Last September Fleetville Diaries welcomed everyone to the centre of Fleetville to explore projects it was undertaking, and to participate in a short guided walk around the heart of the district.
The Heritage Open Days event returns nationally this September and on Saturday 14th September Fleetville Diaries, the local history people, are again opening to view part of Fleetville Community Centre. Two new projects are underway and visitors can discover what has so far been discovered and curated about the former Ballito Hosiery Mills and about Beaumont Avenue. You may be able to contribute, perhaps a memory, a photograph or an artefact, but you would also discover so much more. Neither project is complete, so it will be fascinating to find out what a part-complete collection of material looks like! There is also another chance to see the hugely successful Frederick Sander exhibition, last on display at the recent Sander/Moon Tribute Day.
The former nursery building, still in use as a thriving community centre, now has a short remaining lifespan – exciting new plans for a new community centre building are being developed. Meanwhile we can discover the history of this unusual structure, with its low ceilings, remaining air raid shelters and underground tunnels.
This short talk is followed by a short guided walk around a few of Fleetville's streets and alleys, working out how Fleetville grew from its beginnings in 1897. There will be two identical talks and walks, at 14:30 and 16:00. No booking is required but participation is limited to 20 on each walk. Family-friendly, although the narrow footpaths make it a problem for dogs and buggies. Surfaces are level; there are no steps and we can accommodate a wheelchair on each walk. Start and finish is at the Community Centre in Royal Road. Free 3-hour parking is available on the south side of Hatfield Road opposite.
Saturday 14th September, open from 14:00 to 17:00. No booking required.
On the same day from 10:00 to 16:00 pop along to Smallford Station, in Station Road to view an exhibition about the station, its history, the railway it served and its impact on surrounding communities. Join a guided walk between Smallford and Nast Hyde, either at 12:00 or 14:00. Refreshments will be provided by Colney Heath WI.
Fleetville Diaries and Smallford & Alban Way Heritage Society hope you will be able to join them at one or both events.
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.
The focus this week has been on the Normandy beaches as they were 75 years ago on the D-Day landings; and of course the English south coast. But the men, units and equipment had to get there from hundreds of bases around the country. A massive operation was created to gradually advance on the south coast. Endless convoys of vehicles lined roads, including through St Albans. No images have been discovered of vehicle movements along Hatfield Road so generic photos from elsewhere provide a flavour of the waiting, the slow advance and the anticipation.
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.
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.
Let's not get confused; Beaumont Gardens is a new development in Sutton Road; Beaumont Grange is going up opposite Barnfield in Sandpit Lane; and to complete the trio, Kingsbury Gardens – far from Kingsbury, St Michael's – is on the old front field of Beaumont School, Hatfield Road.
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.
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.
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.
It seems we could have flown around the solar system twice since The Comet was hidden behind its solid wall of wood. While negotiating the roundabout we now have tantalising glimpses of the refreshed site as well as the new hotel suites and student flats behind. There has also been an attempt to restore original features, such as the airfield lantern.
It began life in Cavendish Road, and has moved site twice since. In June 2019 Hatfield Road Methodist Church has counted 125 years of service among the people of this district and is marking the achievement with a series of events.
The restored lantern from the airfield at Hatfield is sited in front of the main buildings at University of Hertfordshire de Havilland Campus. A very appropriate location.
Opposite the former airfield, home of the de Havilland Aircraft factory, is the Comet Hotel, named after the pre-war Comet Racer. A model of the Racer stands in front of the hotel.
Many of the original aircraft factory buildings are no more. One that does is the hanger which has been converted for use by the Hatfield David Lloyd Centre.
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.
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.
By joining the last of the four story walks you will get to know about ten more inspiring former citizens.
LAID TO REST: FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Join us at Hatfield Road Cemetery
Saturday 17th August at 2pm
FD members free; non-members £4.00
The Sandpit Lane boundary of the former St Peter's Farm remained much as it had done for centuries until the sale of the farm in the 1890s. One imagines a hedge beside the lane between what today is Clarence Road and Woodstock Road north. There were fields for grazing cattle, but one little area was always fenced against cattle intrusion, and as early as the 1841 tithe map this pocket-sized copse was named The Dell, an apt label …
Wings over Hatfield (de Havilland 1958)
Former Typo (St Albans Typographical Society
Move Over (new SAOEE site)
First pictorial record (Armistice)
Moths (DH Moth models)
They recognised me (boys outside Hill End)
Behind the main road (Winches)
Platoon … as you were (Home Guard from Hatfield)
Platoon … halt (Home Guard from Hatfield
Was it that long ago? (review of 1968)
Fifty (review of 1968)
Meet me at the drill hall (signing up soldiers)
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)
Sweet sound (restoring a Salvation Army brass instrument)
Recollections all round (four recollections from readers)
The doorstep pint (milk deliveries)
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)
Educating the newcomers (Educating Fleetville and Camp 1)
Spies in Glenlyn Avenue (post-WW1 friendship visits from Germany)
Pothole alley (road maintenance)
Just dropping in (spies over our East End)
Decidedly dodgy (repairs from bomb damage)
On your bike (arriving at London Road estate)
Sweets and planes (William Grace)
Playground closed (informal play spaces)
Travelling east (Hatfield Road east)
Year’s worth of delight (Hannah Sessions calendar)
Enjoy it? It made Mondays (people who inspired us)
A Little Bit Further (extending the city limits)
Learning a Little More (Symondshyde New Village)
An anniversary for Glenferrie (centenary)
Happy birthday (109th for Fleetville School)
Give Me Some Space (improving Fleetville’s roads)
Sorry, we don’t do sliced (Morley’s bakery)
Stop Go (traffic lights)
Farming Outpost (Marshalswick Farm)
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)
Flag waving (Green Flag Award)
All Mixed Up (Sutton Road)
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)
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)
Sixty Is a Memory (recollections from 1957)
Sutton Lakes (the problem of drainage)
East(er) End Roundup
Engineering In the Round (ELECO)
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)
Junction By Design? (Crown junction)
Updating and Refreshing (Ellenbrook)
Oh For a Bypass (St Albans bypass)
Road With a View (Camp View Road)
A Circle Road (the ring road)
Speak or Text? (phones)
© 2019 St Albans' Own East End Mike Neighbour