Features

A collection of local history features

Contributions welcome




A short history of the Knolles and Frowick families

Photograph of The monumental brasses of Elizabeth Knolles and two headless children Image by David Brewer released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
New Zealand librarian and historian Rosie Bevan contacted the Brookmans Park Newsletter in an effort to find out more about her ancestors, the Knolles and Frowicks. The search let Rosie to St Mary's Church, North Mymms, where a tomb, stained glass windows, and brass memorials were discovered. Rosie then wrote a feature for this site about both families. Her researched has been enhanced with images of some of the information she discovered.



Apprenticeships under the parish charities

Scan of reference for Thomas Nott 1916. From A Nott, part of The Peter Miller Collection
Imagine if your first job depended on you making a promise that for, seven-years you wouldn't go to the pub, wouldn't play cards or dice, and would stay celibate. Tough rules back in 1818. This item appeared in the February 2003 edition of the former North Mymms Local History Society newsletter. There is no context surrounding the item, but it gives a fascinating insight into what it must have been like to qualify as a trades person during the reigns of George III and George IV.



Beating the bounds in North Mymms parish

Photograph of Beating The Bounds in August 1950 - Pauline Speary, June Chuck, Dorothy Speary.  Image from D Denchfield, digitally enhanced by Mike Allen
Beating The Bounds in August 1950 L-R: Pauline Speary, June Chuck, Dorothy Speary Image by D Denchfield digitally enhanced by Mike AllenBeating the bounds is an ancient custom still observed in some English and Welsh parishes. Under the name of the Gangdays the custom of going a-ganging was kept before the Norman Conquest. A group of old and young members of the community would walk the boundaries of the parish to share the knowledge of where they lay.



Bell Bar - Pictures From The Past

Photograph of Bell Lane, Bell Bar hamlet c1910
Images of Bell Bar from the North Mymms Pictures From The Past book.  This is one of 12 chapters listed here in the features pages. The book this chapter is taken from, contains more than 100 images which have been donated by local residents for a community project aimed at preserving the pictorial history of the parish. The book was published by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 2002.


Bell Bar from above 1947

Aerial photograph of Bell Bar in 1947
This site has downloaded 50 aerial images taken over North Mymms in the 1920s, '40s and '50s. They are from the Britain From Above project and show how the area has changed over the years. This collection shows what Bell Bar was like in 1947. The images in the slideshow are limited to 580px under the terms and conditions set out by the Britain From Above project, but they still offer an interesting perspective on the areas development.



Bell Bar's WWII Tet Turret and tank traps

Close to a public footpath to the east of Woodside Lane and to the north of the Great North Road, lies a heap of concrete and metal. It appears to be the remains of a Tett turret, part of the WWII defences. Almost inline and to the west, at the side of Woodside Lane, are tank traps, part of the same wartime anti-invasion precautions.



Brookmans Manor House

Drawing of Brookmans House by Buckler 1840 - Image from the NMLHS
Brookmans, a sub-manor within North Mymms Manor, was originally called the Manor of Mimmshall, but later took its name for John Brokeman who held it at the beginning of the 15th century. After John died (c.1415), his widow, Elizabeth, inherited the manor and married John Chamberlyne. In 1666, Sir William Dudley and his wife Lady Mary, sold the whole of the Manor except Potterells, to Andrew Fountaine Esc. Of Solle, Nofolk. It is probable that he made the park and demolished the ‘old mansion’, if that had not already been done, but I can not think he would have demolished the new Manor house. He may have modified it.



Brookmans Park - Pictures From The Past

Photograph of Brookmans Park Motors Ltd 1991
This is the chapter from the North Mymms Pictures From The Past book devoted to images of Brookmans Park.  It is one of 12 chapters listed here in the features pages. The book this chapter is taken from, contains more than 100 images which have been donated by local residents for a community project aimed at preserving the pictorial history of the parish. The book was published by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 2002.


