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Jane Tubb BSc (Hons) geologist, chair of East Herts Geology Club and author of published papers about Hertfordshire Puddingstone has contacted the website to say the description for the formation of puddingstone is not entirely accurate and tells us: It formed about 56 million years ago when rounded beach pebbles were in places stained by iron compounds and mixed with fine white sand, then patches were cemented by dissolved silica in groundwater – this happened on or near the surface. The loose and cemented pebbles were covered by The Reading, and The Harwich formations, then the London clay. During the Anglian glaciation (about half a million years ago) the ice removed some of the overlying sediment to expose puddingstones, some of which were transported by glaciers and deposited among sand and gravels. Jane added this link for further information:http://ehgc.org.uk/hertfordshire-puddingstone/puddingstone-formation/
In looking for information about the Dowsons at The Paddock, we were puzzled by the house known as The Paddock (24 Sun Lane) occupied by Miss Anna Wrangham Hardy – having possibly built this 1930s house. While going through correspondence from the old Harpenden Urban District Council to all the proprietors of Riding Schools – to complain about horse-riders damaging footpaths as well as greens and fairways on the Common – we have discovered that Anna Wrangham Hardy was Honorary Secretary of the Harpenden PRIVATE Riding Club at least from 1935 to 1937 – with Fred Dowson probably running the stables.
In 1911 25 Milton Road was known as Gladsmuir and at the time was lived in by a Clockmaker, Watchmaker and Jeweller called Benjamin Greening and his family (wife Alice and adult daughter Margaret). He was born in Bristol and moved to London for work. By 1922 he was awarded Freedom of the City of London and had business premises in Hatton Garden. Ed: Cherry, are you related to Benjamin Greening?
The stables closed in 1963. I remember going to a retirement party for Anne and Frank hosted by Ian Mills, my godfather, at his home, Fallows Green House on 22nd November 1963. While we were there the news of the assassination of President Kennedy was announced so it was a very memorable date.
Very interesting – I remember first visiting the site of the 3rd Scout Troop as a young lad and being impressed they had a small swimming pool derelict at that time. I was looking for some history of the 10th of which I was a member our HQ was the old corrugated tin church up the road in Cenral Southdown which I loved.
A description of Emily’s wedding (see photo above) was in the September 1900 issue of the Parish Magazine – very much a Victorian style of reporting! ‘A very pretty wedding took place on August 15th when Mr E.L.Warren was united in holy matrimony to Miss Emily Elmes. The Church was filled with a large and orderly (?!) congregation, the Rector officiating. The choir sang two hymns and the psalm; and Mr Billingham discoursed sweet music in the intervals of waiting besides heralding the close of the ceremony with the Wedding March. The flag was displayed on the Church Tower and the Bells rang a merry peal. In fact aided by perfect weather, all went off as happily and pleasantly as possible.’ Was the flag flown for every wedding or only for certain people I wonder?
Having recently donated documents related to my father’s leases to the local history archives, I have looked again at this page, and been reminded of more details. Between Basil Harborough’s shop and Dad’s was the entrance to the flat in which Isa Langdon resided until 1938 when she moved to Westcliff in Essex. Similarly there was an entrance to the Christian Science religious premises between Dad’s shop and Ella Cherry’s.
The basement areas under Basil’s shop and Dad’s were interesting in that they did not follow the ground floor plan. That under Dad’s shop was an “L” shape, accessed through a flap in the floor of the saloon via a metal spiral staircase. Basil’s basement area filled in the internal area of the “L” shape under Dad’s. Basil could often be heard sewing or pressing clothes in his basement.
Arriving at the foot of the spiral staircase one would have been facing in a general southward direction. The passage was quite narrow, about 5 to 7 feet wide and 2 or 3 yards in length. A right angled corner then turned in direction towards the front of the shop. A similar width and length of passage led to a step up to a small lavatory cubicle; behind the toilet bowl being a window leading to a waste water collecting point under the translucent paving area outside the front of the shop.
I wonder what the cellars are like now.
I remember that at the Community Hall on a Saturday morning we used to go to a film club. Children watched old films like Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton as well as some old cartoon films. We paid something like 1/6d to watch an they also had a tuck shop during the interval whilst the projectionist changed to the next film reel.
Brilliant article . I lived in Batford from 1952 – 1975, for a while in the old POW Camp, later in Holcroft Road. Attended Batford Infants and Junior schools. Seeing the old road names, buildings, shops, shop keepers’ names etc. brought back very happy memories. Love the history of my childhood days. Thanks to everyone for your contributions
My Grandpa (G.Cozens) lived at 33 West Common Way. He was a director of Commer vehicles in Luton. I loved going there when I was a kid in the 1960’s. Ed: Do you remember the house as it was in Jim Jarvis’s photo?
Miss Hills Young was an old friend of the Mayalls of Roundwood Park as they had served together in the Sudan. She had a nickname ‘Jebbles’ but how it arose I do not know
I was born in the Red House in 1980! I now live in Canada but I have been back and stopped twice – my Mum told me what a lovely experience it was delivering there with the help of a midwife.
Thankyou for this article. Edwin Grey is my Great-Great-Grandfather, so it is fascinating to read this account of his life and to see the wonderful photographs. I did not get to meet Edwin, as he died before I was born, but I do remember his son, Harold, who also lived until he was well into his 90s. Ed: we hope you can share more information about Harold and other members of your family
A very enjoyable and informative history of the Spinney Thank you Ed: We’re very sorry to learn that storm Eunice cause such damage in mid February 2022.
