Welcome to the North Mymms History Project

A growing historical resource of more than 150 books, features, and documents. Feel free to use the comment box beneath any item to add relevant information. Suggestions and content ideas welcome. You can sign up for email notifications at the top left of any page.

North Mymms then and now in pictures

Exploring our archive to see how the parish has changed


Man walking along Hawkshead Road towards Little Heath  Mix of photographs by R Kingdon (1967) and the North Mymms History Project (2018)  Montage by North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons
Man walking along Hawkshead Road towards Little Heath 1967/2018
Mix of photographs by R Kingdon (1967) and the North Mymms History Project (2018)
Montage by North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons

The North Mymms History Project has been comparing some of the old photographs in our archive with modern-day shots of the same scenes to show how the parish has changed.

With more than 4,000 images to choose from, we can offer just a small sample in this feature, but we have added links at the end of the piece to other photographic features on the site for those who want to carry out their own research.

Bell Bar


We start in Bell Bar with two photographs that show the changes along Bell Lane over the past 100 years. The first picture was taken in 1917, the second in October 2018.

A postcard of Bell Bar village from 1917, looking north along Bell Lane Image courtesy of Mill Green Museum, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
A postcard of Bell Bar village from 1917, looking north along Bell Lane
Image courtesy of Mill Green Museum, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of Bell Lane, Bell Bar, October 2018 Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons
The same shot of Bell Lane, Bell Bar, taken in October 2018
Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons

Further north along Bell Lane, at the junction with Bulls Lane, is the site of the former Bell Bar bakery. It is now a residential property.

Photograph of The bakery at the junctions of Bulls Lane and Bell Lane, Bell Bar in 1890 Image from the NMLHS, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
The bakery at the junctions of Bulls Lane and Bell Lane, Bell Bar in 1890
Image from the NMLHS, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph o Site of the former bakery at junction of Bell Lane and Bulls Lane, Bell Bar, October 2018 Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons
Site of the former bakery at junction of Bell Lane and Bulls Lane, Bell Bar, October 2018
Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons

Still in Bell Bar, and two photographs that show the transformation that has taken place at Lower Farm over the past 50 years. The first image was taken in the 1960s, the second in August 2018.

In the first image there is little evidence of the exposed beams, later picked out and painted black, with the rendering painted white.

Also, in the first image, windows in the gable ends appear to have been covered over, whereas, in the 2018 picture, the windows, one on the first floor and one on the second floor, are exposed.

Photograph of Lower Farm, Bell Bar - photograph taken in the 1960s Image by B Warne, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
Lower Farm, Bell Bar - photograph taken in the 1960s
Image by B Warne, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of Lower Farm, Bell Bar - photograph taken in August 2018 Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons
Lower Farm, Bell Bar - photograph taken in August 2018
Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons

Perhaps the window was boarded over to avoid the Window Tax, which was a 17th century property tax. The amount of tax due was calculated by adding up the number of windows in a house.

To avoid the tax people would sometimes conceal window spaces with brick or boarding. Still today, some houses from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries have bricked-up windows.

When the tax was introduced, it consisted of two parts: a flat-rate house tax of two shillings per house (equivalent to £13.20 in 2017), and a variable tax for the number of windows above 10.

Properties with between 10 and 20 windows paid an extra four shillings (equivalent to £26.40 in 2017), those with more than twenty windows paid an extra eight shillings (equivalent to £52.80 in 2017).

The cartoon below from the Punch magazine celebrated the repeal of the act in 1851.


Cartoon from Punch magazine Volume XVIII Page 165
Image from the Wellcome Library, London released under Creative Commons

Brookmans Park


The impact of the window tax can, perhaps, also be seen in Brookmans Park.

In our first photograph of Moffats Farm (where the nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet was supposedly written), taken in the 1950s, the eaves have horizontal boarding.

In our 2018 picture, the gable on the left of the house have been exposed revealing vertical beams which have been painted black, a small window is visible, which isn't visible in the 1950s image. Perhaps this small window was blocked up in the past because of the window tax?