Brookmans Park from above 1928-29

Aerial photograph of Brookmans Park in 1928
This site has downloaded 50 aerial images taken over North Mymms in the 1920s, '40s and '50s. They are from the Britain From Above project and show how the area has changed over the years. This collection shows how what Brookmans Park looked like in 1928-29. The images in the slideshow are limited to 580px under the terms and conditions set out by the Britain From Above project, but they still offer an interesting perspective on the areas development.



Brookmans Park from above 1947

Aerial photograph of Brookmans Park in 1947
This site has downloaded 50 aerial images taken over North Mymms in the 1920s, '40s and '50s. They are from the Britain From Above project and show how the area has changed over the years. This collection shows how what Brookmans Park looked like in 1947. The images in the slideshow are limited to 580px under the terms and conditions set out by the Britain From Above project, but they still offer an interesting perspective on the areas development.



Brookmans Park's changing population and housing

Photograph of Bradmore Green, Brookmans Park,  taken by James Bentall and released under Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0
This report was published by Richard Potter in October 2014. It offer a picture of the changing population and housing provision in Brookmans Park from 2001 to 2012. The report examines long-term trends as well as the characteristics of the current population. It also looks at households and housing, including information on house prices and earnings as well as changes in how people lived over the years. The document is shared with Richard's permission.



Brookmans Park's shops 1994

Photograph of Murray's shop on Brookmans Park's Bradmore Green in 1994. Image from N Akers
The following is five-page pictorial record of the shops in Brookmans Park as they were in August 1994. All the names of proprietors are those who were responsible for the shops when the photographs were taken and not necessarily the current owners. Permission to reproduce the images online was given by the former North Mymms Local History Society (NMLHS).



Brookmans Park's spigot mortar emplacements

Photograph of Home Guard soldiers operating a Blacker Bombard during spigot mortar training near Craven Arms, Shropshire, 20 May 1943. Image from Wikimedia Commons.
Hidden deep in the hedgerow on the north-east side of Brookmans Park is an almost perfectly preserved record of one of the local wartime defences. It's a spigot mortar emplacement and is where soldiers, possibly Local Defence Volunteers (later known as the Home Guard), would attach their spigot mortars (guns) and guard against possible enemy attack. The emplacement is so well hidden that it was totally missed by the Defence of Britain survey, carried out by the Council for British Archaeology in 2005.



Brookmans Park water metering trial 1989-1992

Photograph of an EMI, an External Wall Interface unit, installed during the Brookmans Park water meter trial. Image by the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
In April 1989 Brookmans Park was selected to be one of several areas nationwide to trial domestic water metering. More than 1,000 local properties were chosen, joining 60,000 households around the country where water meters were also installed. The trial was to last three years. Home owners had no choice. There was no opt out. All households within the trial area were required, by law, to participate in the trial.



Farming - Pictures From The Past

Photograph of Jack Honour ploughing September 1914
This is the chapter from the North Mymms Pictures From The Past book that farming in the parish over the years.  It's one of 12 chapters listed here in the features pages. The book this chapter is taken from, contains more than 100 images which have been donated by local residents for a community project aimed at preserving the pictorial history of the parish. The book was published by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 2002.



Fortress Hertfordshire - local wartime defences

Photograph of a A type 24 pillbox just off Swanley Bar Lane in the fields of the Royal Veterinary College Image from Jim Apps
In 1940, as the German army swept across mainland Europe to the shores of France, Britain was in imminent danger of invasion. Only the channel stood in the enemy's way and, beyond that, a line of ditches, concrete and brick. This line passed through the southern part of Hertfordshire, from Watford to Cheshunt, and much of it still remains today. Former local resident, Jim Apps, has researched the history of what he calls "Fortress Hertfordshire".


Foundling Hospital wet nurses of North Mymms

:Photograph of The Foundling Hospital, Holborn, London: a bird's-eye view of the courtyard Coloured engraving by T. Bowles after L. P. Boitard, 1753 Image from Wellcome Images via Wikimedia Commons
In the mid 1700s a register was kept of the nursing mothers who were prepared to feed and nourish unwanted babies from the Foundling Hospital in London. In North Mymms, South Mimms, London Colney, St Albans, and Hatfield, there were a total of 80 women named. Six lived in North Mymms and four in South Mimms, with three in Colney Heath.



