Juliet Haddon


Juliet Haddon, photographer

The work of Juliet Haddon is likely to live on in St Albans for ever. It will live on in photograph albums, framed portraits on the mantlepiece. For thousands it will re-live precious moments. Miss Haddon lived at 45 Cambridge Road and for 37 years photographed people from her business in Victoria Street.

Clapham-born Miss Haddon came to St Albans in July 1939 and set up business despite the difficulties of the war years. She came to the city from Cambridge where she had trained as a photographer for three years. Her employers told her she was too good for them and should branch out on her own. Helped greatly by her mother she set up shop and before long was taking pictures of people and children of all ages from all walks of life. Portraits have been her speciality but weddings and commercials work have all received her expertise.

It was her father's skill as an artist which set her on the road. She said, "I tried to be a portrait painter with the camera. Having watched my father work for years I have tried to get the essence of a person I have pictured, rather than the outline. Any picture I did I did it my way. I think you have got to spend time with a person. You cannot just sit them down and go bang bang with the camera; you have got to give them consideration and give them time to relax."

Over the years she produced thousands of pictures, all personally signed.

"All subjects are nice but I did enjoy doing pictures of men and children. I am very fond of children, and though I have had some that have screamed and howled and yelled, they were exceptions rather than the rule."

The Juliet Haddon business was augmented at various times by other staff, and continued for a while under Mr Alan Archer.


Henry Frederick Sander
Sander portrait

This is the brief story of the man who came to the UK and became known as the Orchid King.

Henry Frederick Sander

The Herts Advertiser in the 1880s and 1890s contained little St Albans news; but it was purchased largely by local people with a good amount of disposable income and some influence in local affairs. Sander's clients were likely to come from those readers who were better off and perambulated in higher social circles. So he ensured there were regular articles about him and his business.

Frederick was born in Bremen, Germany in 1847 and he served his apprenticeship with a small horticultural firm. He then gained a position with the very English-sounding firm of Peter Smith & Co, Hamburg.

In 1865 Frederick decided to further his career in the UK, and was employed at the nurseries of Carter & Co in Forest Hill, London. It was while he was working here that he encountered orchids for the first time, a plant type in which Carter's specialised.

In the nineteenth century plant travellers and collectors engaged agents in the UK, to whom they dispatched regular supplies of the plants they came across and were interested in. Frederick was fortunate in becoming an agent for three notable collectors of the time. In addition to copious quantities of plants, not all of which survived the various journeys across the globe, Frederick received from them prolific data about the environments, climate and eco-systems in which the samples were found.

In order to receive this largesse of material Sander needed his own premises, and so purchased the former business of Josling's in George Street, St Albans, the back of which he covered in glasshouses.

His ambition was always well ahead of his ability to manage the stock. At one point he received stock from no fewer than 22 travellers, and had received up to one million individual plants of over 200 new or rare orchid species. It is little wonder, therefore, that he quickly sought alternative premises

Sander acquires several plots of land on the east side of St Albans, and on one in 1883 began erecting glasshouses in Camp Road (where Ss Alban & Stephen Junior School is now located). By 1891 there were already four acres of ground under glass and a further 11 acres under construction.

In the next thirty years or so, Sander's Orchids, became a world renowned centre, with important clients, including Europe's royalty, making visits to the Camp Road premises.

William and Clarice Grace
William and Clarice Grace


William and Clarice Grace

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 World 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 the 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 twenties, curtailed expansion and increased the risk of flying out of the Stage Lane site. With order books booming for several types of aircraft, the company purchased the flying club at Hatfield Harpsfield, and moved most departments to there 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 in Edgware with a ruptured appendix; one of his carers was Nurse Clarice Usher. Clarice and Bill married in 1942!

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

Until they married Bill remained at Stanmore, though sometimes he used a room at the Stone House Hotel in Hatfield, opposite the works. Then they moved to a bungalow in Radlett. When DHs laid off a large number of employees after the war Bill and Clarice moved to Hatfield Road, taking on the sweet shop formerly run by the Blakeleys.

Although he never learned to fly Bill and Clarice joined Elstree Flying Club as social members.


Bill Grace (in striped suit on the left) at a de Havilland production meeting.

George Goodchild
George Goodchild


George Goodchild

The following was taken from his obituary which appeared in the Herts Advertiser:

Mr George Goodchild had been Clerk and Steward of Hill End Mental Hospital since its inception. Mr Goodchild, with his wife and family lived in a lodge on the estate. He was only 56 years old when he died, but was "esteemed throughout the country as a man whose knowledge of matters relating to mental hospital administrative work was of an authoritative order."

He received an MBE for services in connection with mental hospital administration.

Mr Goodchild's association with Hill End before the building existed, his appointment being made as the foundations were being laid. Consequently he had to find accommodation locally until the house in the grounds was ready.

He was a keen cricketer and footballer, and he had organised most of the hospital entertainments for patients and staff. "The whole of his energies were directed towards the welfare of the Hospital."

A native of Chelsea, Mr Goodchild first entered on what was to become his life's work at the Surrey County Mental Hospital at Brookwood for four years before his appointment at Hill End. He married two years later.

The family grave is at Brookwood.