Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Gerrards Cross

Post to the north Orchehill
Post to the east Oakend

Amersham Road
Edith is somewhat confused by the name ‘Amersham Road” being shown on various maps as a name for a variety of roads in the area.  It seems however to be recognised manly as a section of the A413 also called ‘Chalfont St.Peter bypass’.  Presumably before the road was upgraded to a bypass it was called ‘Amersham Road’.  The bypass dates from the 1960s.
Oak End Mill. This is a complex of buildings which once stood at the end of Oak End Lane.  A saw mill is shown here on the Misbourne on maps before the Second World War, together with an unidentified rectangular body of water. Oak End Farm is also sometimes shown. A medieval mill here was Noke Mill owned by Henry Gould in 1680.

Bulstrode Way
Laid out 1907 by developers Hampton and Sons.

East Common Road
3 Hartley Court. Built as the Aged Pilgrim’s Home.  Built in 1874 by the Aged Pilgrim’s Friend Society Erected in memory of Sir William Alexander, Bart, 1874.  Took 15 old people and was endowed by Sir John Wallis Alexander. Designed by Habershon and Pite in a Tudor style. Plaques in each of the gables reading "Born again made new creatures in Christ Jesus", "Glory to God on high" and "Even to hoar hairs will I carry you". Garden wall and shelter are listed. This is now divided into five units which appear to be private houses.
Church of England School. Built on the common before 1906. It was extended on several occasions and moved to a different site in 1968. Head master was Charles Colston father of Eric who was MD of Hoover.
Colston Hall. Head of GXCA. This was originally Watercroft House and is now part of the Memorial Centre. It is used as a wedding and conference venue.
Memorial centre.  This is a local community centre providing events and meeting space. Built by John Chantry as Walters Croft House.  He was an enthusiastic hunter and had extensive stables.  Later known as Watercroft and then Gerard’s Cross Vicarage.  The croft was an encroachment on the Heath and is first referred to in 1691 when a cottage was built.  In 1723 this was sold to John Wilkins of Chalfont House and by 1830 it was owned by John Chantry.  The Old Berkeley Hunt met in front of the house.  By 1876 it was owned by Lousia Reid and she gave it to the Vicar swapping it for the Old Vicarage by Latchmoor Pond.  In 1922 the then vicar gave the stables for conversion into a village hall and a war memorial for the First World War.  In 1945 someone bought the house and it was converted into a community centre – that someone turned out to be Eric Colston, Managing Director of Hoover.  As a war memorial there is an inscription: “In loyalty to the memory of those who gave their lives in the war of 1939-45 this centre is dedicated to the fostering and furtherance in good fellowship of all arts and exercises healthful and enriching to body and mind, to the end that by the grace of Almighty God we the living may together cultivate in a spirit of true community the national heritage preserved for us and our children at so great and sacred a cost".

Elthorpe Crescent
Laid out in the gardens of Elthorpe House when it was converted into a hotel
Elthorpe Hotel. This was an early 19th house called Fernacre Cottage. It was converted into a hotel in 1923 when it was altered and extended in the Arts & Crafts style by architect Robert Muir. The grounds had gardens and orchards and a holly hedge 12 or 15 feet high. These were used as a sit for the construction of shops,
Everyman Cinema. This opened as the Picture Playhouse in 1925.  Its corner entrance has an octagonal tower, with three entrance arches. Inside were boxes along the rear wall and Grecian pillars along the side walls. There were dressing rooms and a stage as well as a cafe, a dancehall and a car park. In 1931 it described itself as a ‘Theatre de Luxe’.  In 1947 it was taken over by Southan Morris and in June 1950 it was altered. It was taken over by the Essoldo chain and renamed Essoldo in 1969 and was again renovated. Taken over by the Classic chain it was re-named Classic Cinema in 1972 and again changed with a second screen. It was later taken over by the Cannon Group, then ABC in but since 2000 it has been operated by Odeon Theatres, taken over by Everyman Cinemas in 2015 with more renovations.

Fulmer Way
Originally called Quakers Way built on the land of Marsham Farm

Gerrards Cross
Said to be named after a coach pick up point and a coachman called Gerrard.  The name is recorded in 1448 and after.  Gerrard may be the name of a local landowner.  The actual cross was probably to the west and referred to Bull Lane. The town is largely built on the site of Latchmoor Field.  This had been a common field of Chalfont St.Peter and was enclosed in 1846, the new owners being the occupants of the surrounding big houses.  It then went for development.

