River Bulbourne Berkhamsted
The Bulbourne flows south eastwards
The central area of this old Hertfordshire town which lies along the Bulborne, and latterly the Grand Union Canal. There were canal haulage and canal based industries here - and other industries, most notably the sheep dip works. There are however all the things you would expect in a proper town - the town hall, the old school, a parish church - and all the shops, cinemas, religious buildings, and much else.
Post to the north Berkhamsted
Post to the east Bank Mill
The town is in a deep valley on the River Bulbourne and transversed by the Grand Junction Canal. It was a Royal Borough and in 1156 had trading privileges throughout the area which was then controlled by the Crown. Edward II gave the town to Piers Gaveston but internally it was controlled by a Portmoot.
This narrow street is lined by 19th houses mostly in groups of three or four developed on what had been the Pilkington Estate.
Bridge Court – sheltered accommodation on the site of part of Castle Wharf.
Castle Wharf. The wharf dated from the opening of the Grand Union Canal here when it was set up by a boat builder who also traded in salt and coal. The wharf was later used by a timber merchant and part of it became a joinery works. There was a boat shed on the site used by the Bridgewater Boat Hire business, with internal rails and other features.
Fire and ambulance station.
The field, like other similar areas, probably derives its name from use as an archery practice area and was once known as formerly known as the Buttericks or the Buttfield. It was given to the town by Mrs Lionel Lucas in 1886. It was levelled as a sports field in the 1930s and some is in use as allotments.
The section of the Grand Union Canal was built in 1798. The impact on Berkhamsted and this stretch became known as 'the Port of Berkhamsted'.
Berkhamsted Top Lock. Also called Ravens Lane lock. The lock still has its traditional wooden gates to both ends of the chamber, which is brick lined below stone copings.
Ravens Lane Bridge
Lock Keepers Cottage. This is a mid-19th house, now private.
Berkhamsted Bottom Lock. Also called Rising Sun lock
George Street Footbridge
Enters the town down a very steep hill
Totem Pole. The pole was carved by a member of the Kwakiutl tribe as a memento of the years of trading between this wharf and Canada. It marks the site of a boat builders' yard which in 1910 became a timer yard run by William Key and Son timber merchants and in 1963 taken over by J Alsford Ltd, timber merchants from Leyton
Castle Wharf. The Warehouse was once stabling and warehousing for canal traders. The first boat yard here was for Peacock and Willetts in 1799 who built the boat 'Berkhamsted Castle' in 1801. The boatyard was subsequently run by Costins, followed by Keys and later by Bridgewater Boats.
1-4 two 18th houses and shops. Re-fronted in the 19th
5-8 four 19th houses with an arched carriageway. There is also a 19th shop window
9 old shop now residential 19th and a shop window remains,
11 18th house.
12 - 12a two 19th shops and a house.
15 -16 two 19th houses.
Berkhamsted School Old Building. This is a 16th Grammar School. Founded by John Incent in 1523 and built in 1544 of red stone. It was reconstructed in 1841 in a new start after neglect. Graham Greene's father was headmaster here and he was a pupil. The present school was formed in 1997 by the amalgamation of the original Berkhamsted School, with Berkhamsted School for Girls, and Berkhamsted Preparatory School. This is the Castle Street Campus which was the original boys’ school. The school has seen much expansion and new facilities in recent years.
Berkhamsted School Chapel. Built 1894-5 by Charles Henry Rew in Tudor style. Steps inside said to be inspired by Santa Maria de Miracoli at Venice.
Berkhamsted School lych-gate. Black and white timber with the date of the founding of the school on the tablet at the top
Deans Hall. 20th hall.
Castle Pub. This overlooked the canal and is now a house
57 The Boote. This pub has the date 1605 on front. It has a stucco ground floor and a timber frame
Road bridge over the canal. Built in 1800 this is probably now the oldest unaltered canal bridge in the area.
Bridge over the railway - in 1837 access to the castle was cut off by the railway. The road was originally named as the principal access to the castle from the town.
