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

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St Albans' Own East End second editions: preparations finally begin

January 1st is as good a day as any to make preparations for a new project. And January 1st 2019 is the day on which work on the second editions of both the volumes of St Albans’ Own East End begins in earnest.

So many people made inquiries as soon as they realised the first volumes were out of print, and have had to content themselves with a “sometime” answer, as there was no prospect of an early start on bringing new editions to publication.

Of course there is still no date, but at least the layouts are being planned. The format will be somewhat smaller – not the A4 of the first editions – and some editing will be undertaken. The sole purpose of that is to provide space for new content, although the endpoint will still be 1960.

You will discover occasional Welcome Page updates during the course of 2019; most of this year will be required to complete the task.

We can finally look forward to an “in print” future, which is excellent New Year news for the east end of St Albans. Happy New Year.

Recent updates

Colourful football field

You would find it hard to locate this spot today, but in the 1950s you could have stood on the track behind Dexter Close at the top of Camp Hill and looked across what had previously been the football field belonging to the Rubber Works (on the left) towards Camp Road. The field of dahlia blooms which replaced the marked-out pitch was now a rectangle of glorious colour. It is possible that this was yet another field rented by Ernie Cooper at the Jescott Nurseries, Oaklands. These are two frames of a film made in 1954 by Frederick Haddon of Cambridge Road.

dahlia field 1
Impossible view today

Dexter Close is to the left and new homes are in front. The Camp Hill cottages are still with us. Behind are the electricity works and Sphere Works. But what colour in the foreground!

William Grace came next

William Grace was not really a sweet shop man. His first love was aircraft, and moved to Stanmore, close to the de Havilland Aircraft Company's works at Stag Lane, Hendon. He was still there when the firm moved to Hatfield. As a production manager throughout World War Two and sustained injuries during bombing of the factory, Bill decided to retire with his wife Clarice, to a much quieter line of work. This is where the sweet shop comes into the story – Grace's.


In 1946 Mrs Blakeley, pictured with her father, closed the Bycullah Terrace sweet shop (today's Alban Locksmith's). It was taken over by William (Bill) Grace, before becoming a branch of Sketchley's.


The following text appears courtesy of Ian Grace, the younger son of William (Bill) Grace who owned and ran the sweet shop in Bycullah Terrace, Fleetville.

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 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 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 20s, curtailed expansion and increased the risk of flying out of the Stag Lane site. With order books booming for several types of aircraft, the company purchased the flying club at Hatfield Harpsfield, and moved most departments 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 at Edgware with a ruptured appendix; one of his carers was Nurse Clarice Usher. Clarice and Bill married in 1942!

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

Until they married Bill remained at Stanmore, although he sometimes used a room at the Stone House hotel in Hatfield, opposite the works. Then they moved to a bungalow in Radlett. When DH’s laid off large numbers of employees they moved to Hatfield Road, Fleetville in 1946. Although he never learned to fly Bill and Clarice joined Elstree Flying Club as social members.


Top: Bill and Clarice Grace. Above: Bill Grace (in striped suited on the left) at a de Havilland production meeting. Photos courtesy Ian Grace.

Beaumont Gardens

Taylor Wimpey is anticipating considerable demand for these homes in Sutton Road, and is inviting us to inspect. Of course, most of us who wander to the site won't be thinking of buying, we just want to be inquisitive about the space and spec on offer. One feature: the frontage is a Listed structure.

Beaumont Gardens

Once A Nicholson & Co, the coat manufacturer since 1901, new apartments are springing up in and behind the former factory.

Courtesy Taylor Wimpey

Carlton football teams
Is this 'Bish' with the team?

Several images of Carlton FC juniors have surfaced recently. Here is one of its senior squad in 1945/6

Three neighbours working for Marconi Instruments

In 1958 Marconi Instruments, formerly at Longacres, continued its search for houses for employees transferring to St Albans from other locations. Three adjacent homes in St Vincent Drive, London Road estate became homes for Pat, Philip and Kurt. But the three families didn't just move; they moved into houses designed by Philip.