Gerrards Cross Common
Area of waste land known previously as Chalfont Heath.  As a common it was shared by the surrounding parishes. It extends over some 32 and is as it is now as the result of a fire which burned for three months in 1921. The first vegetation to return was heather and gorse, replaced by four areas of open grassland, woodland, mainly silver birch and oak. It is common land of the Manor of Chalfont St Peter over which owners of adjoining properties were entitled to graze animals. It is owned by the Lord of the Manor and was managed by the Manor Court until 1920. The Court rolls run from 1308 until 1936.

Lower Road
Until the 1970s Lower Road was the main A413 road to Amersham.  This had been a turnpike road.
Chalfont Pottery north of Marsham Lane junction Chalfont Pottery at Marsham Farm.  This made bricks and tiles and is thought to have originated in the late 19th although there are records of an 18th pottery and dene hole. Closed with construction of Diss Park house– site of brick kiln and pottery until about 1907
Toll House. This was built at Oak End in 1828 by the Turnpike Trust. It is not identified as being present now.
Lodge to Chalfont Park built in the 17th at the end of Marsham Lane but demolished when the by pass was built in the 1960s

Marsham Lane
An old lane which became part of a parcel of development land c.1912 of which this was the eastern boundary. 
Marsham Manor was Marsham Farm. There are some indications that this was used as a brick and tile making site.   It was bought by developer Hampton Gilks and Moon and in 1907 sold to Tibbs & Co. builders and rebuilt to the design of Stanley Hamp.  Arts and Crafts

Marsham Way
Laid out 1907 by Hampton and Sons on land from Marsham Farm. 

Mill Lane
Previously called Hollow Lane

Oak End Way
The road was a footpath until c.1912 when it was the northern boundary of a parcel of development land.  Laid out by Legender Myers in 1905 and originally called Pottery Road.
Methodist church. In 1907, a plot of land was purchased for £200 and` the first Trustees were appointed. A corrugated iron chapel was built and belonged to the High Wycombe Free Methodist Circuit, affiliated to the Wesleyan Reform Union. In 1930 the Church was purchased by the Uxbridge & Southall Wesleyan Circuit and more recently has moved to the Amersham Circuit. In 1954, the “tin” building was modernised, in 1958 the foundation stone of a new Church was laid in front of the site. The original Church building was initially retained but eventually demolished and replaced by Wesley Hall and New Fellowship Room, in 1964.
Oak End Hall and Assembly Rooms built by Percy Hopkins in 1913. This later became a furnishing showroom. It had a hall for 250 seated and a sprung dance floor.  The site now appears to be vacant.
Park Creamery and cafe on the corner of South Park designed by Percy Hopkins. Thatched building. This is now an empty plot

Packhorse Road
Cottages which once stood alongside the pub had a date stone ‘Huntman’s Hall 1796’. This was the home of the huntsman of the Old Berkeley Hunt and the kennels were also there
12 St Andrew's church. United Reform church by H. Ascroft which replaced a Congregational church built in 1922.  It is now part of a large block of shops and offices called Pilgrim House dating from the 1980s
Lloyds Bank. Corner with Bulstrode Way. Beyond this were six Railway Cottages and Stationmaster's House built in 1902. Demolished 1957/9 and replaced with shops in 1960. 
Masonic Hall, designed by Stanley Beard in 1924 . Commandeered by the RAF in the Second World War
Original boundary stones to the new parish of Gerrards Cross marked GV 1860

Station Approach
Steps to were there were once public toilets
Gerrards Cross Station. Opened in 1906 it now lies between Seer Green and Denham Golf Club stations on 1Chiltern Railways into Marylebone. It was built by the Great Western Railway and Great Central Railway Joint line and opened as Gerrards Cross for the Chalfonts.  It is in a deep cutting to allow or a very shallow maximum gradient. It was originally four-track, with two through roads and two platforms but the through roads were removed in 1989. There was a small goods yard north of the line and two signal boxes. The east box closed in 1923 and the west box was located on the Down line and remained in use until 1990 when signalling was passed to the new Marylebone Integrated Control Centre. There was also a line to Uxbridge which closed in 1939 but this was only a shuttle using rail cars going back and forward all day. In 1997 the station tunnel fell down because of Tesco. The station had its centenary in 2006 celebrated with two steam locomotives, hauling trains between Marylebone and High Wycombe.
Tunnel. A 30m section of the 300m Gerrards Cross railway tunnel collapsed in 1997 interrupting Chiltern train services to Banbury, Birmingham and elsewhere and depositing broken tunnel segment fragments and many tonnes of infill material on the track. It appears some of the concrete arches were overloaded before the space around them had been correctly infilled. This new work was being carried out to cover over the railway so as to provide a central site for the construction of a Tesco supermarket above,
The bronze 'Railway Navvy' sculpture behind the Up platform by Anthony Stones who was commissioned in 1992 by the Colne Valley Park Groundwork Trust

