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History
Welcome to our extensive history section which is growing all the time. Contributions are always welcome. We are happy to scan in any documents and return them to you. Please contact us if you have any documents, photographs or any other historical items you would like to share with the community. Our growing collection of local history includes:

You can also upload and contribute material and discuss local history and genealogy in our interactive forum.


Books

On The Home Front - North Mymms 1939-45 - By NMLHS
Parish Magazine 1939In September 1939, soon after war had been declared, the vicar of St Mary’s Church, North Mymms, the Reverend Leonard Buxton, sat down in his study to write a special edition of his parish magazine. Six years later, following the ending of the war, the then vicar at St Mary’s, the Reverend Hamel-Smith, composed another message to parishioners. This booklet looks at life in the parish during the war years.

North Mymms Pictures From The Past - By NMLHS
Bell Bar in Victorian timesThis book, produced in October 2002 by the North Mymms Local History Society contains more than 100 old photographs charting the area's development since Victorian times. It concludes more than two years work collecting and compiling images donated by society members. More pictures are being donated all the times and there is a possibility of a second volume of photographs being published at some later date.

North Mymms - Parish and People - By Dorothy Colville.
Bell Bar in Victorian times"The parish of North Mymms, has a long and interesting history, and there is probably no greater expert on the history of the parish, its life and the characters who lived in it than the writer, Mrs. Dorothy Colville, who was born in North Mymms, educated at the girls’ school at Water End, taught in it and finally became its headmistress," Major General Sir George Burns. February 5, 1972.

A Modern History of Brookmans Park 1700-1950 - by Peter Kingsford
Moffats Farm"The modern history of Brookmans Park really starts with the coming of the Gaussen family in 1786 for it was from their estate that the present place we live in was developed. Successive members of that family were lords of the manor at Brookmans, living there for nearly 140 years. In 1923 that they left and the new village of Brookmans Park began to appear and take the shape we know today," Peter Kingsford.

North Mymms People in Victorian Times- by Peter Kingsford
North Mymms People in Victorian Times"The purpose of this book is to tell something of the lives of the people of North Mynms Parish in the 19th century. This is the sequel to the 'Modern History of Brookmans Park' and bears on the whole parish and its hamlets of Welham Green, Water End, Bell Bar and Roestock, with a glance at Little Heath," Peter Kingsford.

North Mymms Schools and Their Children 1700-1964 - by Peter Kingsford
North Mymms Schools and Their Children 1700-1964The purpose of this short history is to show and explain how the education of the children of North Mymms parish has changed over two and a half centuries ... from when agriculture was the chief livelihood and most of the wage earners were farm labourers to the artisans, gardeners, game-keepers and all the other ranks are the main subject of this history of the schools of the parish," Peter Kingsford.

Victorian Lives in North Mymms
Victorian Lives in North MymmsThis book deals with the parish of North Mymms in the nineteenth century, how the people lived, worked, thought and felt and behaved and their relations with each other. The book is concerned with not only the lives of the parishioners in general but also with the different sorts and conditions of the men and women," Peter Kingsford.

Victorian study of North Mymms
Holloway's Cottage c 1902
Information taken from pages 251 to 261 of the Dacorum Hundred section of "The Victorian history of the county of Hertfordshire", edited by W.Page in 1908, broken down into chapters for ease of reading and download. In all chapters the text, and the punctuation of that text, is reproduced exactly as it is in the original document.

North Mymms in the County of Hertford - 140 Years of History 1762-1901
North Mymms in the County of Hertford - 140 Years of History 1762-1901H.M. Alderman's short book was written after the author stumbled across a parchment covered accounts book in the Vestry of St Mary's Church, North Mymms. In it were the Churchwardens' Accounts and Vestry Minutes from 1762-1901. The work, now out of print and unavailable in the shops or libraries, is a unique insight into the life of the parish over 150 years.

North Mymms Park - A Short History 1066-1999
North Mymms Park - A Short History 1066-1999On March 20th 1999, members of the North Mymms Local History Society were given the rare opportunity of a guided tour round North Mymms Park and House. During the tour, when the historic treasures of the house were revealed, the owners of the house gave permission for the booklet to be reproduced in full on this site.

Potterells - by John Brushe
Potterells - by John BrushePotterells 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.

