River Gade - The Magic Roundabout

River Gade
The Gade flows southwards and is joined by the Grand Union Canal from the west which also leaves it to the east

Post to the north Hemel Hempstead
Post to the west Boxmoor
Post to the south Two Waters

Albion Hill
Primitive Methodist chapel built here in 1861 just off the eastern side of Lower Marlowes but the society seems to have quite collapsed quite quickly. By 1883 the building WAS occupied by the Salvation Army and known as the “Old Glory Shop”. The Salvation Army moved in 1908 and building became Hemel Hempstead’s first cinema, the Electric Theatre in 1909. A new stage at the back was added in 1912 but by 1916 it was no longer licensed. The building was further enlarged and re-opened wharfas the Aero in 1920. This closed in 1925. Then it was used as a printing works and had been demolished by 1968. The Marlowes Shopping Centre now covers its former site somewhere in the vicinity of the unit now occupied by River Island.

Bank Court
Statue.  The discobolus was originally planned to go here but is now in the gardens.  Bank Court was then a small semi circle off Waterhouse Street
9 National Westminster Bank
11 Barclays Bank
Memorial to PC Frank Mason of the Hertfordshire Constabulary
Shot dead when he intervened in an armed robbery while off duty in 1988.
Boxmoor Iron Works. The works was on the site now covered by Bank Court with a large yard between Marlowes and the river. It was founded by James Davis and made agricultural implements. By 1886, the business was known as Davis and Lane and later Davis and Bailey. The foundry was rebuilt around 1870. There was a house for the works manger, blacksmiths, carpentry and a large foundry. After the Second World War the firm was gradually run down and closed with Mr. Bailey's death in 1949. The beam engine was taken by the Science Museum.

Much of the land in the south part of this square is owned and managed by the Boxmoor Trust. This was set up in 1594 when land was purchased to keep it in common ownership. It is run by an elected body of local people.

Boxmoor Wharf.
Owned by the Boxmoor Trust in the north bank of the Grand Union Canal.  Sale of land to the canal company financed the trust to build Boxmoor Wharf.  Boxmoor Wharf. Income from  the wharf’s went to towards poor relief. The wharf then became the main coal wharf serving the town. There were once two basins on the north side of the canal here. They had been infilled by the 1960s.
Balderson’s Wharf – Henry Balderson was a coal and coke merchant 1900s. He was Mayor of the Borough of Hemel Hempstead in 1900. He also used the wharf to import wines and spirits.
Roses. There had been a pool here filled in when the wharf was leased to Rose's who shipped raw lime juice from London direct to the wharf and the smell was well known locally, The barrels had to be sprayed with water to prevent drying out. This closed in 1981.
Lavers Timber Yard. This stood on the more easterly of the basins and adjacent to Lawn Lane. Lavers began in business 1868 in London with a tea shop then rented a yard at Fishery Wharf in this area and then moved to this site. They imported timber which was brought here by barge on the canal. A saw mill replaced by modern machinery, but they still used steam even in 1914. A separate channel led to their wharf
B and Q. Since 1986 it has been leased to B and Q

Bridge Street
Area of early demolition for redevelopment of the new town
Car parks, parallel to the Water Gardens as part of the new town development. They are divided from the gardens by a bank made up of material dredged from the Gade.

Cedar Walk
Said to be on the line of the driveway to Corner Hall although map evidence seems to suggest that it covers the north and east boundary lines. The road and others were in place before 1940.

Corner Hall
9 Lilac Cottage. 17th or earlier. Whitewashed pebble dash
10 17th or earlier building with whitewashed pebbledash
11 18th building in pebbledash
Three Gables.  Home of Sanguinetti family in 1906.  Built in the 15th it has been described as a pilgrim rest house. Currently used as offices.
Tannery – this was there in the 1860s
Corner Hall – a close of new buildings between Lawn Lane and Corner Hall (road) are now also called Corner Hall. This is on land once used by a variety of industries including a cardboard box factory and now office and light industrial space.
Cardboard Box Factory

Cotterells is an old road paralleling Marlowes on the west side of the valley. The derivation of the name is not known
116-117 Spotted Cow pub. Demolished.
Eagle Inn. Closed and gone
Cotterells rail depot and sidings. These were served by a line running north from Heath Park Halt and were on the east side of the road.  The depot handed coal and London sweepings to be used as fertiliser by farmers.

