The Ver flows south eastwards
Post to the south Sopwell
Post to the west St. Albans
Play School Nursery. This is in the buildings
of Alma Road School. There is a plaque on the wall “St Albans School Board.
Public Elementary School”. The Alma Road girls and infants school was built in
1882, and enlarged 1890. The school closed in the early 1960s and was later
used as an administration centre for the county youth service.
This tower block dates from the 1960’s and built on what was then site of a
timber yard. It had previously been the site of the Alpha film studio
14 Alpha Cinematograph Works and Alpha
Trading Co. This was set up in 1908 by Arthur Melbourne- Cooper one of the key figures in
the early history of cinema, early animation, film and newsreel in Britain. He
had set up a cinema in London Road and then this premises where the grounds of
more than two acres and various ancillary buildings were used for his film
making. There is a plaque about him at Telford Court.
Eversheds Print works. Eversheds, which had
been bombed out of their site at Bow, took over Dangerfield’s works. They built
an extension to the factory from the wreckage of their Bow site and later built
a larger modern factory. They left in the late 1990s.
These houses date
from the 1860’s, and have been noted for their bricks. Some of these are Luton
Greys which is a red brick coming from brickfields in south Bedfordshire. There
are also local orange and red bricks, made in the 1880’s at works on Bernard’s
Watercress Wildlife Association. The site was one of
several small commercial watercress beds locally on the fast flowing chalk
streams. Watercress was picked at dawn and taken on trolleys to the station to
be in London restaurant tables for lunch. It closed in 1972. The Association
took it over via the local council and it was opened by David Bellamy in 1992.
Sopwell Nunnery. The roofless ruins of a
very large 16th mansion, built among the remains of a previous
Nunnery. This is all that remains of the Tudor mansion built around 1560 by Sir
Richard Lee, a soldier and engineer, who was given the land by Henry VIII in
1540. He built on top of a medieval nunnery, which dated back to 1140. It had
been founded by the then abbot of St. Albans, Geoffrey de Gorham apparently
on the site of a hermitage, for nuns attached to the abbey. His new mansion followed the monastic plan, using the church for the hall
and the cloisters became the courtyard. He
died in 1575. The fabric of
the house was used by Grimstons of Gorhambury to use in their own house. The ruins are covered in ivy and various other foundations and parts of buildings, much
overgrown, lie around. A large building to the west was modernised then
demolished, but mediaeval foundations are standing.
Secret tunnel said to run from here to St
Alban's Abbey. It was probably just a drain.
Sopwell Mill Farm. Now private housing. this was Sopwell Mill which is probably one of the three St Albans mills referred to in the
Domesday Book. There was a mill here at the time of the Peasants’
Revolt. It was still grinding corn until the Second World War, and had been a
paper mill in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Victoria Square. This is the site of St
Albans Gaol which closed in 1924. Prison buildings were demolished and the suite
became a council depot. The prison was built in 1867. It was built to comply
with the Separate System, where prisoners are confined to their cells and
isolated from one another. Here prisoners were confined to their cells apart
from chapel, exercise and the treadmill. The gaol also implemented a 'Silent
System' where prisoners were not allowed to talk to anyone except the gaolers.
The gaol also had housing for the governor and officers plus an infirmary,
kitchens and stores. There were 85 cells for men and 14 for women. Each cell
had a hammock and some books as well as a toilet. The treadmill provided the
gaol with water but was banned in1902. There were four executions at the gaol.
Prison Governor’s residence and gatehouse –
this is now St Albans register office.
Drinking fountain. In 1874, in
place of the town pump, a fountain was erected. It was designed by George
Gilbert-Scott and is attractive in both design and material. It was donated by
Mrs Worley, of Sopwell House. By the 1920s traffic made the location
unsuitable, it was rescued from demolition by Alfred Barnes who took it to his
garden and it later became a feature in a restaurant. The parts were eventually
reunited and it
is now on a reproduction plinth and steps and restored as a feature
Corporation Depot, this originally replaced
site of St.Albans Gaol
17-35 these were 19th
houses now replaced by offices
25 The Ziggurat.
This was formerly Schweppes offices, a multi storey block built in the 1960s
and re-clad in the 1990s with reflective glass.
site was originally owned by L. Rose & Co. Limited which dated from 1865 as
a lime juice importer. They made Rose’s Lime Juice – the world's first
concentrated food drink – and later Lime Marmalade. Because of bombing in the
Second World War the company moved to St Albans at a site adjacent to the A6
and the railway. They also bottled Dubonnet wine here, which arrived from
France in railway tankers. In 1957 they became part of Schweppes and in 1969
Cadbury-Schweppes. They then became Premier Foods
45 red brick office
building, on a site once used by the Priory Press.
