Organisations looking to fill engaging slots in their talks programmes to members will surely find just the job from the selection of talks offered below. Most talks take approximately one hour and are fully illustrated. To book a talk send an email via the link below and provide a contact number.
Nurseries and malting; treadwheel and commuting; fete field and park; and a lot of evasion of dues. All can be discovered within a few hundred yards of what we know as The Crown, although many locals once had other names for this spot.
No better place to live than near a stream or two, and watch the militias at play. To live here was to live life on the edge and beyond. We worked the land and saw the railway arrive; we also witnessed the hamlet change before our eyes. Eventually they brought the school to us – well almost.
One missing manor, then another; a Cromwell connection and then a takeover. People have been fed from the land here for two millennia. Nowadays, everyone seems to want to live here, but there is still archaeology to be had.
There was no planning or order here; no-one in control. But there were plenty of opportunities, and penalties to be paid as well. Politics played a major role, and some of the social issues of the time left their mark. This is the talk where we discover the origin of St Albans' Own East End.
St Albans' fourth cinema; the one no-one's even heard of. But it did exist. No-one paid to see a show there and the entrepreneur who came to run it had already cut his teeth in bigger towns and on grander show buildings. Wasn't Fleetville lucky? However, the biggest show of all was the drama played out at the Town Hall.
This is the story of a missing community, one that came, lived out its existence and then disappeared. It was a community dedicated to the social and medical care of thousands of patients over a period of a century. Today there is a new community forging different lives; but this is the story of what was.
This is not a "nothing" area; it is a little place full of big connections; its history runs quietly deep. Road and rail both have linked disparate communities, and their members have played a part in some of this country's key economic and social changes, from leisure to food, and fashion to education.
The talk builds the story of the east side of the city, piece by piece, and carved out of its largest parish, St Peter. From a largely agricultural base, and unable to sustain its large workforce, the district grew homes and factories instead, and became the engine room of St Albans.
The Herts Advertiser has witnessed the entirety of the East End's history – and more. And from the first decade of the 20th century the newspaper illustrated its reports with photographs. The speaker re-photographed all of those which were published following a massive act of historical vandalism. He chooses thirty pictures which chart the story of the city through the interwar years and into the modern era.
Villages tended to become forgotten in the developing role of children's education. Classrooms there were in London Colney, though they might not easily have been recognised as such; nor the play spaces. How fortunate everyone considered the 1930s to have been, when, for the first time villagers could say with pride, "now that's a proper school."
The second talk of the pair; the daughter institution of adjacent Hill End. Its life began in the 1930s and, like its parent, pioneered treatments and therapies to provide better lives for its patients. They then went out into the world to make it happen, while newcomers arrived to build new lives.
Some people paid dearly; while others played the evasion game. This is the story of the Reading & Hatfield Turnpike Trust – the 18th and 19th century Hatfield road in all its controversial glory. We think we suffer from pot-holes; you should have seen it then.
This talk comprises a small collection of three or four shorter stories. The composition will vary according to occasion, depending on the venue or topicality. But they will inevitably include accounts you have never previously encountered.
It doesn't matter where they come from, but arrive they do. In boxes and albums in attics and cupboards, there is an increasing number of pictures now in our collection, each of which tells a particular story related in some way to Fleetville or the wider East End. This talk uses twenty-five such images. Sit back and enjoy.
© 2018 St Albans' Own East End Mike Neighbour