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The Woodman, Water End

North Mymms Notes number 20


The Woodman Inn, Warrengate Road, Water End - July 2018
Image by the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

Introduction


Built in the late 17th or early 18th century, The Woodman Inn at Water End is a Grade II listed building with an interesting history. Local resident, historian, and photographer, Mike Allen, has traced the pub's past in this latest issue (number 20) of his North Mymms Notes, reproduced on this site with his permission.



The Woodman, Water End


By Mike Allen (with thanks to Peter Miller)


Water End, looking down Warrengate Road - 1980s Image from the former NMLHS, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection
Water End, looking down Warrengate Road - 1980s
Image from the former NMLHS, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection

The name of the Water End hamlet literally comes from where the waters of the Mimmshall Brook end by disappearing down local features called swallow holes, found in the area behind The Woodman.  The holes are naturally formed in the underlying chalk, taking the water away to near Ware.

In times of heavy rainfall these swallow holes are unable to cope with the volume of water, which overflows, going under the A1(M) and the interesting-named Tea Kettle Bridge, which was next to the Water End Girls' School, now under the A1(M). The overflow would then flood the dry river bed opposite the war memorial, joining the source of the River Colne, near Colney Heath.

The hamlet of Water End was on one of the main roads from Barnet to St. Albans. Warrengate Road outside The Woodman would have been busy with hay wagons going to London and the same wagons coming back laden with manure. The blacksmith next to the Maypole must have had a good passing trade servicing the large number of horses passing by.

The population of Water End at one stage was bigger that of Welham Green, and it may also have been the original North Mymms village as until the early C20. Water End had a village pound where stray animals would have been kept, and the village possibly provided the labour for North Mymms Park and surrounding farms.

The hay and manure business effectively ended after WWI, but, in the 1920s, the Barnet Bypass was built to take traffic from North London to the North, diverting it away from the Old Great North Road that ran to the east of Welham Green.

This new volume of traffic created several small businesses such as cafes, petrol stations, garages etc. along its length. Water End would have enjoyed its slice of prosperity with extra business for the Water End Cafe, Southern Cross garage, and The Woodman and The Old Maypole pubs.

The Southern Cross Garage viewed from the Barnet Bypass in the 1970s Image by Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection
The Southern Cross Garage viewed from the Barnet Bypass in the 1970s
Image by Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection


Water End Cafe in the 1930s Image from Peter Miller, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection
Water End Cafe in the 1930s
Image from Peter Miller, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection

The coming of the A1(M) in the late 1970s then took all the business away completely changing the character of the hamlet, making it the sleepy backwater it is today.

The Woodman would have been an important part of the community in its early days, the landlord and his wife would have brewed the beer and then sold it from little more than their front room. Until the 1900s most landlords would have had another job to make ends meet. His wife would have possibly served during the day and both of them in the evening.
 
From left to right: Harry Goodman, landlord, Daisy Dickens, servant, Violet Goodman, wife The postman, butcher, and Parker the brewer outside The Woodman in the 1900s Image from G. Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection
From left to right: Harry Goodman, landlord, Daisy Dickens, servant, Violet Goodman, wife
The postman, butcher, and Parker the brewer outside The Woodman in the 1900s
Image from G. Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection

Brief history of The Woodman


Built late C17 or early C18 and is Grade II listed. Prior to the first mention of The Woodman it may have had other names possibly The Tollgate as a tollgate existed at the end of Warrengate Road, but this is not substantiated.

1843 The earliest known reference when it was shown as beer house,
1844 Tithe Award lists the owner as Widow Bigg and the occupiers as William Shatton and others.
1851 , 1861. James and Elizabeth Draper were listed as publicans.
1871 James and Elizabeth Draper listed now as beer retailers.
1881 George Dickens was listed as publican and gardener his wife Harriett listed as grocer.
1888 Bradshaw sold the business to Pryor Reid Brewery of Hatfield
1891 George and Harriett Dickens, George listed as publican and labourer
1897 Robert Nash is recorded as occupier of the Woodman beer house.
1899 Robert Nash was described as beer retailer and shopkeeper.
1901 Herbert Russell listed as beer house keeper.
1911 Henry Goodman beer house keeper, wife Violet.
1933 George Coster beer retailer.
1937 Mrs. A. B. Coster was licensee.
1939 Frederick Denning Publican, wife Ivy Rose.

The Woodman, Water End - 2007 Image by Bob Horrocks, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection
The Woodman, Water End - 2007
Image by Bob Horrocks, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection


The Woodman, Water End in the 1900s Image from R. Papworth / G. Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection
The Woodman, Water End in the 1900s
Image from R. Papworth / G. Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection


The Woodman, Water End in the 1900s
Image from G. Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection

The Old Maypole, Water End in the 1900s
From G. Knott / Peter Miller, part of the Images of North Mymms Collection

Beerhouse versus public house 


The Woodman v The Maypole (now private dwelling)


The term beerhouse was created by the 1830 Beerhouse Act, legally defined as a place "where beer is sold to be consumed on the premises".

Public houses under the Retail Brewers Act 1828 were issued with licenses by local magistrates and were subject to police inspections at any time of the day or night.

The proprietors of beerhouses on the other hand simply had to buy a two guineas per annum license from the government. This carried on until the Wine and Beerhouse Act 1869 which gave local magistrates the authority to renew beerhouse licenses, the two classes of establishment were in direct competition, the Maypole pub being a short distance down the road.

It is interesting to note that on early ordnance survey maps beerhouses, marked as BH, are not identified by name, whereas public houses, marked as PH, are.



About this series


This is one article in a series of historical features called North Mymms Notes, researched and written by local resident, photographer, and historian, Mike Allen. The pieces are designed to offer a short glimpse into the history of the parish, and are used, by Mike, in local displays and presentations. Mike is one responsible for the Images of North Mymms Collection, and is one of the team responsible for the North Mymms History Project.



Mike's original piece is embedded below




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