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

Last updated on January 16th 2020.

November 14th. New entry about Charmouth Road added to Your Turn page.
November 18th. New Gordon Ostlere account on Stories page.
December 5th. New entry about Percy Rollings added to Your Turn page.
December 11th. New entry about the Green Ring on the Welcome page.
December 14th. Extended and updated blog index on the Welcome page.
January 16th. New information panels at the top of the Welcome page.

The Nicholson site
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You'll remember the Nicholson building in Sutton Road: three more new names for Fleetville.

It all began with coats

Since 1901 people have known the large building in Sutton Road as Nicholson's, the former factory which made ranges of coats. Well, following a successful life turning out high quality products the building hosted a range of small businesses until a third life beckoned, and we have just become used to calling this corner Beaumont Gardens, the name taken from the official name given by Alfred Nicholson, Beaumont Works. He himself owned many plots in Beaumont and Salisbury avenues.

The building fronting Sutton Road has now been given a new name: Hansell House, in recognition of the St Albans' architect Henry Hansell who lived at 19 Granville Road and was given the contract of designing the new factory in 1900.

The two newly built blocks of flats behind and fronting onto Hedley Road, also have their own names: the first is Nicholson House, after the manufacturer from Manchester who came to launch the second works in the then new Fleetville. Further along the road is Marconi House. Many established residents may recall Marconi Instruments' factory sites in Longacres and at the rear of the former Ballito site. But there was also a small manufacturing and testing unit for Marconi close to the bend in Hedley Road.

It is great to have these local connections being applied to new commercial developments, and we should appreciate that thought by the developers, Taylor Wimpey.

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Former Kwiz Darts site
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It's next door to Montague Close and behind Burgess Funeral Directors.

Napier Court replaces former factory

The site behind Burgess Funeral Directors in Fleetville was first of all a small timber yard. However, during World War Two an established London firm of specialised manufacturers brought their brass dart production operation to St Albans after it had been bombed out of the capital. It was owned and managed by Stanley Messer. A factory in Shropshire created the feather flights using imported turkey feathers.

Kwiz made a variety of flight colours and shapes, and even made a special blue and yellow flight for St Albans. The entrance to the site was between the Funeral Directors and a pair of shops and the firm employed around 70 in the production and marketing. Kwiz was well-known internationally and were specified for some of the largest and most important competitions.

The company closed in 1980 when tungsten darts were made by competitors, selling them direct to clubs and public houses.

While much attention has been given recently to what would replace The Emporium next door, whose building work is clearly visible at the front of its site, news of the development next door (number 223a Hatfield Road), was mainly brought to our attention by a notice on the boundary gate.

This will be Napier Court, a mix of one, two and three bedroomed flats, in an L-shaped block on three floors. Although the flats are on two floors throughout, an additional floor is added to one section.

While there had been some controversy about parking provision at Montague Close, it seems that all fourteen flats at Napier Court will have dedicated spaces, partly recessed.

So, taken together with the new flats at Beaumont Gardens, that will be three new residential sites, all of which are on constrained sites in the busiest part of Fleetville.

Napier Court

Courtesy CONNELLS.

Decade News: 1940
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Evacuation of children to St Albans had begun in 1939, but they were still arriving in 1940. Who were they?

Newspaper announces more children

Much publicity has been given to the 1939 Pied Piper evacuee programme and we have seen plenty of newsreel film footage from London mainline railway stations, of trains crowded with labelled children, their tearful parents kept behind police barriers. A large number of these children had been de-trained at St Albans and were settled into their new temporary homes.

Much less has been said of the arrivals of 1940 and they deserved their place in the story. The 1939 dispersal had included the south-coast towns, it being assumed they were sufficiently distant from the capital to avoid bombing. By 1940 it was realised with some trepidation that those children sent to towns such as Worthing, Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings, were vulnerable to bombing as much as in London.

Having settled in to one billet those children had now to move again. And this time they were joined by children and schools from those and other towns. Suddenly, trains were provided once more and Hertfordshire was one of the receiving counties; St Albans one of the receiving towns.

