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.
Posted on Friday, October 12, 2018
Author / Contributors / Sources : Joan E. Gooding
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
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.
Old photographs digitised and enhanced
|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
It's thought the images could be the earliest known photographs of the park, predating those held by Historic England.
How the parish evolved at the end of the 19th century
|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.
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
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.
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
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.