Welcome to the North Mymms History Project

A growing historical resource of almost 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.

Hawkshead Bridge cottages

Oil Painting 9” x 6”   Label on back reads “Folly Lane” Potters Bar from M.C.A. Dec.25 1909  Image from the Peter Miller Collection
Oil Painting 9” x 6” 
Label on back reads “Folly Lane” Potters Bar from M.C.A. Dec.25 1909
Image from the Peter Miller Collection

The oil painting above is dated 1909, and is believed to be the only known image of a pair of cottages that once stood on the south side of Hawkshead Lane to the east of the railway line next to where Hawkshead Bridge is today.

Both Hawkshead Road and Hawkshead Lane have previously been known as Hawkshead Lane, Reeves Lane, Folly Lane, Jennings Lane, and Boltons Lane.

Ordnance Survey one-inch to the mile. Middlesex Sheet VII. Published 1 August 1822  Image from the Peter Miller Collection
OS one-inch to the mile map Middlesex Sheet VII published 1 August 1822
Image from the Peter Miller Collection
The cottages feature on the first detailed Ordnance Survey (OS) map of 1822, and can be seen just above the word Reeves. The map above was created before the Great Northern Railway (GNR) line was built.

Map from Images of North Mymms - J.Potter
Map from Images of North Mymms - J.Potter

The 1830 GNR plan of the proposed route for the railway, above, depicts the building as two dwellings.

Interestingly, the undated pre-1850 GNR land acquisition map, below, illustrates the intent to construct the Hawkshead Bridge at right angles to the railway, rather than the skew bridge as it is today.

Map from the Peter Miller Collection
Map from the Peter Miller Collection
North Mimms 1844 tithe map  Image from the Peter Miller Collection
North Mimms (sic) 1844 tithe map
Image from the Peter Miller Collection

The award book that accompanies the North Mimms 1844 tithe map, above, lists the cottages as Plot 150, Cottage and Garden, owned by John Godfrey and occupied by James Coventon (sic) and another.

The 1841 census is more precise, and lists James Covington as a 30-year-old agricultural labourer living with his 25-year-old wife Eliza and their three daughters aged eight, five and two years old.

1868 OS six-inch to the mile  Image courtesy of the National Library of Scotland
1868 OS six-inch to the mile
Image courtesy of the National Library of Scotland

Construction of the railway line and bridge began in 1848 and was completed in 1850. The map above illustrates the railway line and Hawkshead Bridge in close proximity to the cottages. A signal box was also located here but had been removed by 1896.

1896 OS 25-inch to the mile  Image courtesy of the National Library of Scotland
1896 OS 25-inch to the mile 
Image courtesy of the National Library of Scotland

The 1881 census lists 26-year-old signalman George Bonner as living there with his 23-year-old wife Harriet and their one-month-old baby.

In 1891 the census lists GNR signalman Charles Mabbett as living in Reeves Lane with his wife and two young children and Arthur Leonard a GNR signalman lodging with them.

The cottages had been demolished by 1950.

Article by Peter Miller 2019



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.