Gleanings of North Mymms

Photograph of the first St Mary's North Mymms parish magazine. Image from The Peter Miller Collection
This a feature by Merle G. Rafferty, first published Hertfordshire Countryside magazine in August 1972 and inspired by a search through old parish magazines from St, Mary's Church, North Mymms. During the research, Merle pieced together 'a jigsaw' of information that had been recorded over many years. We have a photocopy of the original article, which we have transcribed. The original article is embedded in the piece.



Images of North Mymms

Photograph of the covers and discs for three volumes of Mike Allen's Images Of North Mymms series
Local photographer and historian Mike Allen from Welham Green has been busy collecting and curating almost 4,000 old images of North Mymms. With the help of fellow historian, Peter Miller, Mike has produced four CDs containing their "Images Of North Mymms. Some were donated by local residents, others were rescued from old collections that had not been viewed for years. Thanks to Mike and Peter, these images are available for all to enjoy.



Landmarks - Pictures From The Past

Photograph of the gasometer on Bulls Lane 1966
This is the chapter from the North Mymms Pictures From The Past book that covers some of the landmarks in the parish.  It's one of 12 chapters listed here in the features pages. The book this chapter is taken from, contains more than 100 images which have been donated by local residents for a community project aimed at preserving the pictorial history of the parish. The book was published by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 2002.



Little Heath - Pictures From The Past

Photograph of Mr Barnes roundsman of Cobb's the bakers delivering in Swanley Bar Crescent in 1961
This is the chapter about Little Heath, taken from the North Mymms Pictures From The Past book.  It's one of 12 chapters listed here in the features pages. The book this chapter is taken from, contains more than 100 images which have been donated by local residents for a community project aimed at preserving the pictorial history of the parish. The book was published by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 2002.



Marshmoor - Pictures From The Past

Photograph of The Rookery Cafe, Great North Road, July 1968
This is the chapter about Marshmoor, taken from the North Mymms Pictures From The Past book.  It's one of 12 chapters listed here in the features pages. The book this chapter is taken from, contains more than 100 images which have been donated by local residents for a community project aimed at preserving the pictorial history of the parish. The book was published by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 2002.



Marshmoor WWI Prisoner of War camp

Photograph of Marshmoor POW camp guards 1918 Image from the Peter Miller archive
A WWI prisoner of war (POW) camp in North Mymms, built by the inmates themselves in 1916, and housing 210 captives, was, it's claimed, used as a source of cheap labour for the local timber industry, with interns being paid 1d (the equivalent of about 20p in 2018) an hour. Local historian, Mike Allen, has been researching the Marshmoor WWI POWs and finding out about the lives of the prisoners. He's illustrated the piece (below) with images from the Images of North Mymms collection.



North Mimms rifle range

Photograph of The London Scottish North Mimms Rifle Camp Unposted postcard with handwritten date of 28 August 1915 on reverse  published by W.H. Christmas & Co, Photographer, 8 Queens Rd, Bowes Park
Local historian and archivist, Peter Miller, researches the North Mimms Rifle Range. He discovers that there are no known surviving archaeological remains of the range, and writes that: "following extensive searches, the only evidence for its location is a postcard view of South Lodge, North Mymms Park, which shows a flagpole, notice board and warning sign indicating that the rifle range was within North Mymms Park.



North Mymms and South Mimms

Map of North Myms Common or Wood from 1778. Image from the NMLHS
Why is North Mymms spelt with a ‘y’ and South Mimms with an ‘i’. Until the 19th century, scribes treated the letters ‘i’ and ‘y’ indifferently, spelling the same word, sometimes with ‘y’ and at other times with ‘i’; even on occasions in the same document. For example; in the Probate Register copy of the will of John Coningesbye, dated 1543, we find the word ‘sisters’ spelt with ‘i’, and three lines down it is spelt with ‘y’, ‘systers’.