Station Road
Joseph Nutt's coal yard, present in the 1920s.
16 Marsham Chambers built 1933 began as a Public Hall built 1906 by William Weston. It later became a roller skating rink, then part of the County Garage but later became a garage belonging to Bailey Changed name to Gerrards Cross Car Services Ltd.    And after the Second World War became Lewis’s Garage.
19 Girl Guide headquarters. This was built in the 1960s on the site of an older Guide hut on land donated to 1st Gerrards Cross guides by Phyllis Stewart-Brown
38 Gerrards Cross Community Library
Telephone Exchange. The old exchange and system from 1935. It also uses code THGX and provides telephone and broadband services to premises in Gerrards Cross and Chalfont St. Peter,
Goring Kerr. Works here from 1956 making Metlokate an electric control device

The Woodlands
Laid out by Legender  Myers in 1905 for the Circle Lane Company on land bought from the Gurneys in 1906.

Vicarage Way`
Laid out by Hampton Gilks and Moon on the land of Marsham Farm.
St.Michaels Convent. Community of the Sisters of the Church. Convent and Retreat House.  The house was built in 1909 in the Arts and Crafts style, and was extended in the 1960s.   It was the first plot taken and built as Dinthill by E.H.Ernest Hill for John Weston.

West Common
1 Wildwood Resrtaurant. This was the Packhorse Pub. After being closed in 2008, the building reopened as a Wildwood restaurant and bar. The interior has not been changed much.  The Packhorse was built in 1707 on Great Heath Field by Thomas Pyner, a brickmaker.   In 1826 it was acquired by Wellers Brewery of Amersham and 1929 by Beskins, of Watford.  Beskins rebuilt it in 1931 to designs of J.C.E.James.
Office block built on part of the Packhorse's car park.

West Common Close
Car park – this was the site of a bowling green post Second World War

Cinema Treasures. Web site
Colne Valley Park. Web site
Gerrards Cross Methodist Church. Web sit
Historic England. Web site
Hunt & Thorpe, Gerrards Cross
Meadway Park. Web site
Pevsner. Buckinghamshire
Sabre. Web site
South Bucks District Council. Web site

Monday, 9 September 2019


Post to the south Watford North
Post to the east River Colne, Meridian Estate

Apple Tree Walk
Stanborough Primary School. This is a coeducational independent day and boarding school. It stands in 40 acres of parkland, was founded by the Seventh-day Adventist church and remains under the governance of the church. It was founded in 1919 and originally catered primarily to the children of overseas missionaries. The Primary section moved to a new facility in 1974

Cow Lane
Lea Farm. The farm stood on what is now the north side of Cow Lane.
Lea Farm Cottages
Sun Chemical Ltd.
The factory which manufactured Inks for the print trade opened in 1952 and closed down in 2006. Sun is a multi-national chemical company originating with American and French firms in the mid-19th. The factory had originally been built here for Ault and Wiborg, an American printing ink firm which had become wholly British. It was designed by Wallis Gilbert and sited opposite the Odhams Print Works who they supplied with ink.  There were special fire safety measures and storage tanks built underground.  The site was eventually sold to Barratts for some more crappy housing.

Edward Amey Close
Edward Amey was a local politician and mayor of Watford
Built on the site of Garston Infants School. The school closed in 2005.

First Avenue
Lea Farm Recreation Ground Children's playground, Outdoor gym, two tarmac tennis courts
Telephone Exchange. This Situated has the code LWGAR. It is fronted by the original redbrick building with modern extensions behind. It provides services to Bricket Wood, Leavesden Green, Meriden, Kingswood and Woodside.
Garston Spiritualist Church. The Garston Brotherhood of Spiritualists was founded in 1944 by Mr and Mrs Jack Gray. With help of friends, and a mortgage on they bought a plot of land in First Avenue and fun raised for a new building which opened in 1948. The church continues.