On one July Sunday in 1940, the Herts Advertiser reported, over a thousand children and their carers arriving at St Albans Station. On arrival each child received a glass of milk, chocolate and biscuits. School groups – including whole schools – were accommodated in various schools in the city, This resulted in the typical half-time sessions until arrangements settled in. Among the schools affected were Beaumont, Central and Fleetville.

Most of the evacuated schools had returned to their home towns by the end of 1942.

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Courtesy HERTS ADVERTISER.

Select your school
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Do you have photos or other items to add to our collective knowledge about a school?

New section: Stories
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The start of a collection of accounts by and about people who have lived in our East End.

Find the Green Ring
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This is the section east of the Midland Railway, but there is more: 6.5 km in total.

The Green Ring east
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At the light controlled crossing join the cycle path on the south side of Sandpit Lane parallel with the road.

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At the lower end of St Saviour's View join Lemsford Road until the public path on the left after Eastbury Court.

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Use the public path to cross the railway bridge to reach Jennings Road.

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At the bottom of the first section of Jennings Road cross over Clarence Road to the longer section, passing Verulam School on the right.

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At the junction with Woodstock Road North turn right over the brick table, travelling south.

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Keep Brampton Road on your right and follow Woodstock Road South. Until reaching Hatfield Road the road with is narrow and parking is an issue.

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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.

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At the junction with Sutton Road use the road, passing Castle Road on your left.

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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.

Montague Close

The little drive to the left of the new development taking place opposite Sutton Road is probably the oldest driveway in Fleetville and originally led to a farrier's workshop which was part of the former farm. It has never been given a name as it was on private land. From the 1920s until the 1970s laundry vans could regularly be seen entering and leaving Hatfield Road – the premises was a steam laundry, and later a dry-clean establishment.

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Montague Close

With new homes going up on the site the driveway receives a name for the first time: Montague Close. The mystery remains: the reason for using this name. We'll attempt to find out for our readers.

Gift from the council

As the 20th century dawned the council purchased a small field next to Beastney's Farm, where hospital houses were later built. There may have been some confusion about the legal ownership of the field, but it seemed to be the intention of the authority to designate it as public open space. But there is one decision which is not fully understood…

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Camp Green

Until the 20th century Camp Lane, as it was then called, took the route immediately in front of the camera. It was then diverted to its current route to the north of the Green. But no-one seems to know why.

Fleetville roads

There is now an almost complete series of early 20th century photos of the roads which connect with Hatfield Road between Bycullah Terrace and The Crown. The most recent to be discovered is …

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Blandford Road

Thought to have been taken in 1907 before the age of the motor car, we can just see St Paul's premises which must have been still in the hands of the builders. Opposite is Thompson & Co, milliner, long before the Co-op arrived!

Flying over

Most of us see the world from ground level and from roads and lanes. What we mainly notice are houses and front gardens. Behind are our more private spaces, but occasionally there is something else we might not have expected. Today we discover what it might be courtesy of Google Earth.

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A triangular plot

Three roads form a triangular pattern, and in the middle had always been a smaller triangle of unused space – until recently. There is now a large house with its own swimming pool. Gosh, who's have thought it?

A meeting of Sanders – and Moons

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.

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Sander & Moon Tribute Day

The result of Fleetville Diaries' project to renovate the family plot of the Sander/Moon families, was seen by eighty invited guests to Hatfield Road Cemetery and members of the Moon and Sander families.

Bastin's front and back yard

This terrace of four homes in Castle Road was built in 1906 on a site extending through to Hatfield Road by builder William J Bastin. At the other end he built two houses facing onto the main road; they were only converted into shops – a baker on the left and shoe repairer on the right – in the mid 1930s. Bastin's builder's yard nestled in the centre of the plot; today it is Chapman's Auto Services.

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Castle Road terrace

After over a century this quad is largely unaltered: curved window arches, absence of porches, sash windows on both floors and patterned tile front paths, and original chimney stacks.

