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

Last updated on October 19th, 2020.

August 25th. New Air Raid Shelter located off Jennings Road, on Wartime page.
August 28th. New streets information on
Streets page.
September 5th. New blog post: "Hostelry that never was." Below.
September 14th. Updated photo information on
Francis Bacon School page.
September 19th. September newsletter. Below.
September 30th. New blog post: "Missed the Flicks". Below.
October 4th. New item on
Your Turn page.
October 10th. New blog post: "Bycullah". Below.
October 19th. October newsletter. Below.

Noticed this on your travels?
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On the corner of Coopers Green Lane and what used to be called Manor Road.



Check the chimney pots
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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.

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Newsletter October

Welcome to the latest news
from our own East End

THIS IS THE MILE OF SHOPS – AND MORE

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Newsletter October 19th
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Although the blog has run between 30 and 40 posts each year since 2012 in its current format, the subject matter has remained random, according to the topicality of events and what has appeared relevant at the time.

For the first time recently readers have looked forward to a series of posts; week by week we have sauntered along the north side of Hatfield Road peering through the windows of our local shops. We have referred to Kelly's directories and picked through collections of photographs and maps dating from the very beginning of urban development.

Now we have explored the most recent block of buildings at Bycullah Terrace, questions are being asked: how far will we go? Well, we could stop there, but it would be a pity not to have an insight to Mr Moores and where horses were shod; where we not only lost a library but also a fire station, and where we might have glimpsed a game of tennis being played.

It won't have escaped your attention that the north is only one side of the road! So, how about crossing over the road to the laundry and walking back to where we began at The Crown?

During the course of our discoveries, there are many pictures it wasn't possible to share. Most are wonderfully personal pictures donated by residents or former residents, archive images, and unusual visuals not seen previously. The 1980s image of former Coral Press, courtesy of Andrew Freeman, on the Welcome Page also appeared on the "Mile of Shops" topic page of the website, but here is another pic, above, from the archive of St Albans Museums, taken in 1964, when the parade which now includes Tesco Express, featured Midland Bank, Securicor, Ben Pelly & Son and G W Haines, outfitter.

Next month look out for a partner photo in Andrew's series taken on that day. The clue is the pedestrians on the pavement and additions to the shopfronts.

Topics
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Twenty pages of topics about the East End for you to explore.

Ballito Project
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You might be able to help us. A major 2020 project charting the story of a company which closed 55 years ago. Do you remember Ballito?

Ballito Hosiery Mill

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.

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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.

SAOEE Blog
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Bycullah

We have arrived at the heart of Fleetville, and this parade of shops has always served customers with their everyday requirements.

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 eastern Green Ring

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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 width 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.

Forgotten houses

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.

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Hill End Lane Prefabs

The group of prefabs were probably located at Lectern Lane, Cottonmill, but occupied by Marconi employees. Eventually replaced by permanent housing. This picture was taken in 1953.

Teaming up to win

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.

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Fleetville 1976/77

Richard Wilding, Gian Vetere, Anthony Hayes, ? , Lanek ? , Iain Bullock, John Bishop, Trevor Cox. FONT: Jonathan Cliffe, Tom Fisher, Tim Byram, Andrew Bullock, ? Stapleton.

Football at Cell Barnes

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.

Cell Barnes fb 1951-2
Cell Barnes 1951-2

Back row: not known, Ken Waller, not known, Eric Crunchman, now known Jack English. Front row: not known, Sid Wells, not known, Pete Denholm, not known

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.

Ellenbrook Fields Decision

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.

Ellenbrook Fields field and treeline
What happens next?

There might be an appeal; a proposal for housing might climb the agenda, with further pressure on the Green Belt; or plans for the countryside park could be advanced.

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.

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.

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.

We went to the Odeon Cinema
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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.

We went to the Chequers Cinema
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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.

We went to the Gaumont Cinema
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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.