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On 26 March 2022 The Harpenden Trust celebrated the end of the Covid19 Vaccination programme in Harpenden Public Halls which served many Harpenden residents with vaccinations and boosters throughout the Pandemic. Photos of the thank-you event, and of the bench on Harpenden Common outside the Public Halls, have been added to the page above
Excellent article. A few updates include: Frederick Thurston married Eliza Mary Ann Smith in 1880. Her sister Maria Jane Smith married William James Tutt. Their son, William G J Tutt was recorded in the Thurston household in 1891 as nephew and apprentice photographer. He set up a business in Tottenham but then emigrated and was a photographer in Boonah Australia.
I remember a Mario who went to Roundwood and his friend (Amos?). I also remember a boy called Gino/ Geno Rappernet .. not sure of the spelling. Would love to know what happened to Gino. He was my first boyfriend. We were both 12. He used to run away a lot. Mario and Amos tormented me on the way to school. I was at the Oval sometime between 1980-1983.
My question refers to Bennetts but from another page. It was mentioned that John Bennet Lawes Snr ((1762-1822) built substantial stables for the Prince Regent, it also mentioned, in passing, that he married a Mrs Knox of Harpenden. Who was Mrs Knox of Harpenden, when did they marry (if that is true) and any other details about her/them? Was this his 1st wife before he married Marianne Sherman in Aug 1812?
Ed: John Bennet Lawes did indeed marry ‘Mrs Knox’, nee Marianne Sherman, the very young widow of the Rev John Knox who died within months of their marriage in 1811. They lived at Bowers House – . The family bible Marianne brought to her second marriage is preserved in the Harpenden Museum archives, along with dance and other music manuscripts from her parents’ collections.
My first job was at the Batford forge for the Ward family. I knew Mr Barnes when I started. Memories not all good but interesting. I have lived in France since 1994. Ed: Richard, the email address attached to your comment bounces – out of date? We would like more information about your time in Harpenden and at the forge if you would care to share it with us. contact us
Today my sister was given a photograph taken by Eric Meadows in 1955. It is of her as a 4 year old child with our father and a neighbour. It is called The Ferrymen and was taken on the pier in Applecross in NW Highlands. The photograph is weather damaged as it was found outside in the bracken in a nearby village. Someone was clearing out Duncan’s barn and did not realise that such photographs are part of our Applecross community’s history. Ed. Eric Meadows enjoyed holidays in the Highlands and we are delighted that this is now celebrated on Applecross Heritage Centre Facebook page. It is possible that there could be more of Eric’s Scottish photos in the Bedfordshire Archives, where his notebooks and photographic equipment and many photos were deposited.
I too was born in 1953, as was my sister. We lived just up the road from Harpenden East Station at 81 “Stacy” (Station – ed) Rd. When the line was still running, we used to travel in the guards van to Welwyn Department Stores, as our double pram, wouldn’t fit in a carriage (so I was informed)
My friend Roger (who lived almost opposite) & I would spend much time playing around the station and fields nearby. His mother would have all sorts delivered from the Station. I don’t recall that much, but after we moved to another part of Harpenden in ’59 we no longer used that station.
In the 70s, I wrote to BR to ask if the line could be reinstated, however they informed me that parts of it were to be developed for housing
This old line has always been of interest to me (as was the “Nickey Line”) which ran close to our second house in Moreton End Lane
I have also spent time exploring the rest of the old line.
Books of interest on the subject include a couple by Sue & Geoff Woodward
Well, well, I’ve just found this page. I was there 66 – 71 and I’m surprised to read, on this site, that they had only just moved to Sandridge. Exactly as I left, the school was sold and an American school called Concord moved in. I think it must have been 1970? I was very surprised to see Jorge Vidal’s comment about the French/drama teacher in 1968. I was groomed and molested by Mr Kenyan during the two years he was there – it must be the same teacher. I would love to hear from people like Dennis Bray, Chris Blowers and in particular Danny Danskin – he was a great friend and inspiration to me, he seemed to be a genius tackling on the rugby pitch and in writing essays. I have photos somewhere of us playing the Scarlet Pimpernel and Lady Blakeney, and in several plays all organised by Mr Kenyan, a very creative French teacher. I had quite a few scars on my bottom courtesy of Mr Jack Evington; Mr Harris taught me to spell by scaring me to death, and he used to entertain us by balancing a cricket ball on his head. When the school closed down he moved back to his mother’s house in Lyndhurst, New Forest, and we exchanged a few letters. I regret not visiting him there before he died. I would love to hear from people like Dennis Bray, Chris Blowers and in particular Danny Danskin – he was a great friend and inspiration to me, he seemed to be a genius tackling on the rugby pitch and in writing essays. I have photos somewhere of us playing the Scarlet Pimpernel and Lady Blakeney, and in several plays all organised by Mr Kenyan, a very creative French teacher. So wonderful to find this site!! ed: If anyone would like to contact Nicholas contact us and we will pass your email address on to him.