Fourth Avenue
The Grove ‘Academy’. This was Berrygrove Primary School. This was opened in 2005 and replaced Meriden Primary, Garston Infants and Lea Farm Junior (formerly Garston Junior) Schools.
Berrygrove Children’s Centre

Garsmouth Way
Meriden Park. This has a childrens' playground designed by children, for children and a community centre with a broad range of public activities

Garston Lane
Garston Station. Opened in 1966 it lies between Bricket Wood and Watford North on London Overground Line to Euston via Watford Junction. It consists of one unstaffed platform but in 2010 it got new signage and artwork by children from Berry Grove Primary School [

North Western Avenue
ASDA. This supermarket is in the site and building of Odhams Press. The founder of Odhams was William Odhams, born 1812 in Sherborne. He was a compositor who began his own printing business. The firm gradually moved into bulk print of periodicals. Odhams (Watford) Ltd. was established in 1935, to-do high-speed colour photogravure printing.  Building began in 1935 in a site dominated by a gas holder. One vast building was put erected plus wells, power plant, new roads, and a canteen for the workers and a car park. During the Second World War, they printed leaflets, for the Government as well as repairing aeroplanes. In 1954, work started on a massive new multi-storey building and began the use of colour in newsprint.  In 1961 they were taken over by Fleetway and the Mirror Group and n 1963 this became the International Publishing Corporation (IPC). In the mid 1960s, a modernisation programme made it possible to print colour on both sides of the paper, In the 1970s, Odhams (Watford) was still the largest gravure printing plant in the UK but new technology meant many job losses at the plant. NT. IN 1982, Robert Maxwell bought Odhams from Reed International for £1.5 million.  This included not only the factory, land, and machines, and the works was closed down, many workers transferred to Sun Printers. The remaining buildings date from 1954 built to the designs of Yates, Cook & Derbyshire. The massive clock tower it houses a tank for holding water during the printing process.
Brookside Metal Co Watford Foundry, Owned by Metal Traders.1968 Queen's Award to Industry for Export Achievement

Railway Line from Garston
The north/south railway line on which Garston Station is sited is the Abbey Line opened by the London & Birmingham Railway, from London Euston to Boxmoor in 1837.  In the area south of the station was a large complex of sidings. These were between Cow Lane and North Western Avenue. Colne Way

St.Albans Road
609 Seventh day Adventist church. The Church was part of a complex of Seventh Day Adventist buildings based in Stanborough Park mainly in the square to the west. They originally had set up a church in the town of Watford but the need for an on-site church became apparent. The church opened in 1928. An extension and galleries were added to the building in 1962. In 2015 a project to extend and refurbish was completed with an official opening ceremony performed by the Mayor of Watford
Stanborough Park, the 75-acre Cottrell estate, was purchased in 1906 by the British Union Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventists. The majority of this complex stands in the square to the west.
Stanborough Centre. Opened in 2001, this adds 4 more halls to the original church. It is mainly used as a centre for community events and health and family related issues as well as a centre for local amenity organisations.
Headquarters building of the British Union Conference of Seventh Day Adventists. This was, erected in 1961 and is now the Adventist Discovery Centre - previously called the Voice of Prophecy. H. M. S. Richards, a Seventh-day Adventist evangelist, ran a radio programme known as the Voice of Prophecy which was the start of the Adventist Bible Correspondence Schools internationally.  The Adventist Discovery Centre continues this tradition.
Peace garden. A memorial garden, on the grounds of Stanborough Park, Watford, was officially opened on the International Day of Peace, Wednesday 21 September, in remembrance of those who took a stand for their pacifist and Sabbatarian beliefs.
Stanborough Park College of Music. This is part of the facilities of the Stanborough Centre.
Langley House. NHS rehabilitation centre.
The Dome roundabout. This is on the A41 Watford Bypass, built in the 1920s, where it intersects with the A412 St Albans Road. The St Albans Road was one of the first locally to be remodelled as a bus priority route in the early 1990s. At the roundabout, supermarket are on both sides of the road
530 Garston Fire station.  Full time fire station.  It includes the Thorpe Room used for community events.
524 Lemarie Centre for Charities.  Accommodation for charities events and offices
501 Well Being Centre.  Mental health support centre
Library. Opened in 1937 s and designed by the Borough Architect W. W. Newman, L.R.I.B.A.
Odeon Cinema. This was to be called the Ritz but was bought during construction by Odeon and opened in 1937. It had a plain brick facade in brick and a cafe in the front upstairs.  The auditorium was designed by J. Owen Bond, with honeycombe plasterwork. Lighting was indirect, with coloured variations. However it never had access to first release films and was put up for sale in 1959 and closed .It became a garage and a Little Waitrose but was demolished in 1989. A block of flats was built on the site.

Cinema Treasures. Web site
Hertfordshire churches
Hertfordshire County Council. Web site
SABRE. Web site
Seventh Day Adventist Web ire
Skinner. Form and Fancy.
Sun Chemicals. Web site
Watford Council. Web site