North Mymms coaches over the years

Photograph of a Greenleaf Bedford coach, part of a fleet of three, June 1966 Image from Ron Kingdon
The following are images of coaches that served North Mymms over the years. In particular, during the '50s, '60s, and '70s. The images were taken by the late Ron Kingdon except for the last picture taken in 1927 by L Maxwell. They are from the North Mymms Images Collection, which have been shared with this site. All have been digitised and enhanced by local historian and photographer, Mike Allen, and are available for sale on a set of four CDs.



North Mymms delivery and collection services over the years

Photograph of Stan, the Express Dairies roundsman in Skimpans Close October 1968 Image from Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
The following slideshow is made up of pictures from the Images of North Mymms collection recording the history of the area. This selection depicts the various delivery and collection services from 1900 onwards. Click on the square button below the slideshow to view full screen (recommended). Below the slideshow is a newspaper article (courtesy of local historian Mike Allen) about local milkman John Swain being voted Milkman Of The Year 1986.



North Mymms from above 1960s

Aerial photograph of Brookmans Park taken in the early 1960s
The images in this gallery were collected by the former North Mymms Local History Society (NMLHS) and B. H. Warne. They have been digitally enhanced by local historian and photographer Mike Allen. Three are part of the Images of North Mymms collection and three part of the Peter Miller collection. The original images were taken by Hunting Aerosurveys Ltd (Associated with Aerofilms Ltd). Both companies no longer exist.



North Mymms from above 2002

Aerial photograph over Brookmans Park by Paul Large of Falcon Media
These aerial photographs were taken over North Mymms in September and October 2002. The images include shots of Water End, Hawkshead Lane, the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), Brookmans Park, Chancellor's School, Brookmans Park Primary School, and the Brookmans Park Transmitting Station. The photographs below were taken by local resident Paul Large of Falcon Media.



North Mymms Park - A Short History

Postcard of North Mymms House from The Peter Miller Collection
On March 20th 1999, members of the former North Mymms Local History Society were given the rare opportunity of a guided tour round North Mymms Park and House. As part of that tour each member was given a pack containing a booklet entitled 'A Short History of North Mymms Park' and a number of photographs of the house and gardens. During the tour, the owners of the house, Glaxo, gave permission for the tour notes to be reproduced in full online.



North Mymms Park - Pictures From The Past

Photograph of the Octagon Lodge at North Mymms Park in 1914
This is the chapter from the North Mymms Pictures From The Past book devoted to images of North Mymms Park, the War Memorial and St Mary's Church.  It is one of 12 chapters listed here in the features pages. The book this chapter is taken from, contains more than 100 images which have been donated by local residents for a community project aimed at preserving the pictorial history of the parish. The book was published by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 2002.



North Mymms Place Names

Sketch of Gobions from the east view by Buckler in 1840. Image from NMLHS
In this parish, most properties seem to retain the name of an early owner, but not necessarily the earliest, although why one particular owner’s name is retained it is not possible to say. For example, Gobions took and kept the name from William Gobion, who held the property in 1391, whilst Brookmans Manor took the name from John Brokeman, but only some time after his death in 1415. Before that it was the ‘Manor of Mimeshall’. The names of the following two very dissimilar properties are interesting.



Notes and sketches in Hertfordshire

An etching of St Mary Church North Mymms by H.M Alderman
During renovations to a cottage in Huggins Lane, Welham Green, a builder came across a time capsule of historical treasures jammed behind a cupboard. It was as he moved the wood away from the wall that the items began spilling out of a cavity. Among the pens and papers was a dusty and sooty copy of the monthly magazine, ‘The Illustrated Carpenter & Builder’, dating back to August 15, 1930 with an article written by H.M Alderman.



People of North Mymms - Pictures From The Past

Photograph of Chuck's Bakers cart c 1910
This is the chapter from the North Mymms Pictures From The Past book devoted to images of some of the characters who have lived in the parish over the years.  It is one of 12 chapters listed here in the features pages. The book this chapter is taken from, contains more than 100 images which have been donated by local residents for a community project aimed at preserving the pictorial history of the parish. The book was published by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 2002.



Post boxes of North Mymms from Victorian times to the present

Photograph of post box on Bell Lane, Bell Bar, May 2018 Image by the North Mymms History Project
There are 13 post boxes in the parish of North Mymms, one dating back to Victorian times. The North Mymms History Project has mapped and photographed those still in service in May 2018. This feature was written to complement our item (below) looking at postal services in North Mymms over the years.