A History of Brookmans Park Transmitting Station
A History of Brookmans Park Transmitting StationIt is situated on one of the highest points in the south east. It has twice blown down. It causes radiators, toasters and waste bins to play music. Automatic garage doors also open of their own accord. The Brookmans Park Transmitting Station is a local landmark. Now, for the first time online, Lilian Caras's history of the site can be read in full.

The London Twin-Wave Broadcasting Station - Brookmans Park
The London Twin-Wave Broadcasting Station - Brookmans ParkThe BBC has given this site permission to reproduce this guide online for the first time. The pamphlet was written in 1930 and was described as 'A Descriptive Souvenir'. It offers a tour of the Brookmans Park Transmitting Station as it was when first built and give a unique appreciation of the power of radio and the vision of those who broadcast to the world.

Chancellor's School - The Background
Chancellor's School - The BackgroundIt was nearly called Gobions School and the land was almost sold off for housing but in the end local residents campaigned successfully for the creation of a secondary school in the village. Since then residents have been supporting their own local comprehensive school. Now Lilian Caras's history of Chancellor's School, written to mark its first 25 years is online.

Gobions Estate - North Mymms Hertfordshire
Gobions Estate - North Mymms HertfordshireDuring the years the Gobions Woodland Trust has owned part of the land which made up the estate of Gobions many requests for details of its history have been received. This is the history of the Gobions Estate with contributions from Peter Kingsford, Richard Bisgrove and Linda Jonas and published by the Gobions Woodland Trust.

Notes and sketches in Hertfordshire
Notes and sketches in HertfordshireH.M. Alderman's article taken from an article in the Illustrated Carpenter and Builder magazine August 15, 1930 which was found in a cavity during the renovation of a cottage in Welham Green. In the article he said that the parish had no village proper, its population being scattered in several hamlets - this is before the development of Brookmans Park.

The history of Brookmans Park school
The history of Brookmans Park school60 years ago children in Brookmans Park were educated in private schools because there was no state provision. But the growth in the community forced the local authority to take action. Local writer, Lilian Caras, has recorded how the village primary was planned and built half a century ago and the efforts involved in helping it grow and flourish.


Documents

Some of these are taken from the former North Mymms Local History Society's Newsletters, others are submitted by local residents/historians, and people viewing the site from overseas, who have stumbled across historically significant documents during their research.

Camfield Place Estate Auction Brochure
Camfield Place Estate Auction BrochureThe sales brochure for the 1921 auction of Camfield Place and surrounding estate has been found and shared with this site. The main house, which is in Wildhill near Essendon, was the home of the late Barbara Cartland. Cucumber Farm in Hertfordshire is also listed as a separate 179 acre lot. This brochure was shared by local historian Peter Miller.

Leggatts Estate auction brochure 1911
Leggatts Estate auction brochure 1911Brookmans Park might have ended up on the edge of a garden city if the sales pitch on an auction brochure printed in 1911 had been acted upon. Leggatts Estate on the Great North Road was described as a "unique opportunity" for creating "a higher grade garden city" with its 3,000 yard frontage on The Great North Road. Thanks to local historian Peter Miller for sharing this brochure.

Tracing the routes of local footpaths c. 1900
Tracing the routes of Local footpaths c. 1900The following images are of a booklet containing a map of public footpaths in the area produced around about 1900 by "The Middlesex, Herts And Bucks Committee Of The Commons Preservation Society". The booklet containing the maps was published in order to encourage walkers to report where paths were blocked or where routes had been changed.

Old inns and ale-houses of Hatfield 1490 to 1956
Old inns and ale-houses of Hatfield 1490 to 1956Beer drinkers - do you remember raising a glass in the Arm And Sword? Have you had to fight your way to the bar in the Two Wrestlers? Did your grandparents ever talk of having a pint in the Platelayers Arms? These are just three of the 74 pubs listed in four faded pages from a history book that mapped the inns and ale-houses of Hatfield.

1870 auction details for North Mymms Park
1870 auction details for North Mymms ParkThe 1870 auction brochure for North Mymms Park has been loaned to this site by local historian Peter Miller so that it can be uploaded for others to view. The sale included Hawkshead House, Abdale House, the Manor Tollgate, 361 acres of timbered park, a 57 acre deer park, three compact farms with "excellent homesteads and labourers cottages" totalling 1168 acres.