Ground floor living

Walk or drive along the section of Hatfield Road, eastwards from Ashley Road, and before reaching Butterwick industry you would count fourteen bungalows on the south side. You would be right in thinking there were once a few more, most erected in the 1920s. There are even two new ones on the corner of Colney Heath Lane. However, there might shortly be one fewer of these very convenient homes if a current proposal succeeds to replace one bungalow with a 2.5 storey block of 8 flats. Originally named The Wardens it was one of a group of ten built on part of Hill End Farm in 1926; only the house next door was older (1923).

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Bungalows

You might not realise it but there are still a few bungalows along Hatfield Road, though not as many as there used to be.

Second editions under way

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.

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Welcome news

Preparations are well under way on second editions, including new content. Keep an eye on this panel for updates.

Fleetville streetscapes

When laid out Princes Road was short, connecting Tess Road (now Woodstock Road south) and Woodstock Road (now Woodstock Road north). Offered to the City Council by Earl Spencer for use as a cemetery but turned down, it was developed into thirty-two homes in c1901.

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Part of Woodstock Road south

Five pairs of homes on the west side (with two pairs hidden next to the school). The last two cream pairs were not added until the 1920s.

Local architect recognised

In September a book is being published about one of St Albans' former architects, Percival Cherry Blow. The range of his work was wide: banks, public houses, shops, a cinema and many homes, oh, and the former Sainsbury's in St Peter's Street.

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A very local Blow building

Benskins chose Percival Blow to design its new public house for Fleetville, The Rats' Castle. Its licence was granted in 1927.

At your service in 1960

Just over a decade after St Albans came under the full control of Hertfordshire Constabulary (transferred in 1948), a Herts Advertiser photographer provided an example of an officer at work along the roadside.

Police advice
Guardian service

Officers had time to offer advice on cycle maintenance and took responsibility for the Cycling Proficiency courses. Here a badge was being fitted correctly to the rear guard. HERTS ADVERTISER.

Help at the footy

St Albans City Football Club were fortunate in 1949 to receive a coveted building license to create a clubroom at its Clarence Park ground. The Club was also fortunate in having sufficient volunteers to carry out the work; they may have been men who were otherwise out of work, until the building permits were relinquished as materials became more available.

SAFC 1949
Volunteers Build New Clubroom

A generous donation of £500 by St Albans City Football Supporters Club has enabled a scheme for building a new clubroom above the dressing rooms. From the Herts Advertiser in August 1949, 70 years ago.

Charles Hart's model railway
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Former house builder, Charles Hart of Camp Road, later became a collector of entertainment organs – his collection is now St Albans Organ Theatre next to Camp School. Charles is seen surveying his scene on the right of this picture.

Charles Hart's entertainments
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He was also fascinated by children's entertainments and built up a touring children's fairground in the summer months, not only at Verulamium, but in a range of towns in the county and further afield. PHOTOS COURTESY THE GOODWIN COLLECTION.

Charles Hart's children's rides
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Charles toured widely in the UK and in Europe, always on the look-out for new equipment which he could buy, and that included cinema organs which he rescued just in time before demolition gangs moved in, even if it meant sleeping in an empty building overnight!

Forthcoming events

Fleetville Community Centre
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Take a short walk along Royal Road and you will discover a real gem of a building which hums with activity all day long, and well into the evening. Next to the park and opposite the Infants School is Fleetville Community Centre. Call in and find out what's happening, not just here but all over this side of St Albans. Click the link below to find a complete list of groups regularly meeting at the Centre.

Talks and Walks
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A number of walks around the East End are arranged each year through Fleetville Diaries, including a series of four story walks around Hatfield Road Cemetery. You can arrange to book a talk or a walk specifically for your local organisation.

There are no more walks in 2019. The programme for 2020 will be posted here in the new year.

Fleetville Diaries
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THE 2020 PROGRAMME BEGINS

CHILDREN OF THE CAMPS

Exploring the challenging lives of children born into displaced persons camps following the end of WW2, how they fared later and as adults.


