground World War Two bomb shelters (tunnels), which several residents still remember.
Due to open in October 2022 in a new shop unit is TREK BIKES. See also panel titled Montague Close. With the increased popularity of cycling of all kinds it is unsurprising that this business has been added to those of BC Cycles adjacent to Grimsdyke Lodge and St Albans Cycles at St Brelade's Place. All now offer a wide range of repair, maintenance, service and insurance options – owning a bike is not the cheap option it used to be!
Photo courtesy VIC FOSTER.
History has recorded, through the recollections of living in Fleetville during the Second World War, the existence of tunnel shelters under the Community Centre and below the grass sward of the recreation ground.
Only one memory referred to brick street shelters in the road space of Royal Road, and that was not specific.
The publication of a series of RAF aerial photos in a flyover during 1946, now shows what appears to be a line of six such shelters on the left side of the roadway outside what used to be the wartime nursery and today is the community centre.
A larger version of the photograph appears on the Wartime East End page.
In the heart of Fleetville nearly opposite the Rats' Castle the building complex which used to be a laundry, then a tile shop, and more recently the Emporium, has now become residential accommodation. But would you recognise it as such and does it fit into the Fleetville landscape?
Cape Road and Burleigh Road lead to the former branch railway (now Alban Way). When the early houses gave out the space beyond was utilised by W G Bennett, builders. During and after the Second World War the site was occupied by Kia-Ora Motors before becoming Pratts building suppliers, and then PSR building materials.
Now, proposals for 37 new houses and flats by developer Cresswick have been given planning approval. There has been some concern that the number of units is very tight for the footprint, and there is also a very limited amount of space for car parking.
You might have thought certain districts to be sufficiently distant from the east end of St Albans. But the Borough of Hertsmere has just published its proposed District Plan. In addition to the borough's existing towns and villages, it is proposing what it terms "a new settlement" right on the doorstep of Colney Heath and London Colney. Plans for homes, schools and community buildings in a phased approach between now and 2050. Let's hope the existing infrastructure can cope!
Fleetville Diaries, the local history people, hosted a magnificent celebration of two related families: descendants of Frederick Sander, the "Orchid King", and descendants of Henry Moon whose exquisite paintings of the orchids Sander bred were published in four massive tomes.
Final approvals have now been given to the Campfield Road site which once housed the city's first electricity works (1908), of which the locally listed frontage remains. The proposals, which had progressed through several iterations, include adaptations to the frontage building, and new blocks of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom flats on the former generating plant ground to the rear.
The site has Sphere Industry on the east side and is surrounded by the former Herts Advertiser HQ (now Phoenix House), Apex House, Centurian Court and Baker's Close.
Courtesy David Gaylard.
Peter has a copy of this photograph of a very casual-looking group, and he suspects this was a cricket team raised from the residents of Tyttenhanger Green, or perhaps from staff working at Hill End Hospital. Cell Barnes Hospital is discounted as the date of the picture is c1930, a few years before the opening of Cell Barnes Colony. One man has tentatively been identified as Henry Eames (front row centre).
In front of St Peter's Farm and cottage a sweep of green and a pond faced the curve of Hatfield Road at the junction with Camp Lane and the turnpike side road toll house. The sale of this green space for housing, prompted W J Elliott of Chequer Street to create an attractive row of modest homes facing the young recreation ground at Clarence Park.
Did you miss the opportunity to grab a copy of either or both volumes of the first editions of St Albans' Own East End? Perhaps you borrowed a copy from a library, or hoped a friend or relative might offer you a copy as a birthday or Christmas gift? Or maybe you've made much of your patience and are sitting it out in hope.
Coaches everywhere take parties, groups and individuals to a variety of venues and destinations; even to and from employment, school and college. Even the most basic of daily school journeys use vehicles with a plush spec normally reserved for travel overseas.
Plush sixty years ago would have meant a vehicle such as this. Do you recall travelling in such a vehicle?
Highfield Park Trust has now celebrated its 25th anniversary, taking on the role of managing the former parkland of Hill End and Cell Barnes hospitals in 1996. Tim Abbott, Chair of HPT, stated, " In one sense 25 years is a long time, but in another it really isn't. We have done well but we must keep developing in order to reach our full potential."
The fourth full cinema on this site, and the third building, currently the only remaining full-time film theatre in the city. Visit the Odyssey to witness today's comfort.
First opened on the site of a former brewery operation in Chequer Street, the Chequers was the only cinema in the centre of St Albans.
The only cinema east of the Midland Railway and therefore in the East End, the Gaumont (formerly called the Grand Palace) was in the otherwise residential Stanhope Road.
Now number 155 Camp Road the above house was once a general store and post office, first opened by Thomas Gear in the first decade of the 20th century. Mr G Trottman then took over. Are there any photographs of number 155 as a shop?
The residents' association for the formative Marshalswick estate around The Ridgeway west, purchased a number of flowering almond trees for planting in the roadside verges during the Festival of Britain year, 1951. Apparently 112 were acquired. Was there a significance to this number, or was it simply the number that could be accommodated or afforded along the roads which were planted?
Mr Belcher, a teacher of Fleetville School, took a group of children to Port Eynon, on the Gower, in June 1955. If you were in that group, please tell us all about your trip. We know that the return journey was delayed by a rail strike, and it seems likely there was much confusion in the attempt to keep the school and the parents informed.
© 2023 St Albans' Own East End Mike Neighbour