1803 auction details for Muffets, North Mymms
1803 auction details for Muffets, North MymmsThe brochure for the sale in 1803 of Muffets has been loaned to this site by local historian Peter Miller so that it can be uploaded for others to view. The sale included Hawkshead House, Abdale House, the Manor Tollgate, 361 acres of timbered park, a 57 acre deer park, three compact farms with "excellent homesteads and labourers cottages" totalling 1168 acres.

Auction poster for 1815 sale of North-Mims farming stock
Auction poster for 1815 sale of North-Mims farming stockAn auction poster for the sale of "Valuable Farming Stock" at Mr. Fitch's Brookman's (sic) Park Farm in North-Mims (which is what the parish was called at the time), Hertfordshire on April 27, 1815. I have two more pages, not uploaded, which show the handwritten transactions following the auction. The poster and auction sheet were lent to me by a local resident to put on the site.


Features

Travelling by bus and rail in the '60s & '70s
Brookmans Park Station in the '60s. Image by Ron KingdonA collection of images and associated memories of travelling by bus and train from and to Brookmans Park in the '60s and '70s including several routes and several bus companies no longer operating in the area. Images by the late Ron Kingdon. And as with all these features, there is an associated forum thread where you can add your memories.

Beating The Bounds in North Mymms Parish
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.

The 100-year campaign for Welham Green station
The 100-year campaign for Welham Green station. Image by Ron KingdonIt took 100 years 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, a century later, in the official opening of Welham Green station close to the old Marshmoor sidings.

Coaches serving North Mymms over the years
Coaches serving North Mymms over the years. Image by Ron KingdonThe following are images of coaches serving North Mymms in Hertfordshire 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. All have been digitised and enhanced by local historian and photographer, Mike Allen.

The history of Chuck's bakery, North Mymms
Jonah Chuck starting his round from his Dellsome Lane bakery with wife Beatrice looking on from behind the gate. Image c. 1900 by P.Grant G. KnottFor more than 150 years, the Chuck family supplied the homes of North Mymms with bread, eventually closing 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 end for The Swan, Bell Bar
The Swan Bell BarThe Swan in Bell Bar was once an important coaching inn on the Great North Road. According to the local greenbelt society, it's "the last link in Bell Bar's coaching history". Take a look at the history of the place, and browse some rare maps recording how Bell Bar has changed over the years. Material shared by local historian Peter Miller.

Fortress Hertfordshire - local wartime defences
PillboxIn 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. Jim Apps has created a site on which he is attempting to preserve Fortress Hertfordshire.

Important wartime defence found
Spigot Mortar EmplacementHidden 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 is a spigot mortar emplacement and is where soldiers, possibly Local Defence Volunteers (later known as the Home Guard), would attach their spigot mortars and guard against an enemy attack.

North Mymms tank traps
North Mymms tank trapsTwo small concrete blocks sit on a grass verge outside the shops in Brookmans Park looking like a pair of miniature pyramids with their tops chopped off. They are only about a metre high but, despite their size, could they have once formed part of a crucial defence line set up to deter a German land invasion advancing on London?

Glass slides of Gobions
Brookmans Park shops 1994A collection of 12 glass lantern slides of Gobions was discovered by the Potter Bar & District Historical Society. The chairman made prints from the slides and donated the collection to the North Mymms Local History Society (NMLHS). The NMLHS in turn offered the collection to this site to reproduce online so that more people can enjoy them.

Brookmans Park shops 1994 - By Norman Akers
Brookmans Park shops 1994In 1994 the North Mymms Local History Society commissioned local photographer Norman Akers, to capture a record of all the shops on Brookmans Park's Bradmore Green on film. Norman produced a 50-page book of black and white photographs, which offers a fascinating record of how the shopping facilities in the village have changed over recent years.

Great great grandchildren meet online
North Mymms tank trapsAnother direct descendent of ‘The Pretty American’, mentioned in the history pages of this site, has traced his family history across the Atlantic to North Mymms. In 2000 the great great grandson of Frances Ruth Payson, a woman who lived in North Mymms more than 150 years ago, was able to uncovered valuable information about his family’s genealogy thanks to this site.

The Knolles and Frowick Family History
The history of Brookmans Park schoolNew Zealand librarian and historian Rosie Bevan contacted this site in an effort to find out more about her ancestors, the Knolles and Frowicks. The search let 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.