Hi Colin, Thanks for this web page. Very useful information. Have you since, traced further back than William and Mary (nee Thoroughgood)?
There used to be an electric siren outside Pan Autos garage in Southdown when I grew up there in the 80s. I only remember hearing it tested once, when it spun up to full speed and stayed there for quite some time, not the rising/falling tone we’re so used to hearing. After some more reading, it appears what I remember was more likely a cold war “Handel” network siren. It would appear they were decommissioned somewhere around 1992, which would match my remembering it from the 80s. Do you know when it was removed, and was that a site of a WW2 siren? Ed: The siren you mention was removed in the early 1990s. However there was a WWII siren on Brauer’s premises, which was moved from Abbott and Anderson’s factory behind the Silver Cup during the war years, so as to be nearer to where people were living and working in the Southdown Area. These WWII sirens were removed in 1970 when call-out bleepers were issued to the voluntary firemen.
Hi, my name is Raymond. I was in the home in the 50s and Sister MARY was my house mother. Before going to bed Sister Mary would read a story to us and I remember PILGRIMS PROGRESS. I am 72 years old and still remember that time.
I have lived in the United States ( North Carolina) for the past 60 years, but was born in Harpenden at the Red House in 1940. I lived in Weybourne Close with my mother and her friends until I was 5yrs old, then we moved to Luton. Every weekend my Mum and I would catch the 321 bus from Luton to Harpenden, and walk up Station Rd all the way to Weybourne Close, via Lyndhurst Drive. Over the years I got to know Station Rd very well, the Post Office, a nice little shop that sold children’s clothes, and of course Ackroyds Bakery “best bread in the world”! I have a question about a house at the top of the hill, after going under the bridge and up the hill it curved and leveled out. On the right side there was a house with the most amazing manicured hedges and lawn with a palm tree ! My Mum would say “ hurry up and don’t touch the hedge or old ‘McDougal’’ will get his gun and shoot us from his bedroom window”……please tell me there was a house and garden like this, or is it a figment of my imagination. I also remember a wonderful street party on V E day, 1945, with red, white and blue crepe paper everywhere! I love your site and all the history of Hertfordshire you provide. Thank you. Denise Ray née Scott Ed I think you are referring to MacDonald’s Nursery at 29 Station Road – – but we had not heard that you might have been in danger from a shot-gun!
It is nice to see the school and read about it. I now noticed that the Sisters were of the Dominican order. I don’t know if anyone can help me, but I’m looking for some information of a teaching sister. Her name was Marie Scholastica Irma De Clercq. She probably would have had another name as sister, perhaps Sister Mary…. She was born in Ghent, Belgium on January 7 1897, daughter of Leo De Clercq and Maria Meerschaert. According to the 1939 Register, she was a teacher in Harpenden. She would then have been 42 years old. I also found her death record, she died in 1984 in Stafford, Staffordshire. She came from a very religious family. Hope to find some more information, any , if possible. Thank you Ed: Maureen, who lives in Gent, tells us that Maria De Clercq was her grandfather’s cousin. Maureen’s father who was in the RAF met her mother in Gent (her home city) after the liberation of that city.
Reading your memories of the Lawrence family reminded me that I used to work for the two brothers David and Lawrence until I was about 20 years of age back in the sixties to the 70s. I thoroughly enjoyed it – working with a wonderful old oven and then I did a bakery round around Brickett Wood in the van.
I was placed at Field House together with my brother circa 1960-1966. Attended Manland Secondary School
Hello – I was at the home in the 50’s left in 1955 when I was 16 – lived in Fernes House next door to Barlow house. I remember Sister Cora Rhodes very well. My maiden was Brenda Poynton and my Sister Pat was also at the home not in the same house. I would love to make any contact with maiden names – Sheila Cosgrove, Ann Quinn went to the Grammar School in St Albans. Also would love to make any contact or info with maiden names Hilary or Heather Baxter. I went to Highfields School and the cookery teacher took me under her wing.
I remember Mr Shutt very well and I used to deliver the post on my bike down Ambrose Lane. We used to sing a song called ‘There is a misery down Ambrose Lane’.
Would love to hear from anyone about this time I live in London. Brenda Adams – my maiden name was Poynton
Eric Meadows was my Uncle. As a child, my brothers and sister spent many a summer holidays at 8 Orchard Avenue in Harpenden, where Eric and my Aunt, Jane, or Muriel (Mibs), lived from the 1970s onwards. I have fond memories of playing in Rothamstead Park, posing for family photographs in their sitting room and garden, or going for walks with Eric (rather more route march than leisurely stroll).
I helped care for Eric during the last few months of his life, and had the responsibility with my cousin, Helen, of collating his archive of photographs and slides, most of which went to the Bedfordshire Library’s County archive. I still possess a large number of Eric’s black and white prints of the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire countryside and copies of all his books.
Thank you Rosemary for the information about the history of Ardgower (or Ardgour), which was very interesting. Was it recorded in Kelly’s as a boarding house in 1931, and if so, do you know if either Jonathan Hardy or his wife Dorothy were still living there?
Ed: The Electoral Registers for 1928/1929 for 70 Station Road include: HARDY – Dorothy, Mary Hannah, Jonathan (in that order so was this Jonathan a son not the husband?*) But there was no entry for 1930 and in 1931 Tom and Millicent REES had been there before moving to Leicester. There were no electors there in 1932. In 1933 there is just one name, Jackson, so maybe this was no longer a boarding house.
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