Are the contributors aware of speculation that Kinsbourne is possibly the basis for the fictional Longbourn of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, with Harpenden being the fictional town of Meryton? Here’s the link to what seems like a genuine, well-researched piece – https://www.jasna.org/persuasions/printed/number27/smith.pdf.
Ed – Yes, we were aware of Ken Smith’s paper, with its interesting suggestions, though not all fit with houses at the sites mentioned (eg Limbrick Hall was not so-named until the 1870s, having previously just been a farm, like Bamville). But there are other interpretations, in particular from John Wassell, our Newsletter Editor : “Some years ago I saw Ken Smith’s paper and wondered if Jane Austen got her mileages from a map of Hertfordshire. I thought that the Dury & Andrews map of Hertfordshire, first published in 1766, would have been available to her. This shows milestones with mileages on the various turnpike roads in the County. The London road to St Albans divides there and roads go to Luton (through Harpenden) and to Dunstable (Watling Street). The 24 mile marker on Watling Street is close to Redbournbury and the 24 mile marker on the Luton Road through Harpenden is just north of Ayres End Lane, which leads to ‘Aiery End’ according to the map. This location is a couple of miles south of the then village of Harpenden. Some of these markers still exist in the form of 19th century cast iron markers (listed grade2 monuments!). The more likely candidate is the Watling Street marker – perhaps Redbournbury = Longbourne (with Beaumont Hall as Lucas Lodge?) I suspect that Jane’s names are imaginary even if based upon real places in this part of Hertfordshire. The markers have been moved northward since then due to road improvements – for example the Luton Road 24 mile marker now sits opposite Beesonend Lane, a few hundred yards north of it’s location in JA’s time. JW”
There are numerous other theories as to the location of Longbourne, Meryton etc online.
My Father Ray Clark worked for Mr Clay in the 1950s. In addition to working as a maintenance electrician at his works in Luton Mr Clay also asked Ray to act as a driver for him when he went up to town for business meetings. He was unable to drive himself at that time due to illness. Ray drove Mr Clay’s Daimler. He also occasionally drove the car for his wife when she met her friends in London. Ray remembered visiting his house in Harpenden, called ‘Hardford’ and he remembered the gardener ‘Wilmot’.
Very interesting. I live in a modernist house built 1939; unfortunately, when we eventually sell, the house will probably be completely rebuilt beyond recognition as has happened with most of the houses in the street. This article has inspired me to study the other houses in my area; thank you.
We have just sat with our morning cuppa doing this, really enjoyed it, thank you…..think we got all the correct answers.!!
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.
I’m Nick Butterworth. I was an apprentice at the NCH Printing School for 3 years from 1962 until the summer of 1965. I wasn’t from the Home, myself, but through friends of my family, I was offered an opportunity to work as a typographic designer at the Printing School. I also gained experience as a compositor and learnt a great deal about the process of printing as it was at that time. I left Harpenden to work as a graphic designer in London in 1965 and, after some changes of employment, launched into a freelance design career in 1968. I was 22 at the time. When my children came along, 10 years later, I switched emphasis to concentrate on illustration and subsequently, writing for children’s books. I’m still doing this, more than 40 years later! I have strong and good memories of my time in Harpenden. I can remember quite a few names of boys who were there at the same time as me. Here are some that just might ring a bell somewhere: Bill Read; Mick Fulstow; Martin Hatton; Tony White; Roger Grout; Dick Dodds; Paddy Lacey; Jock Sneddon; John Newell; Alan Clark; Alan Tisbury; Rodney Hartshorn……and yes, I do remember you, Lenny Smith!
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?
Further information about the last years of Fallows Green House (no.30 Sun Lane) have come to light – as the retirement party for Frank and Anne Dowson was held there when they closed Harpenden Riding School in 1963. Their hosts were Ian and Edith Mills, who had had lived there since the late 1950s. Ian ran Busby’s pharmacy, but died at the early age of 51 in 1964, when Edith sold the house. An application for outline planning permission for two blocks of maisonnettes had already been rejected in 1961, so she would have known she was the last resident.
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.
Jeremy I was also in the 10th in the 70’s Mr Hornet Cub Master; Mr Grimwade Scout Master. Also good times
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 central 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?
When I remember 33 it was as the original with no extension, however I don’t remember the vertical tiles at the left and right hand ends as the photo shows. The walls of the house were all white, there was a sun lounge at rear, the garden was also beautiful typical Engish with roses and an amazing border of dahlias. I think my grandpa moved out during the early 70s and bought a new bugalow in Amenbury Lane’
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.
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