I happened to find myself on two of Oakwood School photographs from the 1960s. On the first picture I am at the front sitting next to Nigel Morgan on the right hand side. On the second photograph I am on the end right, second row back. Unfortunately I can't help you out with any other names. I left Oakwood School due to moving home in March 1968 so the photographs that have me in them would have been before then. I also know that in 1965 I was in Mrs Brown's class. Gail.
Thanks for your E-mail re the old Marshalswick school (Form 5/2) Photograph. It's a shame Mr Danter (who has sadly passed on, so I am told?) didn`t take a form photo when we first were put with him in the old Geography form room where he was "in charge" of us. I seem to remember we were with him as "4th year" pupils and stayed with him until we left (myself at Christmas '62). There would have been several lads who had already left by then: Norman Kelly, Alan Wills, Michael Hogben, Richard Cook, David Pratt, Alan Rivers, I am a little uncertain about R Cook & D Pratt as to whether they were originally in our form, but they were names that I can remember. Do you know if there are ever any old ex pupil meetings that may take place these days? I would love to meet up with any lads from those days?
p.s. I recall Alan Clarke who at that time had a longish period away from school with a skin graft operation. Peter.
According to Len, The Electric Appliance Company was In Napsbury Lane, where the North Orbital trading estate is now. Although it must of been quite a big company, there appears to be very little information about it. I did write to the St. Albans Observer in October 2001 asking if anyone remembered cycle speedway in St. Albans. They did get one reply from a Keith
Hammond, he said that both his father and uncle had ridden cycle speedway and although they both worked for the EAC company they opted to ride for the St. Albans Cobras on their track in Cell Barnes Lane. He said that his father remembered riding against the Whipps Cross Comets and the Hoddesdon Kangaroos, he also remembered the track in Rothampsted Park.
Unfortunately, when I contacted the Newspaper for Keith’s address they said they did not have it.
You can still see where the Cobras track was in Cell Barnes lane.
In 1951 E.A.C. Hawks signed riders from other teams so as to win the league(which they did) they did not ride again after that season, either because the factory closed, or the team just disbanded.
Most likely the later, in 1949/50 there were some 3000 teams nation wide, a National Newspaper, News Chronicle sponsored the knock out cup and Mars the Individual Trophy. The number of teams dropped dramatically, as most teams were formed 1946/8 by school age boys , so they all reached 18 years at about the same time, so whole teams were called up for national service.
Hoddesdon Kangaroos were one of the top teams in Hertfordshire . they won the league title in 1956, when the League collapsed, I invited them to join the North West Middlesex League. In their first match they beat my team 30-80! Clive Hitch their top rider went on to become a successful motor speedway rider. He also rode for the E.A.C. Hawks in their last season, but does not remember much about it.
I did put a notice in the Cell Barnes Library, asking if anyone remembered the cycle speedway, but did not get any response.
Attached picture of site of the St. Albans Cobras track in Cell Barnes Lane.
Not only do I have my own memories from the fifties and sixties, but I also have my parents' stories, handed down (but not written down). One in particular. My Mum managed to get hold of some apples during the post-war rationing and made a batch of toffee apples. The word got around the local children quickly and soon there was a queue down the street!
Dixon's, the grocer, was next door on the corner. He had a counter that had a hot oil pipe running behind it for shop heating. As a toddler, I slipped out of my Mum's sight while she was shopping and put my hands on the pipe. I have no recollection but apparently my hands burned onto the pipe and had to me peeled off. the skin on my hands is apparently all skin graft, but I carry no scars!
On the other side was a fish shop, then there was a cafe, and an early supermarket (it actually had baskets so you could help yourself. Fancy that!). Then further down was a chemist and Presence the family butchers. Then the laundry over Arthur Road and the Rat's Castle opposite.
Over Woodstock Road from us was Arthur Rankin Smith's, stationery and the Post office. Then further up was a shop that in the sixties became an agent for Skoda cars. Further up the road was Stone's, where I could buy train and aeroplane magazines.
Opposite was Ballito's of course, all red brick with steps and a car ramp at the front. Directly above the shop was our lounge and above that was my bedroom which I shared with my older brother, David. Every New year's Eve towards midnight a lone Scottish piper stood on the forecourt of Ballito's and played his bagpipes. I don't think anyone ever knew who he was.
I remember train spotting at a railway cutting on Clarence Park, in the great days of steam.
In the bad winter of 1962/63 my brother and I earned sixpence per car pushing cars up the ice slope that was the bottom of Woodstock Road.
