Fleetville, Camp, Hill End, Marshalswick, Oaklands, Smallford, Cell Barnes, Cunningham, Ellenbrook

Last updated on May 19th, 2019.

New images added to Schools: Beaumont
New image added to Schools: Oakwood
New item added to Books
New entry added to Your Turn
New topic added: Clarence Park

St Albans' Own East End second editions: Volume One text now reset

After three months the layout and text changes to Volume One of the Second Edition are almost complete. This was essential, as the page size of the new editions is smaller than the A4 size in the First Editions. As a consequence the number of pages has grown to over 400. There is now a small pile of additional items and images waiting to be inserted, having been left out of the original books.

In about a month's time work will begin on indexing this volume, which means a start on Volume Two can still be anticipated for July.

I'd like to think that the Second Editions will be on the bookshelves this time next year. It seems a long time away, but there is much to do between now and then.

We can finally look forward to an “in print” future, which is excellent news for the east end of St Albans.

Recent updates

Nature reserve

The Wick, between Sandpit Lane and Marshals Drive might have become a housing estate had Sir Arthur Peake, of Wickwood, not intervened. Instead, the ancient woodland was retained and the open space extended. Peake purchased the site in 1929, and its value was finally recognised in 1995 when it officially became a Local Nature Reserve.

Nature reserve

During the 1930s The Wick was a regular venue for open air activities for St Albans scouting. Residents also enjoy the shaded path through the woodland.

William Grace came next

William Grace was not really a sweet shop man. His first love was aircraft, and moved to Stanmore, close to the de Havilland Aircraft Company's works at Stag Lane, Hendon. He was still there when the firm moved to Hatfield. As a production manager throughout World War Two and sustained injuries during bombing of the factory, Bill decided to retire with his wife Clarice, to a much quieter line of work. This is where the sweet shop comes into the story – Grace's.


In 1946 Mrs Blakeley, pictured with her father, closed the Bycullah Terrace sweet shop (today's Alban Locksmith's). It was taken over by William (Bill) Grace, before becoming a branch of Sketchley's.


The following text appears courtesy of Ian Grace, the younger son of William (Bill) Grace who owned and ran the sweet shop in Bycullah Terrace, Fleetville.

Bill Grace was born in Tottenham in 1903, around ten months before the Wright brothers flew. Just seven years later Alliot Verdon Roe flew his AVROE triplane over Tottenham Marshes.

His father returned injured from the First War, but was never able to work again, so Bill had to leave school at 13 to support his mother and three siblings with various jobs, including milk rounds and at tram depots.

In 1920 Bill became an early apprentice at new de Havilland Aircraft Company, Stag Lane, Hendon. Early orders were slow, but when its first aircraft, the Moth, became available that all changed. Bill worked on the Gipsy engines.

Suburban housing quickly surrounded the site in the late 20s, curtailed expansion and increased the risk of flying out of the Stag Lane site. With order books booming for several types of aircraft, the company purchased the flying club at Hatfield Harpsfield, and moved most departments in 1934 and 1935. Bill moved to Hatfield with the company.

As is known the company developed the wooden fighter DH98 Mosquito. Bill applied for admission to the RAF but was turned down because of the critical nature of his work as Superintendent of Stores – all components and materials passed through his hands.

Early in the war Bill was admitted to hospital at Edgware with a ruptured appendix; one of his carers was Nurse Clarice Usher. Clarice and Bill married in 1942!

Back to October 3rd 1940 when a bomb raid killed a number of employees and destroyed the entire production components for the first fifty Mosquitos. Bill was injured as he was send flying by blast from a bomb on that day. He sustained lung damage.

Until they married Bill remained at Stanmore, although he sometimes used a room at the Stone House hotel in Hatfield, opposite the works. Then they moved to a bungalow in Radlett. When DH’s laid off large numbers of employees they moved to Hatfield Road, Fleetville in 1946. Although he never learned to fly Bill and Clarice joined Elstree Flying Club as social members.


Top: Bill and Clarice Grace. Above: Bill Grace (in striped suited on the left) at a de Havilland production meeting. Photos courtesy Ian Grace.

Copse swept away

This rather pleasant tree-lined street scene in Sandpit Lane looked rather different until the 1950s. The street trees were there, but a copse behind, extending from Beechwood Avenue to the "Grammar School Field" was grubbed up to provide new homes.

Opposite Rose Walk

Behind the copse were wartime allotments extending to today's Chestnut Drive. The copse itself was an informal playground.

Clarence Park in the 50s
Playpark in the 50s

How fast could you make the roundabout turn, or the horse buck. or the swing to rise? You could also climb a nearby tree if the park keeper wasn't around!

At work in the W O Peake factory

The large coat factory was in Hatfield Road, between Stanhope and Granville roads, and many families can recall at least one relative carving out a career or earning an additional wage. Most will have walked, cycled or used a bus from the Crown or Station stops. Many will have used the firm's social and sports facilities as part of their employment package.

Working the band knife

Employee Ron Spary bulk cutting. Would a tie be permitted with such a machine today? Do you recognise any of the other employees from the late 1960s in the top photo?

District maps

The maps which first appeared in the two volumes of St Albans' Own East End can now be found on this site.

Athletics as it was

Before the days of Westminster Lodge athletics for all ages took place at Clarence Park. Generations of primary school children took part in the Primary Schools Athletic Sports each summer. This image, taken in 1968, was supplied by Brian and Edna Sharpe.

Ready, steady ...

You may notice an earlier version of the cricket scoreboard in the background. It had been made in the garden of a house in Clarence Road and pushed along to the park – real do-it-yourself.