By Mike Neighbour

Wednesday 29th January at 7.30pm
Fleetville Community Centre

Members free; guests £4

Membership renewals at this meeting.

St Albans' Own East End Blog

Decade News

22nd December 2019
St Paul's mission church

The recent news from the District Council announcing its new and welcome policy on trees, as well as the County Council's proposals for use of some of its land for solar energy, is a positive start to a new decade. Looking back to the first month of earlier decades provides a mix of decisions, events and observations which are shared here.

Location of post subjects on the blog

December 2019
A Collection of Names (New and newish streets)

November 2019
What About Those 50 Houses? (Beaumonts homes not built)
A Busy Week (three events of the week)
Contrasting Tracks (Beaumont Avenue)

October 2019
It Might Have Been Richmond (beginnings of Ballito)
New Homes Everywhere (Nash Homes in Marshalswick)

September 2019
Cunningham Avenue
Engaging With Our Locality (Heritage Open Days)
Does the Shoehorn Actually Work? (Squeezing more houses in)

August 2019
Yes, But is it Safe? (Alleys and paths)
Idyllic Dell (The Dell, Sandpit Lane)

July 2019
Right of Way (a footpath near Chiltern Road)
The Orchid King (Friederick Sander's Orchid Nursery)
The School House (Headmaster's House at Camp School)
It's All in a Bag (the finding of a class photograph)

June 2019
Avoiding Hatfield Road (the problem of roadworks)
Growing and Growing (parking for the morning commute)

May 2019
Methodists Planted East of the Railway (Hatfield Road Meth)
What's That in the Background? (Temporary building in Hatf Rd)
Living Along the Lane (Marshalswick Lane)

April 2019
Living Near to Your Job (houses for early Marconi workers)
Only Waste Ground (on the corner of Central Drive)

March 2019
Was the Story Pieced Together? (Plane crash story revisited)
Urban Village (Was Marshalswick mis-labelled?)

February 2019
Piecing Together Another Story (Central Meat Store)
Piecing Together A Story (a plane crash story)
How Many Miles? (Turnpike Mile markers)

January 2019
Streaming Through Fleetville (chalk stream to the Ver)
Northeastern Bypass (a road which nearly happened)
A Way Through (St Albans Bypass)

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)

December 2016
Washing Taken In (Fleetville Laundry)
Colliding Stories (Bomb damage WW2)

November 2016
Historic Streaming (former East End streams)
Well Done and Not Well Done (branch railway)

October 2016
A Cell Re-occupied (Cell Barnes Hospital)

September 2016
Roads Which Are Part of Us (Fleetville guided walks)
A Story with Gaps (St John's Prep School)
The Democracy of Desire (footpaths)

August 2016
Being Part of the Story (Who is remembered in history?)
Do We Need a Bank in 2016? (Former East End banks)

July 2016
1966 and All That (St Albans – Duisburg Exchange)
A Tramp's Life (Remembering Tramp Dick)
We'll Make a List (possible listings of East End buildings)

June 2016
The Naming of Where We Are (the naming of Fleetville)
Smiles and Whistles (a very special Scout and Guide Group)
Over the Tracks (bridges over the Midland Railway)

May 2016
Striking Camp (Camp Public House)
The Sand Pits Lane (Sandpit Lane)
Off to the Stores (Welwyn Department Stores)

April 2016
Our Engagement is Announced (Fleetville Community Centre)
It's the Journey (Hatfield to St Albans Road Race)
What's So Special? (The record of what's no longer present)

March 2016
A Home of Our Own (new homes for new families)
The Chestnut Hut (Former Chestnut Drive Nissen hut)
Making Tracks (traces of a former footpath)

February 2016
Opportune Moments (people in our street scene photos)
Where's Here? (Naming local places)

January 2016
Cambridge Friends in Smallford (street project + Butterwick)
This Was Serious (thrown out of your home)
Showing Off Our Collection (artefacts from the Museum).

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)