Behind our bedroom at the top of the house was our stock room and I well remember my parents lugging massive cardboard boxes of cigarettes, etc. up two flights of stairs. There was a cupboard under the eaves on our bedroom which was a delight to explore. There was a mass of Union Jack bunting which I found out years later was a leftover from the Coronation celebrations.
Yes I well remember my dad's white shop coats. I collected old coins - Victorian bun pennies, etc. and the early silver coins. My parents counted the cash from the till on the kitchen table every evening and I remember going through them for rare and priceless gems. I still have some of them to this day! I accompanied my Dad to Lloyds Bank, up near Rollings, with cloth bags of cash to bank.
Christmas was a busy time at the shop. May Dad used to get a bulk quantity of wrapping paper and us kids had the job of folding every sheet, in half, then in half a second, then a third time. Took hours!
I remember all the visiting travellers with their battered leather suitcases who would bring their latest products to show my Dad. One in particular was always greatly anticipated - the toy man! I always had the very latest matchbox car before any of the local children and proudly took them to Fleetville School the next day to show them off!
You probably don't remember my Mum (Clarice) because she spent most of her time in the kitchen and scullery behind the shop. I was the youngest of three children. The eldest was my sister Margaret who went to Loretto College up the Hatfield Road. My brother won a scholarship to St. Albans school, but I did not do so well in the entrance exam and only managed to get to the grammar school up Brampton Road. Ian Grace.
Ref the blog "You'll never guess what Mum", which was posted on the blog on the 6th May 2107, has a photograph of 3 young boys standing at the entrance of the Hill End Mental Asylum with Hillside house in the background. The article speculates about who the boys may be.
Well I have reason to speculate the possibility of who one or two of the boys may be. You see, My great grandfather, George Goodchild, was the Clerk and Superintendent at the hospital for around 30 years, from around 1896, before the first buildings had been built, until his death around Christmas time of 1927, therefore he would have been the resident of Hillside house at the time that the photo was taken. Furthermore, My grandfather, Arthur Gerald Goodchild (Jerry), was born to George Goodchild and his wife Florence Ida Goodchild, at Hill End on the 31/10/1904.
From what I can make out in the photograph, based on the growth of the hedges and other garden growth, that the photograph was probably taken some time between 1910 and 1915. In 1912, Jerry would have been about 8 years old and staying with his parents and brother in the Hillside house, which would put him in the right age bracket for one of the boys in the photo, along with his brother. If he is not one of the boys, he very likely would have known who the boys in the photo were.
I unfortunately don't have any information on Jerry's brother, who may or may not be one of the boys in the photo. I believe he was older than Jerry, but am not sure of that. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of my grandfather as a young person, so it is not easy to compare to the young boys in the photo, but from what I remember of my grandfather, who died in the 1980's, his features resemble those of the youngest boy (on the right) in the photo.
My great grandfather, George, was honoured with an M.B.E. by the King, in June 1927 for his life work at Hill End.
My Grandfather, Arthur Gerald Goodchild (Jerry), and his wife, Winifred, emigrated to Johannesburg, South Africa in the mid 1930s, and my Father was born in South Africa in 1939. I was born in South Africa in 1969, and still live in South Africa.
I would be very interested to get any other information about my great grandfather, his wife and family, particularly about what happened to my great grandmother after George died. I have no information about my grandfather's childhood at Hill End. All the info I have is from after he emigrated to South Africa in the 1930's. I have picked up from other articles that Dr Kimber at some stage took over as Clerk and Superintendent.
Just spotted the photo of the Wynchlands Crescent party - it looks very much like one of Syd King's photos because he took many around the immediate area.
As you know the East part of Wynchlands meets up with the Oaklands estate woods, so the house on the extreme end of the row , with the woods in the background, was occupied by Mr and Mrs Tyler and their daughter Yvonne ( who was in the same class as myself at Fleetville.) Three doors along that looks like Mrs Lambert watching the parade because her son Tommy, around 9 years old at the time, would have been taking part. Unfortunately I cannot make any other positive identifications but I know with absolute certainty that if anything was happening in Wynchlands Crescent the Pickering children would have been fully involved - they might have even organised it!
I suspect the occasion might have been a street party for either VE Day or VJ Day - I remember there was one in the crescent but can't remember for sure whether my brother and I were allowed to attend as we lived in Hatfield Road, but I have a memory of tables in the street with sandwiches and jellies - or is that wishful thinking?
Best wishes, Stewart.