London Road estate neighbours
District maps

The maps which first appeared in the two volumes of St Albans' Own East End can now be found on this site.

Do you live at Dalehouse?

One of the earliest of the development roads at Beaumonts was Oakwood Drive, undertaken by George Burgess in the early 1930s. Many of us think of it as a bungalow road, but there are houses too. And it was the only road on the estate to have a properly laid concrete road from the start – most of us put up with potholes and puddles for another twenty years. Now, look at the purchase price!

House or bungalow

The price for houses reached the giddy height of £680 in 1934; a bungalow could be secured for £610

Second editions under way

Did you miss the opportunity to grab a copy of either or both copies 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.

Welcome news

Preparations have begun on second editions, including new content. Keep an eye on this panel for updates.

Your turn again

The Quadrant is just one of hundreds of themes on which residents will have comments to make: shopping experiences today or recollections of visiting the shops in the past. The centre is sixty years old – so were you there at the beginning; were you a former trader; what is, or was, your favourite shop? Or perhaps you even recall the farm which preceded it. Over to you.

Quadrant shopping

The Quadrant is as popular as ever; the number of shops increased over the years, and stores have now crossed over The Ridgeway.

The Tuck's back garden
Tucks garden

Florence sent this picture to her sister Louisa in 1917. There is something familiar about the background; it is certainly a factory, but which one.

We are left to work out the nature of the group surrounding Florence (centre).

Jamboree Scouts

Scouts from all over the District of St Albans. They love to meet up every so often. Some times joining from other parts of the UK; at others they can shake hands with Scouts from all over the world. Click here for a larger image.

Mid Herts League
Benevolent Cup

We might not know the colour of the stripes, but we do know that this team from 1924/25 is sitting outside the former Adult Schools in Stanhope Road (now de Novo flats). More information soon.

The Tuck's back garden

Charles Tuck and his wife arrived in Fleetville in its very earliest years. He opened a motor vehicle and cycle workshop at the eastern end of what would become a short row of shops close to the Rats' Castle PH. When new the house and workshop stood on its own. The Tuck family were well known in the district and were members of the Methodist Church in Hatfield Road. This photograph was taken for one of Charles' daughters, Florence, (seated centre in the hat) by Riccardo photographers, then at the corner of London Road and Alma Road. The setting is the Tuck family's back garden. The building was part of the Co-operative Society Bakery. We can only speculate about the group of young ladies with Florence – skipping ropes and maracas!

Incidentally, there is a connection with the small image on the right of the three on the Welcome page. The man with the towel over his right shoulder was Charles Tuck, Florence's father.

Forthcoming events

FCC painting

Fleetville Community Centre

A wide selection of activities and events takes place at the Community Centre in Royal Road. The events include a number intended to help raise funds for the future new building project.

We are sure you will enjoy the amazing array of activities.

sharing a story at the cemetery

Talks and walks

A number of walks around the East End are arranged each year through Fleetville Diaries, the local history group, including a series of four story walks around Hatfield Road cemetery.

In addition a range of talks is available to local groups and organisations.

Fleetville Diaries

Islington Gate


An illustrated talk
by Mike Neighbour

Wednesday 27th February
at 7.30pm
Fleetville Community Centre
Members free; guests £4

All welcome.

St Albans' Own East End Blog

How Many Miles?

8th February 2019
Popefield mile marker

Find a drawing of Dick Whittington, probably with cat as part of the story, and the picture will probably include a milestone: "How many miles to London?" Our mind's image of any open road in the days before motor vehicles will probably include these stones. Although they are likely to have been placed along some highways before the days of turnpike trusts in the 18th century, when it became a legal requirement to install them, it is the turnpike roads we most associate …

Read more
Location of post subjects on the blog

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)

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)