Builders uncover historical treasure
The history of Brookmans Park schoolDuring 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.

Who moved the coal posts.
coal post detailThe details, locations and some pictures of many of the 43 coal posts found in south Hertfordshire - just some of the 250 Grade II listed monuments dotted around London. The feature also includes some of the history of these coal tax markers plus OS map references for those wanting to see them. At one point these iron posts marked where tax collections would take place.v

A virtual trip down Roestock Lane
A virtual trip down Roestock LaneRegular user of this site, Richard Gillians of Ontairo Canada had planned to visit Roestock to see for himself the houses occupied by his great great grandfather and other ancestors. But ill health meant that he had to cancel the trip, so Richard wrote about his family and their lives in Roestock; pictures were added to enable him to have a virtual tour of the village from his Ontario home. By Richard Gillians.

Was Miss Muffet a Brookmans Park girl?
Was Miss Muffet a Brookmans Park girl?Many Brookmans Park residents believe Dr. Thomas Muffet, who lived from 1553 to 1604, was the father of Little Miss Muffet, and that he had composed the cute little nursery rhyme which millions of children around the world have recited since his day. Feature written by Eric Shackle is a retired Australian journalist.

The Water End School
Water End SchoolThe 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? By Peter Kingsford.

'Charming unspoilt' Brookmans Park - 1926
Brookmans Park EstateThere was to be an outdoor swimming pool in Gobions, public tennis courts, cricket and football grounds, the area would be free of planning restrictions to allow residents 'full expression' and there would be no need for boundary fences or walls - the sales pitch from an estate agent's booklet from 1926 aimed at attracting 2,000 housebuyers to Brookmans Park.

North Mymms 'mass dial'
Brookmans Park EstateA religious sundial, dating back to 1584, has been located on the wall of St Mary's Parish Church, North Mymms. It was used to set the time of services by checking the points of a shadow made by the sun crossing a central rod which then followed lines etched on the stonework of the church wall. The dial has been damaged and the rod now missing.

Childhood memories of the Octagonal Lodge
Brookmans Park EstateWhile browsing the web, searching for information about her childhood past, a Dutch woman came across this site and one particular image caught her eye. It was the Octagonal Lodge at North Mymms House, her childhood home. Hendrien Ferkranus then set about organising a trip down memory lane with her mother to retrace her past and unearth some fond memories. This is her story.v

The Grantham Halse Faithfull Payson Ley connection
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 in full on this site, which tells the full story of ‘The Pretty American’.

Light shed on romantic family history
The great great grandson of ‘The Pretty American’ - a woman who lived in North Mymms more than 150 years ago - uncovers valuable information about his family’s genealogy thanks to this site.

Internet solves family mystery
Almost 120 years ago a North Mymms woman died while giving birth in a local workhouse. Her son was sent to Canada with other orphaned children to work as a farm labourer. Nothing more was heard of him - until now.

US families united in North Mymms
Two Americans, who share the same family name but have been researching their family history independently, have found their way to this site and are now trying to delve deeper into their genealogical roots.

Victorian life at Hawkshead, North Mymms
"I scarcely think we shall remain in this home after our lease is up - it is very damp for one thing, and we have no one near worthy of the name of neighbour, as their hospitality has never extended beyond a call."A complaint from Marianne, written at Hawkshead house in April 1860.

Tragic death of a Victorian youth
The story of a 17-year-old North Mymms youth who met a violent death 113 years ago has been uncovered thanks to research carried out by a local father and his son.

U.S. wartime billets mystery solved
A family from Welwyn Garden City has found the site of wartime billets in Brookmans Park occupied by American forces thanks to the North Mymms Local History Society.

The Great North Road through North Mymms Parish.
In medieval times the tenants of the Manor were responsible for the maintenance of the highways within their parish and they served their turn as ‘Surveyor of the Highways’, when appointed by the Manorial Court. By Bill Killick.

Apothecary
Peter Sambrooke (b 1625) who bought Nashes (later Moffits farm) in 1662 and used it as his country residence to escape the plague (1665) and great fire of London (1666). By Bill Killick.

Census, Population and Education
The likely make-up of the Parish of North Mymms from the last available census reports of 1891. A snap-shot of life at the eve of the 20th C. By Peter Kingsford.