Weighbridge by the canal
William Fiske house. Built on the site of St. George’s/St Andrew’s church. In the late 18th a barn here was used as a church and was rebuilt as the Countess of Huntingdon’s Chapel. In 1834 this was replaced by an Independent Chapel and that was itself replaced in 1867. These were congregational chapels but by the late 1970s costs were rising and part of the land was sold to a housing association and another new building built. In 1993 a joint pastorate was formed with St. George’s United Reform Church in Hemel Hempstead and the church was renamed St. Andrew’s. The final service was held in here in 2003.
5 this housed first telephone exchange in Berkhamsted, in 1898
19 Brownlow Arms. Closed and now housing
United Reformed Church this was originally the Congregational Chapel, on land to the rear of William Fiske House. The burial ground remains and an associated building is used as a gym
Castle Mews. A fishpond was adjacent
Malthouse. Used by the 1st Berkhamsted Scouts since 1909. It was the No.2 single storey malting which belonged to the Foster family who had pubs and other businesses in the town in the late 19th. It has been used by the scouts following Henry Foster’s death. The name of Fosters could be seen on the side of the building until recently.
12a Infants School
Masons Yard –development on a small ex-industrial site
This was once called Grubs Lane and also Elvynway
Swan Brewery. This was behind the Swan Inn and thus given with a High Street address. A small pub based brewery taken over by George and Charles Foster in the late 19th.
Printing Works 1972
St Johns. Built in 1890 this was one of the boarding houses of Berkhamsted School. It is now a girls' boarding house for the Berkhamsted Collegiate. Here, on the 2nd October 1904, Graham was born when his father, was the Housemaster and Second Master of the School.
Incents Boarding House for Berkhamsted School. The House was named after John Incent, the School's founder
This was previously Back Lane and part of a market area to the west of the church and along the High Street. There are a number of small ex-industrial and commercial buildings converted to housing – Candlemakers Cottage and so on.
St Peter. Biggest church in the county. It was probably built around 1222 possibly on the site of an earlier church. The church has tombs, brasses and memorials to people who associated with the castle as well as the town. The church was restored in the 19th by Jeffry Wyattville, and later in 1870-71 by William Butterfield. There are fragments of a pre conquest arch and a 15th porch once used as chapel. The tower has bells re-cast in the Whitechapel Foundry at between 1838 and 1946. The clock is by Thwaites & Read of Clerkenwell and dates from 1838.
Churchyard. The churchyard was closed in the 19th. It is enclosed between the ancient highway of Akeman Street and Castle Street. There are several mature trees – cedar and limes and a yew tree, probably about 350 years old
The Court House. This is a 16th building with a 19th ground floor of red brickwork and knapped flints and a jettied timber 1st floor. The Borough Court or Port Mote was held here. It is where the town's corporation met after the town was granted a charter in 1618. It is used as St Peter's church hall.
Church Gates – modern development
National School – also called Courthouse School. This was in the Court House
Museum Store. This is the base for the Dacorum Heritage Trust in Berkhamsted Old Fire Station and has been there since 1993
Berkhamsted Council Depot.
Named for the originator of the Foundling Hospital, which was later based at Ashlyns.
Named after Captain Constable Curtis, who lived in The Hall, a large house in the Hall Park area
This area was developed in the mid-19th.
House called the Elms was adjacent to the road.
Elmhouse School was on the corner
Workshop of Southey who produced motorcycles from 1905 to 1922. Production was small-scale and the company advertised directly to the public.
In the Second World War howitzers, were arranged roughly where this road lies.
1 – 11 terraced cottages behind a wall and gardens built in the 1800s. They are probably the earliest in the street
12 - 20 model-type cottages in red brick. They have a plaque with “B.R.D.” probably indicating the sons of William Dwight
Rising Sun. Canal side pub known locally as The Riser. The pub was built before 1877 and is a typical alehouse of the 1800s with accommodation for the publican's family upstairs. It has a two-storey brick front with bays that overlook the lock
Mission – a converted barn was leased and the first service held on Good Friday 1881.