Second editions under way

Did you miss the opportunity to grab a copy of either or both copies 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.

Welcome news

Preparations have begun on second editions, including new content. Keep an eye on this panel for updates.

New Camp Estate

A small estate build in the early 1930s south of Camp Road was created as three culs de sac roads. Lynton Avenue came first, followed by Windermere Avenue (later extended) and Glenlyn Avenue. The top photo shows a mature Glenlyn Avenue.

Early Lynton Avenue

The homes may have been complete, but walking along to the shops was messy with copious amounts of mud from unmade road surfaces.

Clarence Park
Clarence Park vista1

View from the water fountain across to the houses in Clarence Road.

Clarence Park
Clarence Park vista 2

The shaded avenue in the recreation park.

Clarence Park
Clarence Park vista 3

Specimen trees adorn both sections of the park.

A new topic has now been added about the green lung which is Clarence Park


Forthcoming events

FCC painting

Fleetville Community Centre

A wide selection of activities and events takes place at the Community Centre in Royal Road. The events include a number intended to help raise funds for the future new building project.

We are sure you will enjoy the amazing array of activities.

sharing a story at the cemetery

Talks and walks

A number of walks around the East End are arranged each year through Fleetville Diaries, the local history group, including a series of four story walks around Hatfield Road cemetery.

In addition a range of talks is available to local groups and organisations.

Fleetville Diaries

wildflower cemetery

LAID TO REST Story Walk Two


Twelve further fascinating stories about early citizens who were laid to rest in this peaceful place, and who were pioneers in their various fields.

Saturday 22nd June at 2pm
Hatfield Road Cemetery
Meet outside the chapel along the main avenue
Members free; guests £4

All welcome.

St Albans' Own East End Blog

What's That in the Background?

19th May 2019
Hatfield Sutton Laundry


Every so often you come across a photograph with so much detail it is difficult to take it in immediately. As an example, I was given this image about ten years ago. So many readers will be familiar with the location, near the junction of Hatfield Road and Sutton Road. The scene was captured in 1939.

On the opposite side of the road is the original laundry attached to the cottage with bay windows …

Location of post subjects on the blog

December 2018
Wings over Hatfield (de Havilland 1958)

November 2018
Former Typo (St Albans Typographical Society
Move Over (new SAOEE site)
First pictorial record (Armistice)

October 2018
Moths (DH Moth models)
They recognised me (boys outside Hill End)
Behind the main road (Winches)

September 2018
Platoon … as you were (Home Guard from Hatfield)
Platoon … halt (Home Guard from Hatfield

August 2018
Was it that long ago? (review of 1968)
Fifty (review of 1968)
Meet me at the drill hall (signing up soldiers)

July 2018
Fire, fire! Pour on water (Fire at Hill End Farm 1878)
Welcome to our new pad (Opening of Highfield Visitor Centre)
It’s in the archive (keeping the stories from Hatfield Road Cemetery)

June 2018
Sweet sound (restoring a Salvation Army brass instrument)
Recollections all round (four recollections from readers)
The doorstep pint (milk deliveries)

May 2018
It’s showtime (Herts County Show)
The price of coal (using the Coal Office)
We have a plan (educating Fleetville and Camp)
Fielding for free (picnic at the Barley Mow)

April 2018
Educating the newcomers (Educating Fleetville and Camp 1)
Spies in Glenlyn Avenue (post-WW1 friendship visits from Germany)

March 2018
Pothole alley (road maintenance)
Just dropping in (spies over our East End)
Decidedly dodgy (repairs from bomb damage)

February 2018
On your bike (arriving at London Road estate)
Sweets and planes (William Grace)

January 2018
Playground closed (informal play spaces)
Travelling east (Hatfield Road east)
Year’s worth of delight (Hannah Sessions calendar)

December 2017
Enjoy it? It made Mondays (people who inspired us)
A Little Bit Further (extending the city limits)

November 2017
Learning a Little More (Symondshyde New Village)
An anniversary for Glenferrie (centenary)
Happy birthday (109th for Fleetville School)

October 2017
Give Me Some Space (improving Fleetville’s roads)
Sorry, we don’t do sliced (Morley’s bakery)

September 2017
Stop Go (traffic lights)
Farming Outpost (Marshalswick Farm)

August 2017
One Day We’ll Do Something About It (traffic through Fleetville)
Memory Triggered (growing up in Fleetville)
What do we know about the Mos? (DH Mosquito)

July 2017
Flag waving (Green Flag Award)
All Mixed Up (Sutton Road)

June 2017
Nine Nine Nine (police boxes)
Chalet Shops (by the railway station)
Portsmouth Ahoy (careers visit by Beaumont School)
Some People Like Barley Sugars (walking out in the East End)

May 2017
The Lanes That Move (lane at Hill End which is no longer there)
You’ll Never Guess What, Mum (postcard photo outside Hill End gates)

April 2017
Sixty Is a Memory (recollections from 1957)
Sutton Lakes (the problem of drainage)
East(er) End Roundup
Engineering In the Round (ELECO)

March 2017
Converting Industrial Measures (industrial estates)
Patching Up the Past (Duisburg exchange)
No Time For a Round (Nast Hyde development)
View From the Boundary (Clarence Park cricket pavilion)

February 2017
Junction By Design? (Crown junction)
Updating and Refreshing (Ellenbrook)

January 2017
Oh For a Bypass (St Albans bypass)
Road With a View (Camp View Road)
A Circle Road (the ring road)
Speak or Text? (phones)

Speaking of the growing Fleetville in 1912: "… the haphazard, disorganised and part-completed houses, workshops and factories down in St Albans' own east end".
Ernest Townson (from the Herts Advertiser 1912)