Postal services in North Mymms over the years

Photograph of postman collecting the post from Holloways Lane, Welham Green in 1966 Image from Ron Kingdon part of the Images of North Mymms collection
In the summer of 1972, local historian and photographer, Ron Kingdon, wrote an article expressing his sadness at the loss of the Rookery post box near his home in Welham Green. Ron wrote: “The facility of slipping down to the corner to post a letter, as must have been done for many years here, came to an end on that Sunday in July.”



Potterells

Photograph of the Potterells House front view taken c1900
Potterells was once one of the great manors of North Mymms. During World War II some of its outbuildings were used to make small arms, and in 1965 it was sold and left empty, gradually becoming derelict. The last pictures of Potterells, taken in the early 80s, are of a ruin shortly before it crumbled into a heap of rubble. This feature by John Brushe, looks at the history of Potterells and includes some fascinating illustrations of the manor in its heyday.



Public Houses - Pictures From The Past

Photograph of The Old Maypole, Water End. Image from the Images Of North Mymms Collection
This is the chapter from the North Mymms Pictures From The Past book containing images of public houses in the parish. It's  one of 12 chapters listed here in the features pages. The book contains more than 100 images which have been donated by local residents for a community project aimed at preserving the pictorial history of the parish. The book was published by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 2002.



Savings clubs for the North Mymms poor

scan of a North Mymms parish magazine 1883 Image from The Peter Miller Colleciton
In the 1880s North Mymms had a number of savings clubs, set up by the parish in order to help the poor.  The clubs were funded by regular weekly or monthly payments by both the rich and poor in the parish, and were managed by the church. It's estimated that the club which provided clothing for the poor was used by 75% of people living in the parish.





Setting the North Mymms boundaries in the 18C

Photograph of the North Mymms / Northaw parish boundary, From the Images Of North Mymms Collection
A feature, written by the late Bill Killick for the November 2000 edition of the former North Mymms Local History Society Newsletter. It references a private Act Of Parliament set up "to ascertain, establish and confirm the boundaries of the manors and parishes of North Mimms and Northaw, so far as the same extends to and upon the several Commons called North Mimms and Northaw Common in the County of Hertford".



South Hertfordshire's coal posts

You might have passed them in the car, by train, or on foot, and you probably won't have given them a second glance. But if you had travelled the same way 130 years earlier, you might have found queues of people, many with carts loaded with coal, wine, clothing and food, haggling with the taxman. They are the coal tax posts, many of which were erected following the Coal Duties Act of 1851, and, thanks to them, many of the bridges across the Thames were paid for.



Straw plaiting in North Mymms

Drawing of children learning to plait straw in Victorian times Image courtesy of thestrawplaiters.com
Straw plaiting had been carried on in England from Elizabethan times, but with straw imported from Italy. During the Napoleonic wars, in the early 1800s, the straw plaiting industry increased in England owing to the blockade, and English straw had to be used instead of Italian. Jenny Rackstraw writes that a great deal of straw plaiting was done in North Mymms parish, as shown by the 1851 Census records.



The 100-year campaign for Welham Green station

Photograph of the first train to leave the new Welham Green station on Monday 29 September 1986 Image from Ron Kingdon
It took a century of campaigning by local residents, but finally, on Monday 29 September 1986, the first passenger train departed from Welham Green station. The call for a station started with a petition in 1886, and culminated, 100 years later,  with the official opening of Welham Green station close to the old Marshmoor sidings. Local historians and photographers Mike Allen and Ron Kingdon recorded events.



The Apothecary Who Built Moffats House

Photograph of Moffats House from the air taken in the 1970s. Image from the NMLHS
In 1662, Peter Sambrooke, citizen and apothecary of London, purchased Nashes, alias Moffits farm, (which included, in addition to the farmhouse and out buildings, about 100 acres of land, half of which was arable), from Thomas Roberds of North Mymms. He probably bought it as an investment, but his experiences in London during the ‘plague’ in 1665 and the ‘great fire’ in 1666, must have influenced him to decide to build his ‘country residence’ in North Mymms.