Crabtree Lane
New roads to the north west of the lane have been built on the sites of the schools and the football ground, but appear to have changed layout and names more than once since construction.  Old maps show a chalk pit and a clump of trees on areas now built on.
Corner Hall Primary School. This site is now housing. The school was there from sometime in the 1930s until the 1960s
Corner Hall Boys School. This site is now housing. The school was there from sometime in the 1930s until the 1960s
Wood Lane Football Ground, more commonly known as Crabtree Lane. This was home to Hemel Hempstead Football Club where they remained until 1972.  The ground was taken over by the Development Corporation for housing.

Grand Union Canal
This was originally built as the Grand Junction Canal. It opened in 1804, following the line of the Sparrows Herne turnpike road to the south.
Boxmoor Bottom Lock No 64. A low wall with railings here marks the site of a demolished lock cottage which GJC had been changed to GUC
Baths - site of public baths, Boxmoor Baths were built by the Boxmoor Trust in 1840. It used canal water and lasted until 1937. The pool was built in a hole left by the removal of clay for puddling the canal and it was eventually filled in in 1942 with spoil from the widening of Box Lane. Another hole alongside was used for a private pool.
Boxmoor Bottom Lock Winding Hole
River Gade Junction

Heath Brow Lane
Developed on the site of a Vicarage and its gardens

Heath Lane
Heath Lane Children’s Centre. Opened in 2007
South Hall. This was a private house until the early 20th but became a private girls' school before demolition. Part of the estate of South Hall house became an annex for the Grammar school opposite.
South Lodge. South Lodge, on the corner of Charles Street, was once used as accommodation by the teachers for Lockers Park School.
South Hill Primary School. Built in the grounds of South Hall in 1951.
Heath Brow School. This was on a site roughly now occupied by Heath Brow Lane which itself is near the site of Hillside, a private house.  The house was used by Montagu Draper, from 1872 -1874, before the school at Lockers Park was ready to be used. It later was used by Walter Dowling as Heath Brow College, Heath Park School or Boxmoor School. This was a ‘classical and commercial Grammar school’.
Vicarage. This has now been demolished
Hemel Hempstead School. Hemel Hempstead Grammar School was built in the 1930s. It later became a Comprehensive School
Sportsspace – Dacorum Sports Centre
Heath Lane Cemetery. The Cemetery was opened in 1878 and was the first municipal cemetery in the area. It had two chapels, now disused and there are also some war graves. There are also a large number of redwood trees

King Harry Street
The southern end of this road is now a gated way through the backs of shops and flats. It seems earlier to have been a lane at the backs of houses, passing the grounds of St Bernard’s Villa and the southern end blocked by the railway line.
Bowling Alley. This was Ambassador Lanes in the 1960s

Lansley Road
BT Exchange

Lawn Lane
50 18th. Colour washed pebbledash house
34 Queens Head 1933
Corner Hall. The original house was on the opposite side of the road – on the east side. It was gone by the 1930s
Compco Fire Systems – make sprinklers
Malthouse. In the 1870s this stood as one of the buildings on Boxmoor wharf

Leighton Buzzard Road
Plough. This pub once stood at the junction of Station Road and Leighton Buzzard Road and was the pub after which the roundabout was originally named. It dated from at least the 19th but was demolished when the roundabout was built.
Alfie Morland Bridge. This is a single span cable stay bridge across the Leighton Buzzard road with a span of 39m. A plaque mid span to says 'Dedicated to Alfie Morland 2007'. Alfie was a child who died and whose parents began fund raising for a brain tumour trust
Car parks parallel to the west side of the road were part of the original water gardens design.

Magic Roundabout
The official name of the roundabout is The Plough Roundabout. It was built in 1973 to reduce problems at this intersection of seven roads. At the junction of each road with the roundabout there is a mini-roundabout and between them traffic can go clockwise or anti-clockwise around the main roundabout. The river Gade passes through the centre of it. A subway runs from Heath Park Gardens round the west side of the roundabout to the town centre riverside area