Photograph of Moffats Farm in the 1950s Image from the NMLHS, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
Moffats Farm in the 1950s
Image from the NMLHS, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of Moffats Farm in October 2018 Image by the NMHP, released under Creative Commons
Moffats Farm in October 2018
Image by the NMHP, released under Creative Commons

Moffats House, further up Moffats Lane from Moffats Farm is pictured below in 1982 when it had one upstairs front window bricked up. In the 2018 photograph the window has been restored. Another instance of attempts to avoid the window tax, perhaps?

Moffats House in 1982 with the front upstairs window bricked up
Image from the NMLHS, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of Moffats House in October 2018  Image by the NMHP, released under Creative Commons
Moffats House in October 2018 with the front upstairs window restored
Image by the NMHP, released under Creative Commons

Little Heath


It's hard to imagine walking along the now-busy Hawkshead Road close to Folly Arch, Little Heath, without having to dodge traffic, but this idillic image of a quiet country lane, with a man walking with his back to the traffic and no cars in sight, was taken just 40 years ago in May 1967.

The footpath on the left is North Mymms footpath number 11, which heads north-west into Gobions Wood.

Photograph of Man walking east along Hawkshead Road close to Folly Arch, Little Heath, May 1967 Image by Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
Man walking east along Hawkshead Road close to Folly Arch, Little Heath, May 1967
Image by Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of Hawkshead Road approaching Folly Arch, Little Heath, October 2018 Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons
Hawkshead Road approaching Folly Arch, Little Heath, October 2018
Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons

North Mymms Park


Perhaps one of the most striking images of change over the years is viewed from the bridge over the River Colne looking north-west across North Mymms Park.

The first and third images below were taken 115 years apart. The first, taken in 1902, shows the land behind the Octagon Lodge looking like a well-cared for lawn. The same view 25 years later, show the land flooded. The third view, taken in 2017 from the bridge leading from Tollgate Road to St Mary's Church, shows the River Colne in full flow.

photograph of The new bridge at North Mymms Park 1902 Image by G Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
The new bridge at North Mymms Park 1902
Image by G Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of high flood at North Mymms Park after deep snow Christmas 1927 View from the bridge in the avenue near the war memorial.
High flood at North Mymms Park after deep snow Christmas 1927
Photograph from the Images of North Mymms collection

A similar view on December 29, 2017 with the River Colne in full flow  Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons
A similar view on December 29, 2017 with the River Colne in full flow
Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons

Water End


We were hoping to do some compare and contrast shots of Water End, but the modern views are so overgrown that it's difficult to take a picture through the bushes and trees, or to access the exact spot where the original images were taken.

For example, the shot of Warrengate Road below, taken in the 1900s, and well before the waterworks was built, is clear of any foliage on the north side of High Bridge.

It was probably taken close to the footbridge that crosses Mimmshall Brook. However, today, trying to take a photograph of High Bridge at that spot is really difficult, as you will see from the image below. In the second you can just about spot the bridge in the centre of the photograph.

Photograph of High Bridge, Warrengate Road, Water End, in the 1900s before the water works Image from G. Knott / P Miller, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
High Bridge, Warrengate Road, Water End, in the 1900s before the waterworks
Image from G. Knott / P Miller, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

High Bridge, Warrengate Road, Water End, from the footbridge - October 2018
Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons

The Woodman at Water End, now called The Woodman Inn, used to be known as a brew house, and was marked with B.H. on the 1896 Ordnance Survey map below. A brew house was a place where beer was brewed on the premises as well as sold.

There used to be two pubs in Water End, the other was the Old Maypole, which is marked on the map by its name and with P.H. (public house) alongside it. The Old Maypole was converted into private accommodation in 2009.

Ordnance Survey map published in 1896
Image courtesy of the National Library of Scotland, released under Creative Commons

Photograph of The Woodman, Water End in the 1900s Image from the NMLHS, part of the images of North Mymms collection
The Woodman, Water End in the 1900s
Image from the NMLHS, part of the images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of The Woodman Inn, Water End, September 2018 Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons
The Woodman Inn, Water End, September 2018
Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons

Photograph of The Old Maypole, Water End in the 1920s  Image from the Peter Miller collection
The Old Maypole, Water End in the 1920s
Image from the Peter Miller collection

Photograph of The former Old Maypole, Water End, September 2018  Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons
The former Old Maypole, Water End, September 2018
Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons


Welham Green


Now to Welham Green, and two photographs that show the changes that have taken place at what is now Welham Green Railway station.