Cedars Flats – site of the iron church built on land donated given by Earl Brownlow, This was built in 1886 and was used until 1909 and then as the church hall until 1983. It was then sold to fund a new hall alongside the church. In the 19th there was also a smithy on this site.
Playground on the site of a former coal yard. The wall surrounding it is the original from the yard.
107 Fosters Garage. Has kept one of the original carriage arches
152 plaque about Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
18 The Old Post Office with a post box in the front garden
Canal bridge – this was the earliest in the area to cross the canal and was there before 1811. It has since been re-built
The Boat. Partly rebuilt canal side pub, this is a Fullers House
Greene Field Road
The road was built in the 1920s to access the water works.
Pump house and engine house. The Great Berkhamsted Waterworks Company served the town from 1864.
Waterworks Bungalow. 1930s house in its own grounds.
Green Lane formerly ran eastwards from Chesham Road. It has been taken up by Priory Gardens/Cloister Garth built in the 1970s
Main Street on line of Roman Akeman Street. Exceptionally wide, stretches for about a mile along the main Watford-Aylesbury Road. Many of the buildings occupy medieval burgage plots. In the 1760s the High Street became a turnpike road under the control of The Sparrows Herne Turnpike Trust.
Turnpike post. This was recorded in 1996 but its present location is not known.
2 high up on the side wall is a bust
Berkhamsted Hall. The hall was at the bottom of Swingate Lane and stood within a landscaped park. It was owned by one of the Greene family. The estate was broken up after the Second World War.
10 The Bull Public House. 17th building with a plaster covered ground floor,
31 The Black Horse pub. Early 19th. This is now the Curry Garden
Sill’s Timber Yard and Saw Mill. On the site of what is now Robertson Road housing
Pocock’s smithy in this area late 19th
51 17th or earlier stuccoed house
53 The Queens Arms with exposed timber frame. This pub is closed and the building is now housing and offices.
71 The Poplars. With a blue plaque about the birthplace of Michael Horden the actor
76-78 old house with a ground floor shop front built 1863, with later alterations. Plaque with the date and initials ‘JR’.
82-86 17th or earlier building in whitewashed brick with 19th shop fronts
83 The Goat Pub
97 Rex Cinema with Gatsby Pub. This was built on the site of Egerton House. It was designed by David Nye for the Shipman and King circuit and opened in 1938. It has a marine motif in the auditorium. The projection booth was cantilevered out above a side road. It was renamed the Studio Cinema in 1973 when it was adapted for bingo. Films were shown at the start of the week in two small cinemas Rex 1 & 2 with bingo downstairs. It closed in 1988 and for sixteen years was vandalised. Eventually the old car park and flats were sold for housing development, and it was reopened as a cinema in 2004.
97-101 Egerton House. This was an Elizabethan house demolished in 1937. It had itself been built on the site of medieval St.Clement’s Hospital. It had gardens and orchards on the hillside southwards and may have a Dower House for the Ashridge estate. In the late 19th it was the home of the Llewellyn Davies family who were friends of J.M.Barrie and this is recorded on a plaque in the cinema.
Baptist Church. Church and Sunday School built in 1864 in brick. The Church dates from at least 1640 and was then associated with the Chesham Baptists. In 1809 the Berkhamsted Baptist Church joined the recently established New Connexion of General Baptists and became part of the Hertfordshire Union. Until 1722 meetings were held in the private properties of members but then a meeting house was built in Water Lane and in 1864 it was demolished and the chapel built in the High Street.
Civic Centre. Built in 1938
103-109 Early 19th yellow brick town houses. Central arched passageway.
107 plaque as birthplace of Clementine Churchill nee Hoosier
108 The Dower House. Early 19th house.
Pilkington Manor flats. This is on the site of Pilkingtons, a large 18th house, was demolished and replaced by flats with shops to their ground floors – since replaced by these flats.
113 The Red House. 18th house in red brick with adjoining 19th century wing, now called the White House.
117 Early 19th house in yellow brick
119 late 18th stucco fronted house. Steps with wrought iron railings up to the door
Chiltern House. Four-storey glass office building 1978.