The Casamajor family of North Mymms

Painting of Mrs. Justinian Casamajor and eight of her children by British artist Daniel Gardner, 1750–1805 Image from the Yale Center for British Art
In this piece the late John Harris of the former North Mymms Local History Society traces the history of the Casamajor family in North Mymms. The Casamajors were a family of Spanish origin, claiming descent from the royal house of Cadiz. They had settled in Bristol and founded the English branch of the family by the late 18th century. They inherited Potterells, which included an estate of 200 acres, he sold High Cannons in Shenley and set about restoring the house at Potterells. He became High Sheriff of Herts in 1800, and died in 1820, aged 73.



The changing face of Brookmans Park

Photograph of a Postcard of Bradmore Green and Bluebridge Road, Brookmans Park, taken in the 1930s Image from Peter Miller's collection
A series of images showing how the village of Brookmans Park has changed over the years. They are from a collection of pictures has been curated and digitised by local historian and photographer, Mike Allen. The images, a mix of photographs and old postcards, are from the Images Of North Mymms project, which has gathered almost 4,000 images of the parish and made them available online. This site is featuring many of these images and trying to piece together the stories behind the pictures.



The East India Company and North Mymms

Photograph of drawing of East India House in Leadenhall Street, London as drawn by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, c.1817 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This piece, which looks at the influence of the East India Company (EIC) on North Mymms, was written by local historian Peter Kingsford . It's the second piece on this site about the EIC. The other, entitled, The East India Company's impact on North Mymms 1757-1857 by Chris Jeppersen, looks at the sources of the wealth that EIC involvement brought to the area, and explores the connection between exploitation and slavery.



The Gillians of Roestock, North Mymms

Postcard of Roestock in 1915 showing Invicta Cottages and the Plough pub beyond.  Image from Peter Miller's collection
Canadian Richard Gillians traced his family tree back to North Mymms. He writes: "It appears that my family lived in the Roestock area of North Mymms from at least the time of the first census of 1841 and were generally in the employ of the Gaussen family as farm labourers. For example in the 1851 census, I found my 3 times grandfather living with his son John and family at Roestock Lane. It could be possible that my relative John was on site at the time of the fire at Brookmans.


The Glass Slides of Gobions

Photograph of drawing of the southwest view of Gobions - image from Denis Stevens
The following pictures were reproduced from glass slides belonging to the Potters Bar & District Historical Society. They were donated to the North Mymms Local History Society (NMLHS) which offered them to this site to reproduce online so that more people could enjoy them. The captions are exactly as they appear on the original glass slides. Some of the pictures already appear elsewhere on this site.



The Grantham Halse Faithfull Payson Ley connection

Clothall. Near Baldock, Hertfordshire c1856 Pencil drawing attributed to Mrs Frances Ruth Faithfull but possibly by Rev James Faithfull. Image from The Peter Miller Collection
The author of this article, Mark Grantham, is a direct descendant of Valentine Grantham and Elizabeth Halse. Valentine’s daughter Mary Grantham is the subject of chapter 24 of Dorothy Colville’s book, 'North Mymms Parish and People', reproduced on this site, which tells the story of 'The Pretty American'. Mark's research is followed by two related features from this site's history archive.


The Great North Road through North Mymms Parish

Photograph of The Great North Road in 1966. Image from Ron Kingdon
Because the section of the road between Shepherds Way junction and Hatfield was diverted to a new route in 1850, by - passing Bell Bar, the simplest way to explain the original route is to describe a journey along the road through the parish shortly after 1730: "Travelling north from Potters Bar, we cross the Parish and County boundary into Little Heath, a small part of which is unenclosed, where stands the Turnpike at which a toll must be paid."



The Hertfordshire County Open Speed Trials 1911

The Hertfordshire County Open Speed Trials 1911 began in Bell Bar, North Mymms, and continued along The Great North Road, the A1000. The late Marian Benton, archivist of the former North Mymms Local History Society compiled this report using a cutting taken from MotorCycle magazine at the time. This piece also includes an original photograph taken at the time and used in the magazine.