Of course, I should have remembered you would recognise something about this photo, but something was not quite right and I had to read your message 2 or 3 times. I also checked with Kelly’s. You have an image in your head that it is the bottom end and Hatfield Road side (you said “east” and "Oaklands estate woods”) . However, using Google Streetview I see that although the front elevations are the same, the roofline is gable-ended. Kelly’s shows the Tylers living at number 2, also on the Winches side, but at number 1 were the Tysons in 1946. Found the Pickerings; they lived at number 11 !
The houses in the photo, however, are at the top end and on the Winches side. Here the rooflines slope down to the front gutters, as do most of the houses in the road. The homes in view are 44 and 42. Mr and Mrs Brimble moved in to 44 just before the war. Mrs Brimble later became cook at Oakwood School (earlier known as Fleetville Extension School). My mum also worked at Oakwood and she and Mrs B were good friends. However, you were close in one respect; the lady watching outside number 40 was almost certainly Mrs Taylor! As you will recall the road was on a slight incline from west down to east. From the brickline above the porches you can see the road does indeed slope down to the right.
The low paling fencing just beyond number 44 houses an electricity transformer and some of the trees leading down towards Winches Farm were cut down for the modern houses. 44 also now has an extension.
Your memory of the street party may well have been based on fact, as Hatfield Road would not have held one on its own as they would not have been allowed to close the road (unless it was in front of the shops). I know that further along the main road in Fleetville, Hatfield Road families joined in the parties held at Blandford and Sandfield roads, and the lower Beechwood Avenue party was held just inside Elm Drive.
Have to agree Mike - I was fooled by the fence and trees! Brimbles - my brother had a school friend called Corrie Brimble. Must have been the daughter.
My name is John and in September 1956 I moved with my parents from North London to a brand new Council House, number 110 Drakes Drive.
My Dad was a brass musical instrument maker and he worked at the Salvation Army factory in Campfield Road. He cycled the 20 odd miles to St.Albans every day until he eventually bought a little BSA Bantam motor bike. Needless to say the move meant Dad’s commuting time was dramatically reduced.
Initially I attended Camp School but transferred to Windermere School as soon as it was built. In 1961 I went to Francis Bacon School which had opened a year previously and was then housed in the old Alma Road school until the new school buildings in Drakes Drive were completed.
At that time we overlooked the old chicken farm and the cottages still on the corner of Cell Barnes Lane and Drakes Drive can be seen. In the other photo the water tower and chimney probably on the Hill End Hospital site are visible. The boy in school uniform is one of the Wilkinson family who lived at number 106. I don’t know his first name but I remember his sister was called Valerie.
Dad was a very keen gardener and in 1959 was awarded the prize for the best Council House garden in the City. We were very proud of him when he received the cup from the Mayor and it showed how hard he had worked in just 3 years. I’ve also attached a photo of the front garden at that time. John.
Many thanks for a very prompt reply, I know the [Institute] building well of course having passed it umpteen times on my way to school, but only remembered it as Vernon's printers, in fact have vague recollections of a cousin working there as a printer. My sister Jenny also lives in Eaton Rd, but is one of two houses that have rear access on to Arthur road. My great uncle, the Steward at Fleetville Institute was named Archibald John Sexton (1874-1954). A long and involved story if you are in the least bit interested. Archibald married Elizabeth Street (1870-1939) in 1895 and they had one daughter, and the three of them were living in the Institute in 1902. Cannot find him in the 1901 census, must have another look, but he was in Spencer Street in 1896, his daughter's christening. At some stage after the 1911 census, (when Archy was a straw hat machinery operator living in Albert St.) he deserted his wife and child and I was told he headed in to the South Pacific. I have found his grave here in Auckland, and tracked backwards from there through the Auckland Funeral director who buried him, and find that he married a German girl, bigamously, in Tonga in 1921 and had 4 more children with her before moving to Auckland, where he died. The reason I came across Fleetville Institute etc was because my Great Grandparents died in 1901 and 1902, leaving 9 children, only Archy was married and his next brother Leonard was at sea. All except for the last 3 were able to cope for themselves, my (paternal) grandmother Agnes (then 12 y o ) and her younger sister Elizabeth were placed in King Edwards School Southwark, and the youngest, Hugh (7 y o) went to Barnardos. It was Barnardos that were able to give me a full run down on the family situation at the time. Poor Hugh, he also later went to sea, then joined up in the Army Dec 1914 and lost his life 10 March 1915 at Neuve Chappelle aged only 19 1/2. Now that I'm delving in to my family history I find several other connections to our East End, my mum, Margaret Roome, though born in Thorpe road, St Albans spent much of her younger life in Cambridge Road in the Camp, she had known my father almost from birth, but they got together whilst both working at the Sphere works. Also another of my Grandmother Sexton's sisters, Eliza, married a William Witherspoon, a Brass Turner and Finisher, who I believe worked at the Musical Instrument Makers in the Camp. Then of course Great Grandfather Samuel Henry Sexton who died in 1902 was a "printer's packer" in the 1901 census and Barnardos inform me he worked at the Fleetville Printing works and was only discharged shortly before his death, probably how Archy came by his job. Tony.
