Welcome to the North Mymms History Project

A growing historical resource of more than 200 books, features, and documents. Feel free to use the comment box beneath any item to add information - you may need to disable any ad blocker software to reveal. Suggestions and content ideas are always welcome.

A brief history of Brookmans Park WEA

Mollie King at the WEA stall at Brookmans Park Village Day Image courtesy of Brookmans Park WEA
Mollie King at the WEA stall at Brookmans Park Village Day
Image courtesy of Brookmans Park WEA

During the second world war, Brookmans Park residents who were eager to broaden their education had to walk by torchlight along muddy lanes to Potters Bar to attend classes organised by the Workers Educational Association (WEA).

In 1946, a local branch had been formed in the village, meeting in an unfurnished shop on Bradmore Green. Those attending had to bring their own chairs, blankets and refreshments.

Chancellor’s Community Newsletter 1982 – 2015

The final issue of Chancellor’s Community Newsletter - pdf of cover below
The final issue of Chancellor’s Community Newsletter - pdf of cover below

For 33 years a group of volunteers teamed together to publish a community newsletter delivered free-of-charge to every local home and business.

The Chancellor’s Community Newsletter, which began life in 1982 as part of a campaign to save Chancellor's School from closure, soon became essential reading for people living as far away as Hatfield, Cuffley, and Potters Bar.

By the time it closed in 2015 a total of 384,750 copies had been produced.

Lilian Caras, one of the editorial team on the newsletter from 1984 to 1998 looks back at the history of what became “a focal point of the local community”.

Lord John Somers of Brookmans (1651-1716)

Baron Somers by Sir Godfrey Kneller Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, released via Wikimedia Commons
Baron Somers by Sir Godfrey Kneller
Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, released via Wikimedia Commons

John Somers, one of the two Lord Chancellors who lived in North Mymms, has had a mixed press. In fact, according to local historian, Dr Ruth Herman, he was an early victim of political propaganda 18th century style.

To some he had a great reputation as a lawyer, was fair and gentle, and had a patient temperament. But to others he was an obnoxious sycophant with a “licentious” lifestyle and prone to “sexual excesses”.

Dr Herman has researched and written the following account of John Somers for the North Mymms History Project.

The two Lord Chancellors of North Mymms

Map of More’s Utopia by Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598) Released in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Map of More’s Utopia by Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598)
Released in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

They lived 200 years apart, were both lawyers and politicians, both rebelled against the king, and both have historical links to North Mymms. 

Selecting the sites for Brookmans Park’s two schools

Photograph of Chancellor's School and Pine Grove from the south taken September 11, 2002 Image © Paul Large of Falcon Media - permission to publish granted for this site only, all rights reserved
Chancellor’s School, Brookmans Park - Autumn 2002
Image courtesy of Paul Large of Falcon Media

In the early 1950s those planning to build a primary school in Brookmans Park decided Bradmore Way would be a “more convenient” location than land “off Georges Wood Road”.  More than 12 years later the rejected site became the home of Chancellor’s School.

Bells and bell ringing at St Mary’s

Lowering the bell through the ceiling of the ringing chamber in 1985  Image by Jane Russell (nee Sherlock) released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
One of the bells at St Mary’s being lowered in 1985
Image by Jane Russell (nee Sherlock) released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

In the early 19th century a single bell rang at St Mary’s Church, North Mymms, calling the congregation to worship. 

Over the following 180 years more were added to the solitary Sanctus bell bringing the total to eight weighing two and a half tons. 

Brookmans Park’s first church - a converted shop

The Congregational Church (later URC) Brookmans Park July 1960 Photograph courtesy of the URC, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
The Congregational Church (later URC) Brookmans Park July 1960
Photograph courtesy of the URC, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

The first church in Brookmans Park village was housed in a converted shop on Bradmore Green that later became a takeaway restaurant. 

140 people attended the inaugural service on Saturday 23 May 1942 with many spilling out on the pavement. 

Seven years later the congregation moved to a former army hut which had been bought for £175 from RAF Coltishall in Norfolk and transported 120 miles to Brookmans Park. 

When pharmacists mixed medicines and ointments

Bradmore Green Pharmacy August 1994 - proprietor Brian Simpkins
Photograph by Norman Akers, courtesy of the former North Mymms Local History Society

Brian Coombe, who for many years ran the pharmacy on Bradmore Green, Brookmans Park, started as a “scruffy little schoolboy” helping his dad in what he described as a “general store” selling sweets and groceries as well as medicine.

After graduating and qualifying in pharmacy he returned to Brookmans Park as the “community pharmacist” offering advice and first aid when needed, including night calls to deliver oxygen to “save a life”. 

North Mymms reformed drinkers “most interesting speakers”

The Rev Arthur Simon Latter, Vicar of North Mymms 1864-1880 Photographer unknown, image from the former North Mymms Local History Society
The Rev Arthur Simon Latter, Vicar of North Mymms 1864-1880
Photographer unknown, image from the former North Mymms Local History Society

In 1876 a local branch of the Temperance Society opened in North Mymms. It was started by the vicar at the time, the Rev Arthur Simon Latter, who admitted to being a “moderate drinker”.

Meetings took place in Welham Green, Bell Bar and Roestock attracting “large gatherings” entertained with songs, readings and speeches while drinking tea.

The aim of the local group, which lasted for 40 years, was to “save souls and have sober labourers”.

Brookmans Park Village Day and the school swimming pool

Brookmans Park Primary School swimming pool 1959 Photographer unknown, image taken from the Village Day programme 1960
Brookmans Park Primary School swimming pool 1959
Photographer unknown, image taken from the Village Day programme 1960

In the summer of 1958 work began on the construction of a swimming pool in the grounds of Brookmans Park Primary School

A “stalwart band” of more than 80 “hardworking parents” and staff volunteered to spend their weekends digging, pouring cement and laying bricks to get the job done. 

In May the following year the pool opened. By the end of the summer, 100 local children had been taught to swim.