120 late 18th building
121 Late 18th house of colour washed brick.
125 16th house, including parts of a medieval open hall refaced in brick in the 19th. Timber frame behind painted brickwork. The back yard accessed through a wide arch
129 Dean Incent’s House. This is 16th timber framed with plaster infilling. The first owner was John Incent, Dean of Saint Paul's who founded Berkhamsted Grammar School and died 1645. Inside are remains of wall paintings.
Telephone box outside 129, Type K6. Designed 1935 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
130 -132 18th houses in plum and red brick. Turned into 2 shops in the 19th. Called Grab All Row- plaque on the building facing the church
War memorial. This memorial from the Great War originally stood close to Water Lane. The names of Second World War dead were added, and in the 1950s the monument was moved to its present position. It bears the inscription TO OUR GLORIOUS DEAD and has eight panels of names from 1914-18 and four panels from 1939-45.
137 early 18th house.
139 the front range of the former Swan public house, is thought to have been an open timber hall dating to the 14th later extended to the west and east
141 -143 18th front to an earlier building with modern shop windows.
Old Market House burnt down in 1854. It had an open ground floor and was opposite Prince Edward Street. The freehold was owned by the Duchy of Cornwall leased to Earl Brownlow. When the building was nirmt out The Duchy agreed to release the Earl from his obligation to rebuild it if her gave at least £500 towards the new Market House.
145 The Crown Public House. 16th building with stucco and with exposed magpie timber frame.
147 The King's Arms Public House. 17th or early 18th building with chequered brickwork. It had stabling for up to forty horses.
160 Tesco Metro. On the site of the Court Cinema which closed in 1960 and was converted into a Tesco Store which burned down in 1969. The cinema was opened before 1930 when it was acquired by the Shipman & King cinema circuit
163 – 165 17th or earlier buildings with modern ground floor shop windows
163 site of malting
170 White Hart pub. Long since gone.
173 late 13th, altered in the 17th, 19th and 21st. It is timber framed on a brick plinth and was originally a crown-post roof structure with two bays end-on to street, jettied with a medieval shop front with timbers dated to 1277-1297. It now has 19th display windows and recessed entrance in the centre. Inside is a brick staircase to a cellar which could be a medieval undercroft. It is thought it was built as a shop or workshop. It is also thought to have been a service wing to a former aisled hall. It is thought to be the oldest, jettied, urban building in the country.
182 British Legion Club. This lies behind the shops and is a 19th building.
Public baths. In the 1870s public baths lay between the waterworks and the White Hart pub.
187 Police Station. Built 1972
189 Barclays Bank. Thus was once called Sydney House. It is early 18th in Red and blue grey chequered brickwork
196 The Old Town Hall. Built 1859 in Gothic style brick with diamond patterns by Edward Buckton Lamb. It is on the site of a previous stable and carrier. There is a central entrance with large double and a clock on a decorative iron bracket projecting. It was built in 1859 by a charitable trust. In the 1970s it became derelict and had been closed because it failed fire regulations. Eventually a new Trust was established in 1979 and it was restored. Originally it was known as the Market House and Town Hall. The Market House was in the front of the building and was used for trading and storage. In 1983 the Trust converted the ground floor into a shopping arcade called Lambs' Shops and it was opened by Bernard Miles in 1983. It is now a restaurant. Berkhamsted Mechanics' Institute founded in 1845 met on the first floor. They also used the ground floor of the Sessions Hall with a Card Room and the Billiard Room. The Sessions Hall was previously used as a court room. The garden was created in 1890. The great hall is now the Welcombe Hall following a donation from the Welcombe Foundation.
This was once called Prospect Street
Highfield House was at the top and replaced with local authority housing in the 1930s
Kings Road Church. This was the Plymouth Brethren’s Hope Hall from 1870
Little Bridge Street
Leading to an inter-war pedestrian concrete bridge over the canal which gives the reason for the road name
Toll House once stood at the east end of the High Street, near Bank Mill, to collect payment for using the road
The Hall Walk. Shops with a plaque which says “1934 EG”. That is Edward Greene at that time living in The Hall.