I’ve just been looking through your wonderful website! I lived some of my childhood years in St Albans in Cambridge Road, and was amazed to see a photo of it here! My parents, Bob and Marjorie Westfield’s best friends were Anne and Robbie (can't remember the surname, but he was Irish) who lived in the adjacent Wellington Road and I used to play with Anne’s sister Susan when she visited. Anne and Robbie had a daughter and called her Tracy. My Dad had been a chef in the Royal Marines and he and Robbie worked together as chefs in the kitchens at Hatfield Hospital.
My mother was a secretary at Marshalswick Boys School in those days, and her friend there was Mrs Simmons, who I was delighted to spot in a photo of Beaumont School! I guess Mrs Simmons must have been one of the members of staff who moved to Marshalswick.
I attended Fleetville Infants and Juniors school from approx. 1959/60 until roughly the end of the juniors years. My best friends there were Felicity Buxton who lived somewhere north of the school, and Lynn Wilson who lived south of it. Another name I remember was Mary Briggs and I have a feeling that her parents ran the post office near the school. Also remembering Richard Moon. I remember I used to walk to school on my own and I passed Marconi Instruments and the Ballito stockings factory! I desperately wanted a pair of the black stockings which had pictures of the four Beatles faces on them! I wonder if anyone remembers them?
Unfortunately I don't think I have any photos of St Albans to submit (only ones of me at that tender age!) but I’ll check again. I’d be delighted to see any photos of my days at Fleetville! Or to hear from any class mates - I can't remember any more names at the moment. The teachers I remember are Miss Probert a largish lady with gingery hair (I think) always in a bun who taught geography, and Mr Blanks, a rather cruel, bald-headed man who used to like taunting Richard Moon when he was talking, by making him stand on his chair while saying ‘Get on your chair Moon, up in the sky where you belong’. Funny what sticks in your mind!
Clarence Park was where mum and dad played tennis, leaving me on the sidelines with a banana ice lolly!
Thanks so much for the trip down memory lane, and I hope some of my information rings a bell with someone! Brenda.
About 1929 I used to play in the pits where they dug the clay - we were not supposed to and my dresses were always filthy but it was great fun. I think there were four square pits where they produced the clay, there was a approx 4" pipe going from the bank to the centre which carried the water. The bricks were made on a site at the end of Cambridge Road, just a bridle path led to the pit and there was a branch railway at the side which was used only to carry supplies to the mental home - I think that was called Hill End Hospital later. After a few years they built houses the other side of the line and the bridle path was made up and led to the Hatfield Road.
Quite why a pile of old 78rpm records should attract attention isn't obvious, but browsing through such a pile recently at a jumble sale recently brought to light the beginning of a story. The sale was at the scout hut at Longacres Park, and the pile was probably brought in by a nearby loft-clearing resident. Among the 1920s jazz numbers and 1930s dance tunes by small light orchestras, was the occasional specialist or spoken word record. And one of the latter stood out from the rest.
"Anecdotes and Country Tales" was locally produced. Not a big name Parlophone or Capitol, this disc had been recorded and cut by Robert W Archer, 82 Beechwood Avenue, St Albans – his address is on the cover. Both Mr Archer and his father were switchgear engineers (possibly at a local factory), so recording and making records was a spare-time hobby. The family lived at number 82 from 1939 until the late 1950s, so we know the period during which the record was made. We also know from the label who the artist was: John Essex. At present we know nothing about Mr Essex. But someone might, and someone may recall Robert Archer from Beechwood Avenue. Specialists in recorded material may have access to early recorded material data. On the other hand, "Anecdotes …" might have been a one-off project with just a few dozen copies sold or given away. But if so, it was done right here in the east end of St Albans.
The recording has now been transferred onto a CD.
© 2018 St Albans' Own East End Mike Neighbour