The history of Chuck's bakery, North Mymms

Photograph of Jonah Chuck starting his round from his Dellsome Lane bakery Wife Beatrice looking on from behind the gate Image c1900 by G. Knott gifted by P.Grant
For more than 150 years, the Chuck family supplied the homes of North Mymms with bread, eventually closing their baking business in 1962. According to local resident, photographer and local history enthusiast, Mike Allen, the reason the bakery closed was due to "the price of coal and not modernising the ovens" as well as the added pressure of running the local post office.



The history of the Brookmans Park Newsletter

Screen grab of the front page of the Brookmans Park Newsletter in February 2018
In June 1998, a community website for Brookmans Park and the parish of North Mymms was launched. It provided a focal point for local information and debate for 20 years. This is the story of a news site and local discussion forum that won national awards and commendations for its service to the community. All the local history information from the site was moved this site, The North Mymms History Project, and all the walks to The Hertfordshire Walker.



The inns and alehouses of Bell Bar

Photograph of The Swan c1900s Image from the NMLHS
In 1756, Bell Bar was a bustling staging post on the Great North Road, with four inns and alehouses dotted around the hamlet. The route was one of the main thoroughfares for travellers on horseback or on stage coaches making their way between London and the north. Situated 17 miles from the capital, it was the ideal spot to break the journey, stay the night, feed or change the horses, and have a few beers and a meal.



The mass dial of North Mymms 1584

Photograph of The mass dial at St Mary's church North Mymms Image from Mike Allen
Local historian and photographer, Mike Allen reports about a religious sundial that dates back to 1584 and which was found on the wall of St Mary's parish church, North Mymms. It was by clergy and parishioners to check the time of services. As the sun crossed the sky, its shadow would be marked by a central rod known as a gnomon. Etchings in the stonework of the church wall would show when services (masses) were to take place. The dial has been damaged and the rod now missing.



The medieval mysteries and curios of North Mymms church

Photograph of the stoup at St Mary's Church, North Mymms - Image from Mike Allen
There is a sedilla, a piscina, and a holy water stoup, but was there ever a rood and rood screen, and were there medieval paintings on the walls? Local historian Mike Allen has been researching some of the historical mysteries and curios at St Mary's church, North Mymms. Mike's two documents, 'Medieval Mysteries' and 'Medieveal Curios' are now combined in this feature.



The Mimmine Domesday Book entry

Writing the Domesday Book By Joseph Martin Kronheim (1810–96) in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
In 1086, North Mymms, formerly known as Mimmine, was surveyed by assessors following an order by the king, William the Conqueror. The king wanted a record of how land was distributed (who owned what), and to work out what taxes were due to the Crown. It was to be a detailed survey, listing not only every piece of land, but also every person, and every farm animal, "not even an ox, nor a cow, nor a swine was there left, that was not set down in his writ". The document containing this information was known as the Domesday Book.



The Mystery of the Holloways of Welham Green

Is this photograph, taken c1900 of the Holloways of Welham Green? Image from A Nott / G Knott
Another in Mike Allen's series of 'North Mymms Notes' in which he researches the stories behind the images he has curated for his 'Images of North Mymms' project. This time it's the story of the Holloways of Welham Green. The photograph above apparently shows Mr and Mrs Holloway outside their house in Station Road, now numbers 50 and 52. It's said they ran a sweet shop and, according to Mike's research, it's thought Holloways Lane is named after them.


The natural history around Water End

Photograph of a swallow hole at Water End
The following text was written for a geological walk around North Mymms in October 2004. It's been included in the North Mymms History Project because of its natural historical value. The piece focuses on the swallow holes and water courses in the area. This site thanks Mike Howgate M.Sc for giving us permission to reproduce his work on this site.



The North Mymms tank traps

Photograph of one of the Bradmore Lane tank traps after it was moved in October 2017 It was replaced soon after - image from The North Mymms History Project
Cross the railway bridge at Brookmans Park, walk north on Station Road then turn left down Bradmore Lane, and there, hidden in undergrowth, you will see what is left of a line of concrete blocks on both sides of the lane. They are part of a network of thousands of obstacles put in place during WWII in order to prevent German tanks rolling through the British countryside. The tank traps have been moved several times but efforts are underway to try to ensure they are listed and preserved.