Londrina Terrace, the canal footbridge and The Hall Walk were built on land belonging to The Hall belonging to Edward Greene.
Lower Kings Road
The road was built in 1885 by public subscription.
Waitrose – this was built on the site of the Bulbourne factory which made clothing
Emery Mill marked pre-1930s which later was subsumed into the sheep dip works.
School buildings. On either side of the road are large buildings belonging to Berkhamsted School. These include the gym, the music school and some staff cottages.
Berkeley Court. Housing covering an old burial ground.19th maps show a chapel on the corner of the road alongside the burial ground
Adelbert House. This is thought to be the gas works manager’s house’
A dock structure seems to be shown on 19th maps on the north side of the Bulborne on the west side of the road.
Upper Mill. This was on the east side of the Street with a sluice by the bridge over the river. It was a comprised a four-bay house made of timber and tiled. The site was re-developed in the 1920s by Berkhamsted School.
The Moor Recreation Ground
Prince Edward Street
Victoria Church of England First School. The school has been on this site since 1897 and began as part of the foundation of Thomas Bourne in the 18th.
Cooper Sheep Dip Works. In 1843, William Cooper moved here Shropshire and became a vet. He began to manufacture and sell Cooper's Sheep Dipping Powder. In 1852 he took over a mill Ravens Lane to manufacture in bulk. By 1900, Coopers had developed successful companies in major stock-raising countries around the world and introduced new dips under Cooper’s son. In 1917 The Cooper Technical Bureau was formed, and became a world centre on the sheep and cattle dips. It moved to Berkhamsted in 1940. In 1925 following a merger it became part of Cooper McDougall & Robertson Ltd. They continued to introduce many, now well known, insecticides including the first organophosphorus compound for cattle tick. In 1959 they were acquired by the Wellcome Foundation. During the 1950s and 1960s, Coopers became the first firm in Britain to produce aerosols on a large scale. They also made domestic household goods - cleaners, toilet rolls and hair care products. In 1969 the Berkhamsted works closed and in 1984 Cooper's Animal Health Ltd, was established and along with Wellcome joined ICI. In 1989 it was sold to Pitman-Moore.
Cemetery. Created during the 1860s, on land belonging to Egerton House. It was extended in the 19th
The Old Rectory. This is thought to date to 1840 and is on land that may have once belonged to Egerton House. William Cowper, the poet and hymn writer was born in 1731 in the Rectory which stood on the same site as the present one - 150 metres up the lane.
Housing replacing Holliday Street and Till’s Timber Yard as well as Cooper’s Lower Works. In 1925 Cooper’s has merged with McDougall and Roberts Ltd, to become Cooper, McDougall and Robertson and these are used as road names in the housing development.
A burial ground lies to the east of the road in the school grounds.
Three Close Lane
In the Second World War men of the Royal Artillery were first housed in three large huts on ground between Beech Drive and Three Close Lane. They were later replaced by Then the Dorsetshire Regiment
Velvet Lawn Recreation Ground
Baptist Chapel. In 1722 a site here was purchased and a meeting house built which stayed here in use until 1864 when it was demolished.
Gas Works. This was the site of the original gas works. This was opened following the setting up of Gas Company in 1849 following a public subscription. In 1906 the gas works moved to Billet Lane although some gas holders remained.
Locke and Smith Brewery. Dating from around 1811 they had 40 tied houses in the area and closed in 1914 when they were taken over by Beskins. They also had a maltings here. The buildings were later used as military stables
Archaeology Data Service. Web site
Berkhamsted Town Council. Web site
British Listed Buildings. Web site
Canalplan. Web site
Cinema Treasures. Web site
Dacorum Council. Web site
Dacorum Heritage Trust. Web site
Graces Guide. Web site
Hertfordshire Baptist. Web site
Hertfordshire County Council. Web site
Our Dacorum. Web site
Rising Sun. Web site
St.Peter's Church. Web site
Sunnyside Church. Web site
Town Hall. Web site.
Wellcome Library. Web site.
Whitelaw. Hidden Hertfordshire