The history of Little Heath Wood House

Cover of A personal record of Gresley Court from 1972 and the history of Little Heath Wood House' by Joan E. Gooding


A book written and produced by a long-term resident of Gresley Court, Little Heath has just been published. The book is entitled 'A personal record of Gresley Court from 1972 and the history of Little Heath Wood House'. The author is 90-year-old Joan E. Gooding.

The first half of the book deals with the history of the management company of Gresley Court. The second half looks at the history of Little Heath Wood House, which previously occupied the site, and which was the earliest large house built in Little Heath forming a small estate with its own farm.

Sale of outlying portions of North Mymms Park Estate 1922

800 acres of farms, land, and cottages 


Scan of the front cover of the 1922 auctioneer's brochure Brochure courtesy of Lindsay Sinclair, scan by Mike Allen Image released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Scan of the front cover of the 1922 auctioneer's brochure
Brochure courtesy of Lindsay Sinclair, scan by Mike Allen
Image released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

At 4pm on Wednesday the 26th of July, 1922, 800 acres of North Mymms Park went under the auctioneer's hammer. Twenty lots were up for sale, including farms, land, and cottages.

A 15-page sales brochure featuring some of the biggest farms in the parish was produced for the event, held at the Peahen Hotel in St Albans.

The North Mymms History Project has been loaned a copy of the sales details which we have digitised and included below.

Rare pictures of North Mymms Park uncovered

Old photographs digitised and enhanced


Photograph South elevation showing the 1846/7 double bay hall which was later replaced in 1893  Image courtesy of Lindsay Sinclair and released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
South elevation showing the 1846/7 double bay hall which was later replaced in 1893
Image courtesy of Lindsay Sinclair and released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
A collection of old photographs of North Mymms Park, thought to have been taken in 1876, has been discovered and shared with the North Mymms History Project.

It's thought the images could be the earliest known photographs of the park, predating those held by Historic England.

Victorian farming and land ownership changes in North Mymms

How the parish evolved at the end of the 19th century


Photograph of Jack Honour ploughing September 1914
Jack Honour ploughing in September 1914
Photograph from the Images of North Mymms Collection

At the end of the 19th century the agricultural economy of North Mymms was undergoing dramatic change. A run of cold, damp summers had seen crops fail and incomes fall. Smaller farms were struggling. At the same time, wealthy professional people, whose economic focus was on London, were moving into the area seeking their own little patch of the rural experience. The area's demographic and agriculture were both undergoing rapid change.

Life as a tramp in Victorian Hertfordshire

An early example of undercover journalism


Image courtesy of Dr Peter Jones, Early Career Lecturer in Urban History After 1800  Centre for Metropolitan History, Institute of Historical Research, University of London
Image courtesy of Dr Peter Jones, Early Career Lecturer in Urban History After 1800
Centre for Metropolitan History, Institute of Historical Research, University of London

Almost 150 years ago, the journalist and writer James Greenwood disguised himself as a homeless person and walked the length of Hertfordshire in order to experience, first hand, what life was like for a tramp in Victorian England.

He wrote about the fellow travellers he met on the way and the degrading conditions they faced. His journey took him through North Mymms. Stopping at the White Swan in Bell Bar he witnessed confidence tricksters using their misfortune to try to eke out a living.

Virtual tour of St Mary's Church, North Mymms

Discover the history of St Mary's in 3D


St Mary church North Mymms taken in June 2015 Image by the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
St Mary church North Mymms taken in June 2015
Image by the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

For those not able to visit North Mymms parish church, this site now has a virtual three dimensional tour of the inside of St Mary's. The interactive slideshow highlights many of the historical features of the church.