Edwin Lee, Wholesale and Export Boot and
Shoe Manufacturers. The firm opened here before the 1890s and remained on site until 1953. Employees lost in the Great War are
commemorated in a memorial plaque retained on the replacement building.
Rose Brush Factory.
GR pillar box
Lamp column –
pre- Second World War style
Dangerfields Print Works. Frederick
Dangerfield built his factory in Inkerman Road, St Albans, in 1896. It was then
the most modern lithographic plant in England and one of the first factories
which used the northern lights system of glazed north-facing sloped skylights.
Dangerfields printed many of the famous large colour posters for London Transport.
Dangerfield’s was bought by Eversheds in 1940. Dangerfields' buildings stood on
Eversheds site pending redevelopment
The Old Hat Factory.
The building dates from the 1820s, and thus predates the Battle of Inkerman. It was later used as Council offices and
known as Kyngston House and is now converted to housing.
7 Lattimore Hall.
Brethren Church. This timber clad building was burnt down in the 1990’s and
replaced by a red brick building later converted to flats.
This is now the main route into the city centre from the east from the
London Colney and the M25. It was previously part of the A6 on the road cut by
Thomas Telford in 1794. It goes to the city centre on a straight course apart
from a slight kink where it crosses the medieval borough boundary at
65 Office block
on the site of the Crystal Palace Pub, demolished in the 1980s
Farmer's Boy. Cottage-style pub, which
became the site of the Verulam Micro Brewery, which moved here from Harpenden
in 1996. All the beers are brewed on site, using a traditional malting method.
152 garage which
was built as a Catholic church, and includes church windows
154 shop with green
164, a red brick
double fronted building dating from 1911 and built by local architect Mence and
Finn as a workshop and shop.
Flight of steps
linking London Road to Lower Paxton Road, which predate the cinema.
Cinema. This is
the site of the Alpha Picture Palace which opened in 1908, converted from a
1903 social institute hall. It was the idea of Arthur Melbourne- Cooper born
locally in 1874. While still a teenager he became involved with moving
photography and set up the Alpha Cinematograph Company. The cinema had several innovations
including a fire proof projection box and deals with Cadburys for chocolate sales
and publicity stunts. In 1913 he lost control of the company and the cinema went through
several ownership changes and became the Poly Cinema and then the Regent Cinema. In 1927 it burnt down. Martin-Hatfield
Architect Surveyor built a larger cinema for Capitol in Art Deco style on a
wider site with functional elevations with minimal openings. Internal decoration was by Robert Cromie. Because of the sloping
land it was entered at balcony level the stalls being downstairs. It has a Compton 2Manual/6Ranks theatre
organ, a cafe and three dressing rooms. It was enlarged in 1934 and became part
of Oscar Deutsch’s chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd., who re-named it in 1945. In 1973
it was tripled and a fourth screen added in 1988. It closed in 1995. In 2009, it
was bought by James Hannaway, and is to be restored and called ‘Odyssey’.
Northern Pub. The Great Northern is a 19th pub in red brick and half
timbered. The Great Northern Railway had
opened to St Albans in 1865 and the station is along the road to the east.
174 - 176 19th houses by George Smith. They
have flint walls with red brick dressings ‘a neo-Norman monstrosity’.
178 19th building. Possibly by George Smith.
Tollgate – this
was at the junction of London Road and Old London Road. St Albans tollgate
charges were abolished in 1871, and it was removed around 1890.
House. A long narrow building which was originally owned by Vickers Ltd. and which
housed an early 20th experimental station with a large flotation tank. When Vickers decided to build their own testing tank
in 1911, they said it should be within 2 hours’ travel of their London head
office. The Vickers tank survived changes to the site when its fourteen commercial
units, each had underground storage areas within the former tank. The tank was
20 feet wide and hundreds of feet long. An In 1915 they also built the first
private wind tunnel here but moved it later to Weybridge. From December 1918
the test tank was used in developing fuselage profiles for amphibious aircraft,
such as the Vickers Type 54 Viking.
An estate of houses and flats which replaced
the Research Association of British
Flour Millers, Cereals Research Station founded in 1924, closed in the late
Old London Road
Old London Road
was once the main route into the city from the south east but it was replaced
by London Road which was cut in 1794 as part of a major coaching route. There
was a toll gate at the junction with London Road. On its south side is a bank which is believed to date
from the 16th when the old London Road was diverted away from
Old Priory Park. Housing in what was St Peter’s School. The
foundation stone remains on the building. St. Peter's Infant School was in a
large room at the west end and the older children in the rest of the building
which opened in 1851. In 1893 it became a girls' school only but were
recombined in 1931 as St. Peter's Primary School - still in the two original
large rooms. Priory Park School had been built alongside for the older boys,
while older girls went elsewhere. After the Second World War it became a County
Primary and in 1953 took over the Priory Park buildings. The school moved away
to a site in Cottonmill Lane in 1975 and the buildings were converted to
housing, originally intended for law students.