Stages in the Development of Man. this stone mural by Alfred Gerard was installed in 1955 and is in the corner of Bridge Street, It consists of four wall panels built into the end façade of a building. Made from Portland stone the four panels portray man in different ways, ‘Man The Town Dweller’, ‘Man The Machine User’ ‘Pastoral Man’ and ‘Man The hunter’.
Water Play, a fountain, with Bronze sculpture of three children by Michael Rizzelo. Installed in 1993
A bronze relief map depicting Hemel Hempstead as it was in 1947. The designer was Graham Thompson and the sculptor was John Ravera.
The Residents' Rainbow, a concrete and glass rainbow sculpture. It is on a grassy bank and symbolises the aspirations of the first people who moved to the new town after the Second World War. It was unveiled in 1993 by its American Sculptor, Colin Lambert. It has become an unofficial war memorial.
New Town Growth. This steel tree was designed by Peter Parkinson and created by Richard Quinnell. Each panel represents a different aspect of Hemel Hempstead's past and present
Railway Bridge. This was a local landmark on the Hemel Hempstead and Harpenden Railway which closed in 1959. The bridge was blown up at midnight on 6th July 1960.
Hempstead House, later known as BP House. This was a14 storey block by Maurice Bebb built in 1961 and partly used by BP. At had a sinuous a bridge-like range which crossed Marlowes and was built on the site of the old railway viaduct following the railway line. The office building was designed to create a similar skyline as the viaduct. A Univac 1006 was installed on the 1st floor as part of the BP Shell Mex southern computer centre. In the early 1980s it was discovered that the building was subsiding and it was subsequently vacated and demolished. Debenhams now on the site
The Waggon and Horses Pub was at the entrance to Marlowes. It dated from the mid 19th as a beer house. The site was sold in 1898 and the pub was bought by Harpenden brewers, Glover and Sons. It was rebuilt in the 1930s and sited behind a forecourt. It was demolished in 1989 for a lakeside shopping development
League Square’ - so called because the roads and alleys of that time made up a square, each side of which was equivalent to one league. 
164 Henry VIII pub. This was on the site of Bank Court and demolished in 1950s
260 Quality House. Co-op. at one time this was Hemel’s only department store. It is now Primark
Luxor Cinema. Opened in 1926 and called ‘New Aero’ to replace the closed cinema on Albion Hill. It reopened as the Luxor in 1930 and was converted for talkies. There were also live shows. It closed in 1959 and was demolished in 1960. 
Albion Mill. This stood near where the railway crossed the road

Moor End Road
Double-helix public car park which stood on the roundabout next to the BP building. This had four storeys with a coloured ball on the top. It has since been demolished

Industrial and trading area
Royal Mail depot. Now demolished

Selden Hill
MacAlpine’s building at the entrance to the town centre. This was built in 1952 by M.J.Bebb in precast concrete. It was the first new building in the new town centre. It was in three storeys with a recessed fourth storey.  Called Hempstead House it remains in office use.

St John's Road
10 Seattle Steak House. Previously Ye Olde Projectionist with cinema memorabilia
Boxmoor Hall. Boxmoor Arts Centre for Young People and Drama School. Boxmoor Hall was built in 1889 from surplus funds by the Boxmoor Trust.  It has been used as a magistrate’s court, more recently as a local authority arts centre. Since 2007 it has been privately owned as a performing arts centre.
Heath Barn, this was once Heath Farm and is now a 17th barn and farm complex.  In the early 20th it was the home of writer Col.Brereton and before that a private school.  It us now a music centre for Hemel Hempstead School.
Boxmoor Playhouse. Owned by the Hemel Hempstead theatre Company, originally the Hemel Hempstead Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society) since 1997. The company dates from 1925.  The building was previously St. John’s Hall.
The Oval. Boxmoor Cricket Club. Permission was given by the Boxmoor Trust for cricket to be played on the ‘moor’ in 1857 but not on Sundays until 1960. A pavilion was built in 1962 but they were burnt down in 1971. They were rebuilt and replaced in 1983.
Hemel Hempstead Cricket Club founded 1850. Sticky Wicket Café and Pavilion.
War memorial. This is a stone cross on a four-sided plinth. The memorial was moved here from the road junction now covered by the magic roundabout. The land it stands on belongs to the Boxmoor Trust but administered by Dacorum local authority
Balderson’s Moor. This is on the west bank of the Gade and north of the canal. This is parkland with scattered trees including horse chestnut and lime trees along the channel.
Blackbirds Moor. This is the open area west of the church. Owned by the Boxmoor Trust. This is parkland with scattered trees. There are horse chestnut trees along a path and in the north boundary. There is also lime and sycamore trees near the buildings; ash and copper beech near the cricket pitch and pediculate oak, walnut, alder and weeping willow near the canal
An iron gas lamp stood opposite the station. This remained outside the Heath Park Hotel
Tank - In 1920, Hemel Hempstead was given a tank by the National War Savings Committee.  It then stood on a plinth outside the Heath Park Hotel and was sold for scrap in the 1940s.
'Pump and Lamp' Joseph Cranston 1835 St Johns Road

