Last updated on January 12th 2021.
October 31st. New blog post: "Across the Boundary". Below.
December 2nd. New blog post: "A Semi-detached Pair". Below.
December 5th. New item on Your Turn page.
December 18th. New blog post: "The Garage". Below.
December 27th. New blog post: :Villas Past and Present". Below.
January 3rd. Updated detail: Marshalswick School page.
January 3rd. New item on Your Turn page.
January 11th. New blog post: "How Safe Was Hatfield Road?" Below.
January 12th. New item on Your Turn page.
On the corner of Coopers Green Lane and what used to be called Manor Road.
If you travel along Coopers Green Lane intending to turn along the road towards Hatfield Business Park you will discover the street plate names it Hatfield Avenue, although many of us recall it as Manor Road. Manor Road still exists, of course. As you turn off the Hatfield Garden Village roundabout you use Manor Road to reach the shops, but since the business park grew the road doesn't lead anywhere; the major length of it has been relabelled Hatfield Avenue.
The map extract above shows its junction with Coopers Green Lane (from centre left to centre top). On the corner is a house; in fact two separate properties. Look at the roofline where there are eight chimney pots. That's rather a lot for such a modest footprint.
Under the front eaves there is also a crest forming part of the external wall, and undoubtedly is linked to the ownership of Astwick Manor just along the road.
The cottages appear on all maps reaching back at least to the 1870s, and on only one map are they labelled – Astwick Manor Cottages, Today, the porches on each side have disappeared; so too has the rear outhouse. In fact, the doors, and the windows on both floors are blocked up.
On my bike rides from Beaumonts to Stanborough nearly 70 years ago I recall these cottages, and even then they appeared to be forgotten, neglected, empty; and nothing appears to have changed.
I wonder about the story of the Astwick Manor Cottages and must discover more.
Map courtesy National Library of Scotland; photos courtesy Google Streetview.
Welcome to the latest news
from our own East End
FROM A TOY SOLDIER'S SON
Ever since Clarence Park opened in 1894, it has hosted a range of special events; not surprising really as for a long time the park was the only practical open space capable, not only mounting the events themselves, but also accommodating crowds in their thousands.
During the 1930s the St Albans Scouts presented Searchlight Tattoos by the city's groups and troops. The marching routines and demonstrations became more complex year on year, culminating in a finale of firework displays by Brock's, the former Hemel Hempstead firm.
You never know what's to be found in a photo album, and one reader discovered a picture of his father, annotated "Toy Soldiers". So an otherwise unhelpful caption now gave him a definitive local story, a place and a group to which his father had belonged – and a couple of his friends. See the Your Turn page.
A small concrete building occupying a plot in Ashley Road has been removed. Used by the Royal Antedeluvian Order of Buffaloes and also by St John's, this white building has been replaced by flats with access on to Ashley Road. Those of us who pass along this road barely give the old building a second thought, until, that is, we spy something deferent in its place.
Vic took the opportunity to snap the new accommodation shortly before completion, while we can still observe the former building from Google Earth.
Courtesy Google Earth.
Courtesy Vic Foster.
Twenty pages of topics about the East End for you to explore.
You may have learned that the very first factory in Fleetville was the one which gave the district its name – the Fleet Print Works.
After that closed in the middle of World War One it had a new use as a periscope and telescope factory before becoming home to one of the nation's most well-known manufacturers of ladies' stockings: Ballito Hosiery Mill. It opened for this use in 1925, although the mills which made the product began in Tennessee, USA. Ballito was taken over by Courtaulds in 1965 and the building sold to Marconi Instruments Ltd.
Ballito employed hundreds, mainly women, and often on shift work. The company had a thriving social life, with a dance hall, sports hall, and a sports ground at Smallford. Lunchtime music programmes were even broadcast from there.
Ballito was one of Fleetville's major employers and many of the district's families would have had at least one member working at the Mill.
Fleetville Diaries would like to contact anyone who has any recollections of Ballito, if they were an employee, or attended social functions – and because of the time since the works closed, if your parents, uncles/aunts or even grandparents were employees.
We have a small number of engaging photographs taken at Ballito, a few taken in the first year or two of operation, others post-war, and one or two as the building was being demolished.
For the benefit of the younger people in our community, the Ballito Mill was on the site occupied by Morrison's today.
Please email through this site if you have something to offer the project.
This is the section east of the Midland Railway, but there is more: 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 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.
Many firms, among them Marconi Instruments Ltd, sought homes for their potential employees from the mid-1940s. Even if land was available, to build a house you needed to apply for a licence, and these were in short supply. The photo below was supplied courtesy of Marconi Instruments Heritage Collection and shows prefabs, which were factory-built and brought to the site in sections.
Here is Fleetville's football team in 1976/77, taken at the district's 6 a-side tournament played at Nicholas Breakspear field. It was forwarded by John Bishop as a colour image, but to improve the contrast we've changed it to monochrome. See Fleetville School page.
There have been many community football teams in our East End, including teams based on the streets of Fleetville, some going back to the district's very beginnings. Here is a newly discovered photograph from the early 1950s; two more from the same source have been transferred to Sopwell Memories as they are Cottonmill teams from the 1940s. A larger version of the photo below is on the Groups Gallery page.
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.
At the end of September the County Council announced is would not give consent for Brett Associations to dig for sand and gravel at Ellenbrook Fields, already reserved as a future countryside park. The authority gave several reasons, including unwarranted disturbance to nearby residents, large numbers of lorry movements, disturbance of underground water flows and risks associated with a known chemical called a bromate plume. This refusal was a huge relief for residents living in Smallford, Ellenbrook and Nast Hyde. But there is no certainty yet about the future.
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).
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.
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.
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.
© 2021 St Albans' Own East End Mike Neighbour