Priory Park School.
Built at the eastern end of St. Peters School in 1901 for boys over 7 years old. They moved to Marlborough School in
1953 and the buildings were then used by St. Peters
Mission Hall. Timber
clad building now out of use. For a while this was used as a woodworking
workshop. Was this a mission room connected to St.Peter's church and used
before St. John’s was built??
St Johns Church.
1929-1955. This was a mission church of St.Peter’s and dated from the
late 19th. It closed in the 1950s. A memorial hall stood behind it.
Old London Road Pre School. This nursery
school is held in local scout premises including the Jim Green memorial hall –
to whom the gate in Old London Road is also dedicated. George Dymoke Green was born in
St Albans in 1903 and was editor of The Scouter and Scoutmaster of the 4th St
Albans Scout Group. He died at the age of 27.
Priory Court. Designed
in 1959 by local architect Keith Roberts on a three legged plan,
on the station site in the 1990s with a conventional suburban layout
The Old Station House. This is the old St.
Albans London Road Station which opened in 1865 on the Hatfield & St.
Albans Railway. This was a sub company of the Great Northern Railway for which
it was initially the terminus station. It was originally called ‘St. Albans’ but in 1950 it was renamed ‘St. Alban’s London Road’. In 1951 it was closed. It is an 'H' plan building, in red
brick and flint. It is believed to be the oldest surviving Great Northern
station south of York. After closure it was let as housing and in the 1990s
converted to offices. An adjoining section of platform was kept.
Alban Way. A section of the former
Great Northern Railway line runs past here as a path/cycle route
The station was roughly on the site of Key
Field where the Duke of York and his army camped in 1455 before the first
battle of the Wars of the Roses
The road consists
of modest terraced houses, some of which were probably built for railway
St. Alban’s Synagogue. The first known
recorded Jewish families in St. Albans were here is in the 1900s and they got
together in private homes. In 1933 that it became formalised. The community
became affiliated to the United Synagogue in 1948 and built the present
building in 1951. It has some special stained glass windows by the Hebrew
scholar, David Hillman. However numbers began to dwindle and from 1960 there
was no minister.
Station Road. The original main line station stood opposite, at the top end of
Ridgmont Road but is now a car park.
21 Church of Latter Day Saints.
station master’s house
33a Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery
St Albans South
signal box. The signal box was built in 1892 replacing an earlier box on the
site. It was prefabricated in Derby as were all Midland Railway Company signal boxes,
and believed to have been extended to house more levers that were never
installed. The construction is in with no foundations - concrete bases were not
used until the 20th. It contains a 1906 Midland Railway tumbler
interlocking lever frame. It has now been restored with a small museum and
St. Albans Iron
Works. This dated from the mid-19th
and appears to have specialised in hydraulic equipment and was run by
F.W.Turner. There are a number of patents held for various devices, by a
Frederick William Turner, who may, or may not, be this man.
House. The former Heath and Heather warehouse building – originally the Vyse
straw hat factory. This was replaced by an office building of similar size and appearance.
On the wall is a Great War memorial plaque for the employees of the Vyse
factory killed in the war.
Verulamium Angling Club. The club dates from
Alban Way. A section of the former Great Northern Railway runs from south
of the road on an embankment north eastwards.
Alban Way. The section of the former Great
Northern Railway runs from the south west to south of the road in a deep
St.Alban and Stephen Roman Catholic Infant
and Nursery School. The school was built in 1934 on the site of an orchard. It
then took children under 14. It was expanded in 1958 and from 1974 it was solely
an infant school. In 1975 a nursery and extended in 2006.
Verulamium Golf Course.
was formed in 1905 and played in ground of Sopwell House, owned by the Earl of
Verulam. This was a nine-hole course with a small clubhouse erected on the site
of today’s 17th tee. It was laid out
again and opened in 1912 when Samuel Ryder was Captain.
built in 1928 for H Punford & Co., who embroidered badges. This is now housing.
Cinema Treasures. Web site
Disused Stations. Web site
County Council. Web site
Transport Museum. Web site
Archives. Web site
and Cherry. Hertfordshire
Marmalade, Wikipedia. Web site
Albans City Council. Web site
Albans Museum. Web site.
Albans Synagogue. Web site
and Stephen Roman Catholic Infant and Nursery School. Web site
School. Web site
Wildlife Association. Web site