Station Road
Area known as Moor End
Station Moor. This is the area between the canal and the River Bulborne and west of Station Road. It is owned by the Boxmoor Trust. This is grazed grassland with horse chestnuts along avenues and some ash and sycamore
Heath Park. The land it stands on belongs to the Boxmoor Trust but administered by Dacorum local authority. Along the southern edge of the Hemel Hempstead Cricket Club are Lombardy poplars. There is also ash, crack willow, sycamore, lime, horse chestnut, and mature elms. Ivy covers the ground. A path from Two Waters Road once led to a bandstand.  This was erected by Hemel Hempstead Borough Council who originally owned the area in the 1920s. There was also a children's playground near to where the Kodak building now stands. These were removed when the New Town was developed in the 1950s.
Heath Park Gardens. This is the area west of the River Gade and Two Waters Road, north of the Canal and south of Station Road. It is owned by the Boxmoor Trust. It is a small formal park with bedding displays and a rose garden. There are some derelict benches and a grim subway to the town centre. There is formal tree planting and mown grass. Trees include Norway maple, white beams, horse chestnut and lime. The River Gade goes through the park in a hard edge channel.
St. Johns the Evangelist Church. Built in 1874 situated off Blackbirds Moor. It includes a memorial chapel. The church has been involved in a charity- Music at St. John’s- and has a new Nicholson organ. designed by Norman Shaw. Church has two aisles and the nave was extended in 1893:
there is a turret above. It replaced a Chapel of Ease from 1829.

Kodak Tower. KD tower the EMEA headquarters of Kodak Eastman which was built in the 1960s. It was designed by Sir Thomas Bennett KBE FRIBA and supported by a design team which included Edward Winkless FRIBA. It was built on Boxmoor Trust land. Kodak vacated the building in 2005 and it was bought by Dandara, a property development company. It is now housing and the height increased from 20 floors to 22 floors.
Rodin statue. This was a monument of Balzac which stood outside the Kodak Tower. It had been designed in 1898 but had been rejected by the commissioning body.  Versions of it were cast in the 1930s and this one cast in bronze in 1971. Kodak sold it to an unknown buyer in the 1990s.
Heath Park Halt. This station was the terminus for passenger services on the line from Harpenden from 1905 when the line was extended from Hemel Hempstead town centre. Passenger services were withdrawn in 1947, and the station closed and demolished with the line in 1960.The station was on an embankment above the junction of Station Road and Corner Hall Road.

Two Waters Road
Magic Hand Car Wash
Canal Bridge

Waterhouse Street
The Water Gardens. This was built in the late 1950s by Geoffrey Jellicoe as part of the New Town project. This square relates to the southern portion. The river Gade was canalized in part to represent a serpent, of which the lake was the head.
Formal garden – set opposite Bank Square in order to complement it it is on a slope and planted are in a grid of paths with seating. It includes pleached limes at either end and yew which have survived with some willows. It is supposed to repreent a Howdah on the serfpengts back
Bridges – bridges over the canal are the straps holding the howdah on the serpent’s back
Lovers Walk – the winds down the west side of the Gade and includes dense self-planted woodland.
Kangaroo, Joey and Platypus sculpture by John Dowie. The group was presented to the town by Elizabeth, South Australia in 1963. It was originally put in Albion Court, and when that was demolished removed to the Water Gardens.
Discobolus: The Discus Thrower. This is a bronze casting copying a 5th Greek marble sculpture. It was bought by the Hemel Hempstead Development Corporation at an auction in 1960. Before that it had been in the driveway of Amersfoot, in Potten End. It is thought the statue originated in Africa.
Lake. designed as the head of the serpent. The original lighting was destroyed by the swans. Irises were dealt with likewise.
Rock and Roll. This is the Spirit of the Dance by Huber Yencesse. It was suggested and donated by the Chairman of the Corporation Henry Wells.  Jellicoe thought it should be in the water rather than Bank Square where it stood originally. He thought it should be wet and glistening and represent flies on the surface of the serpent.
Fountain. Jellicoe specified this should reach 40 feet but cost savings meant it was only 20 feet high.

Wood Lane
Industrial and trading area.

Alfie Morland Trust. Web site
Boxmoor Cricket Club. Web site
Boxmoor Playhouse. Web site
Boxmoor Trust. Web site
Canalplan. Web site
Dacorum Council. Web site
Dacorum Heritage. Web site
Dacorum History Digest. Web site
Disused Stations. Web site
Hemel Hempstead School. Web site
Hertfordshire Cinemas. Web site
Hertfordshire County Council. Web site
Heath Park Halt. Wikipedia. Web site
Lost Pubs Project. Web site
Mee. Hertfordshire.
My Primitive Methodists. Web site
Nobbs. A walk along the canal towpath
Oldendaysbp. Web site
Our Dacorum. Web site
Primark. Web site
Roll of Honour. Web site
St. John’s Church. Web site


Preston said…
This is gorgeous!

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