The North Mymms war memorial

A photograph of the North Mymms War Memorial. Image from the former Brookmans Park Newsletter
A Canadian veteran of the 1939-1945 war, Richard Gillians, wrote to the former Brookmans Park Newsletter and asked whether a page could be made listing the names of the North Mymms men who died in both wars. Richard, whose grandfather was a local man, also wanted photographs of the war memorial including for the benefit of those living overseas. This feature is taken from the newsletter's news archive.



The origins of the name Moffats

Sketch of Moffats farmhouse by Faithfull c 1840s. Image from the NMLHS
'Moffats Lane', 'Moffats Farmhouse' and the house called 'Moffats', all perpetuate the name of a family who held property in the parish at the end of the 16th century, but of whom little is known. Unfortunately, although in 1538, all parishes were instructed to record baptisms, marriages and burials, the only early such record for North Mymms that has survived covers the period 15th August 1565 to 26th March 1568. In this there are two entries which I think refer to the Moffat family.



The Water End School

Photograph of a Postcard of Water End Girls' School 1900s Image from G. Knott
A school for the girls of the parish and for the infant boys until 1926, stood at Water End from 1847 to 1960. The accommodation was for 130 pupils so that during those 113 years of social change thousands of children passed through the school. What kind of influences did they come under? These sprang from three things; the school’s origin, its location and the narrow range of occupations available; the chief being domestic service.



Transport - Pictures From The Past

Photograph of a Lewis Line coach taken in 1930. Image from the North Mymms Pictures From the Past book
This is the chapter from the North Mymms Pictures From The Past book devoted to old images of various forms of transport in the parish over the years. It is one of 12 chapters listed here in the features pages. The book contains more than 100 images which have been donated by local residents for a community project aimed at preserving the pictorial history of the parish. The book was published by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 2002.


Victorian life at Hawkshead, North Mymms

Photograph of The rear of Hawkshead House in the 1980s Image from the former NMLHS
In this piece, Sonia Addis-Smith nee Porter traces her family tree back to Hawkshead House, North Mymms through letters she discovered which recorded life in the parish between 1858 and 1864. Many of the letters Sonia found were to and from family members who had settled in New Zealand. One tells of the day her father was shot in the chest and eye while hunting but survived to hunt another day.



Was Little Miss Muffet a local girl?

The story, told by retired Australian journalist Eric Shackles, of the little girl who lived at Moffats Farm on Moffats Lane, Brookmans Park, North Mymms, and who was frightened of spiders. Eric has been researching whether the poem, Little Miss Muffet, was actually written about a local girl. He concludes that it was and includes variations of the poem, and some fascinating stories about how the story developed over the years.



Water End - Pictures From The Past

Photograph of Hawkshead Lane Bridge c 1910-15
This is the chapter from the North Mymms Pictures From The Past book containing images of Water End. It's  one of 12 chapters listed here in the features pages. The book contains more than 100 images which have been donated by local residents for a community project aimed at preserving the pictorial history of the parish. The book was published by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 2002.



Welham Green - Pictures From The Past

Photograph of Sunnyside Cottages, Dixons Hill Road 1900s on the corner of Station Road
Another the chapter from the North Mymms Pictures From The Past book devoted to old images of Welham Green, taken over the years. It is one of 12 chapters listed here in the features pages. The book contains more than 100 images which have been donated by local residents for a community project aimed at preserving the pictorial history of the parish. The book was published by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 2002.



Welham Green from above 1948-54

Aerial photograph of Brookmans Park in 1947
This site has downloaded 50 aerial images taken over North Mymms in the 1920s, '40s and '50s. They are from the Britain From Above project and show how the area has changed over the years. This collection shows how Welham Green has developed since 1947-54. The images in the slideshow are limited to 580px under the terms and conditions set out by the Britain From Above project, but they still offer an interesting perspective on the areas development.


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