Last updated December 3rd 2021.
A key page about a few years in which thousands of St Albans people played host to children in the biggest upheaval ever experienced in Britain.
The hosiery mill – which most people referred to as "the Ballito Works" – opened in 1925 and was closed by new owners Courthauld in 1967. This is its story in one page.
There are twenty-two pages of topics about the East End for you to explore, from districts to shopping streets, a turnpike and former hospitals.
Photos and histories about our East End schools, and plenty of former pupils identified. You may be among them, but if not you may be able to help identify yourself, a friend or relative.
Many books have been written about St Albans – including of course ST ALBANS' OWN EAST END. Not all are currently in print, however, but may be available at the library. Here you can also look out for new titles.
We gathered one hundred assorted objects which together tell the story of ST ALBANS' OWN EAST END. They are all here in this group of pages, together with their individual accounts.
See how the districts developed from the late nineteenth century to provide collections of roads we know today. The maps are complete down to 1960, though recent roads are not included.
Welcome to the latest newsletter, highlighting topics all about our own East End.
A regular and useful feature of the Herts Advertiser is "Your Guide to …". The issue of 2nd December featured The Camp. It is, of course, a challenging exercise to create meaningful articles in no more than two columns, so well done to the sub-editor for its coverage.
The editor of this column would like to join with the newspaper in clarifying a few points which were mentioned.
A small part of Camp district was, indeed, built on fields of Beastneys Farm, but from Hatfield Road to Camp Road the district became possible through the sale of Beaumonts, a farm and former Manor House. Cunningham Farm also gave up its land.
The district of Camp was almost certainly born from the hamlet of Camp Hill and the nearby training grounds of the eighteenth century militia training grounds on the slopes leading down towards the road to London. The road, from what we know as The Crown to Hill End Lane, was known as Camp Lane, and progressively renamed Camp Road as sections were developed.
Naturally, many residents recall the former Camp PH with pleasure. It's predecessor, the Old Camp Beer House was at the very top of the Hill, and the very first marked building in this location was on the 1766 map, and called Camp House.
Of course, just like Fleetville, it is difficult to draw boundaries around The Camp, nor to definitively demarcate The Camp from Fleetville. Nor is there a clear distinction between The Camp and London Road estate, also known as Mile House estate. So, we get into the habit of borrowing places from nearby and temporarily attaching them to a neighbouring location. No harm in that.
Across to Oaklands to briefly announce the opening of the latest phase of the College's new buildings, and in its centenary year. We wish the College students and staff well as they become used to their updated surroundings. We will feature a new page on this website to expand on the existing Oaklands page during the New Year.
Another bungalow may grow to be a block of flats after a century along Hatfield Road near Oaklands.
The GREEN RING is a walking and cycling route which encircles the city, with many sections off-road. Here is the section east of the Midland Railway, but there are more than 6.5 km 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.
The District Council leads on a new Fleetville project, which the Community Centre Trust has aspired to create for many years. Follow its progress here.
The Fleetville Community Centre website has announced its most recent progress made with St Albans District Council for the new Community Centre building.
Chair Trevor Parsons writes:
"Dear Hirers and users,
It has been nearly 7 years since we first began to explore the possibility of getting a new Community Centre built. Many current users love the current building as it's been a part of some people's lives over the 39 years the Centre has been running.
As you will know, the current building is showing signs of age; it's becoming expensive to maintain and run.
Last year St Albans' District Council elected to fund and build a new centre. Things have moved slowly but steadily as the proposals had to be approved and funding agreed.
The Council has engaged an architectural practice to draw up plans for the Centre, using much of what Fleetville Community Centre New Build Team had derived from surveys and community discussions to inform their design decisions.
We are now moving along at a more rapid pace and we are getting close to a time when we can advise everyone when the Centre will close for redevelopment and when we expect it to re-open. Currently it looks like the Centre will close in July 2022 and re-open in 2023. We will confirm this when the Trustees have a firm date.
We've had a couple of years of disruption with the pandemic, and it will be closed again while the site is rebuilt. This will be frustrating for some but we will get a bigger, up-to-date and more efficient centre, with booking priority going to current hirers when we re-open."
Find further information here:
Note: the plans are not necessarily final.
There was a time when street parties celebrated a major royal event – or, of course, the end of a war. Both Beaumont Avenue and Woodland Drive have organised occasional parties for the sheer enjoyment of meeting each other; families taking the opportunity to meet each other or getting to know each other better. That's a great reason, and for an afternoon, returns the public space into a different kind of "play street".
It has just been announced that the local history group known as Fleetville Diaries, which has been active in the district for the past thirteen years or so, has now closed.
Although membership was buoyant and its events popular, new committee members to help plan an onward programme have not been forthcoming. This is not, of course, an unusual position for community organisations to find themselves. Nevertheless, without members who can step forward to "help produce the show", there is no show.
It would be good to predict that in the fullness of time Fleetville residents will once again feel the urge to join together in common interest in the thriving district of Fleetville and its wider environs. Meanwhile, many thanks, FD, for "putting on a great show."
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?
These two children from a pre-war photo are enjoying themselves in a field between Camp Hill and Campfields. The grazing cows provided milk for Oakley's Dairy. This was located where Orchard Nursing Home in Camp Road is located today.
Some householders will still recall milk being delivered by horse-drawn cart in the 1950s. And a few might remember one or both of the brothers who manned the rounds.
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.
St Albans Council employed Aveling steam road rollers to maintain its road network, and an unknown photographer composed and took this image when it was used to repair a section of road near the gutter. We presume it was somewhere within the 1879 boundary since the pavement is laid with blue engineering blocks. We think it is near a T junction; otherwise there is little to identify the location. Trees, and even walls and fencing will have changed in the hundred years since the picture was taken, but someone with intimate knowledge of a particular corner of the city may be able to identify the spot.
Image courtesy Sandy Ross.
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 well 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.
© 2021 St Albans' Own East End Mike Neighbour