The first image, taken in the 1900s, shows the junction of Dixons Hill Road with Holloways Lane (on the right), and Travellers Lane, (on the left). Ahead is Marshmoor bridge crossing the railway line.

The second photograph shows the same scene, but taken in October 2018.

Photograph Marshmoor Bridge, Welham Green in the 1900s Photograph by G Knott, part of the images of North Mymms collection
Dixons Hill Road and Marshmoor Bridge, Welham Green in the 1900s
Holloways Lane on the right, Travellers Lane on the left
Photograph by G Knott, part of the images of North Mymms collection

Dixons Hill Road and Marshmoor Bridge, Welham Green in October 2018 
Holloways Lane on the right, Travellers Lane on the left
Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons

Welham Green station opened on Monday September 29, 1986 after a 100-year campaign by local residents.

Trains first ran through North Mymms on the Great Northern Railway line on August 7, 1850, a year and a half after the first brick was laid for the South Mimms (now Potters Bar) tunnels, which enabled the trains from London to pass through North Mymms. (Source Wikipedia)

So, prior to the bridge above being built, Dixons Hill Road would, presumably, have continued to the Great North Road without the need of elevation.

On the south end of Welham Green, where Station Road meets Bulls Lane, is a triangle of land known as Nash's Corner. The following photographs show how the road junction has changed.

Photograph of Nash's Corner, Welham Green in the 1900s  Image from G Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
Nash's Corner, Welham Green in the 1900s
Image from G Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of Nash's Corner, Welham Green in the 1920s  Image from A Nott / G Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
Nash's Corner, Welham Green in the 1920s
Image from A Nott / G Knott, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of Nash's Corner, junction of Bulls Lane and Station Road, Welham Green - October 2018  Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons
Nash's Corner, junction of Bulls Lane and Station Road, Welham Green - October 2018
Image by the North Mymms History Project, released under Creative Commons

In the picture below of Bulls Lane, Welham Green, a gasometer can be seen on the south-east side of the bridge.

Planning permission for the gas holder was approved on September 23, 1953. Ten years later, on October 11, 1963, permission was approved for a gas boiler house on the site. And 11 years after that, on July 10, 1974, plans were approved to build 10 stables on the site where the gasometer once stood.


Photograph of Bulls Lane in ???? looking east towards the railway bridge  Photograph by Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
Bulls Lane in the 1950s looking east towards the railway bridge
Photograph by Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of Bulls Lane in 2011, photograph by Mike Allen
Bulls Lane in 2011 looking east towards the railway bridge
Photograph by Mike Allen, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

There are many other compare and contrast images in our North Mymms Pictures from the Past series. And even more are contained in Mike Allen's Images of North Mymms collection.

North Mymms Parish boundary then and now


Below is a map showing two layers. The blue outline and shaded area represents the boundary of North Mymms as set on the Ordnance Survey 25-inch map published in 1914, the yellow outline and shaded area shows the boundary of the parish of North Mymms in 2018.

To use the map, first click on the square icon at the top right of the green bar below to view in full screen, then click on the red check box on the left to remove or add one of the map layers.

By doing so you will see the changes to North Mymms, in particular around Roestock and Bell Bar.





Related articles


Photograph of the covers and discs for three volumes of Mike Allen's Images Of North Mymms series
Photograph of the covers and discs for three volumes of Mike Allen's Images Of North Mymms series

For anyone who wants to find out more about how the parish has changed over the years, please visit the following pages from our North Mymms Pictures From Above series.


Comments and information welcome




If you have anything to add to this feature, or just want to add your comments, please use the comment box below.


No comments:

Post a Comment

If you have any information to add to this item, please use the comment box below. We welcome input and are keen to update any piece with new research or information. Comments are pre-moderated, so there will be a delay before they go live. Thanks