Industrial Revolution
How North Mymms was affected by the coming of the railways, improved edcuation, sanitation and health provision. By R.G. Colville.v

Manor
The mystery of who built Brookmans Manor, one of the areas large houses eventually destroyed by fire in 1891. By Bill Killick.

Milksops
Changing place names, why there are so many versions of Brookmans, Gobions with some, like Milksops, dating back to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. By Bill Killick.

Moffats
Moffats Lane and farmhouse date back to the end of the 16th c, and could be linked to two locals, John Morflett (b 1565) and Thomas Murfler (b 1567). By Bill Killick.

Mimms or Mymmes
Why is there a difference in spelling between North Mymms and South Mimms. An investigation of all references from the Domesday Book onwards. By Bill Killick.

Gamekeepers and Poachers
A depression in agriculture led to a rise in poaching around 1836. Gamekeepers were appointed and one punishment was transportation to Australia. By Peter Kingsford.

Social Pyramid and Community
The social make-up of North Mymms in Victorian times when most working women were servants an the various manor houses appointed their own workforce, often from outside the local community. By Peter Kingsford.

Casamajor
A short piece about the history of the Casamajor family provided by the North Mymms Local History Society in response to an e-mail to this site requesting information. Researched by John Harris.

Motorcyle racing, alehouses and a drowning

Straw Plaiting in North Mymms Parish


Videos

The history of North Mymms
The history of North MymmsA documentary produced by the former North Mymms Local History Society in 1986 about the parish of North Mymms has been digitised and is now available to watch and download via YouTube. The film was made by the late Hugh Baddeley, and it was loaned to local historian, Mike Allen, to digitise and make available online for the benefit of the local community. The narration is by Phil Elgar.

North Mymms Amateur Dramatic Society
North Mymms Amateur Dramatic SocietyThis video provides a reminder of the activities and energy of the former North Mymms Amateur Dramatics Society. Shot in 1964, it was directed and edited by John Colville. Originally a cine film, it's was transfered to VHS and now digitised. Photographer and local historian, Mike Allen, loaned his copy to The Brookmans Park Newsletter so that it could be shared with the community.


Research

Brookmans Park's changing demographic - By Richard Potter
old picture of buses calling at Nash's CornerThis report summarises and uses information from published statistics to give a picture of the population and housing of Brookmans Park looking at the history of development in the area. It 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 live.


Memories

Travelling to school by bus and train in the 60s
Travelling to school by bus and train in the 60sDid you or your parents travel to and from school by train and bus in the 60s? And if so, what was the journey like? This feature is inspired by a collection of local images shot in the 60s and digitised by local resident Mike Allen, which show local trains and buses and the people using them. We also have a bus timetable for the 343 from the time. You can add your comments to the piece, too.

Jubilee Memories - A collection of memories offered by people brought up in Brookmans Park in the 50s

Other Memories

Brookmans Park in the 1950s - Peter Kingsford

Memories of being billeted at Hatfield House - I remember arriving as a member of the 2nd Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment’s Carrier Platoon and Motor Cycling Platoon as one of the first members of HM Forces to be billeted at Hatfield House during WW2. By George Butler.

My life in the village - An oral history of the life of James Chuck who was born in 1903 in North Mymms. By Albert Thom.

Reminiscences of my childhood in North Mymms - I was about ten when the Boer War started, and I remember that in the papers there was talk of bringing in the old press gang. Eventually they did get enough volunteers but had to call up the Barnet Militia. by Tom Nott.

During the Great War - Zeppelin raids over London and a prisoner of war camp outside Welham Green. By Doris Ambrose.

Welham Green 1914 - Before the station was built locals had to walk along the track to Potters Bar or Hatfield to catch the train.  The walk to school was a two mile round trip across the fields. By Ruth Pinder.

Welham Green Changes 1900-1953 - Rosie Simmonds was born in Welham Green but left at the age of 10. She writes about her early memories and what she saw when she returned almost 40 years later.

Brookmans Park Evacuees - In 1939 a newly-married who had recently moved to Brookmans Park were told they had to take in two little boys evacuated from London. They arrived with only the clothes they stood up in and their hair infested with lice. By Marjorie Tether.

White's Corner - The changing face of Welham Green's White's Corner from the time the first shop was built there in Victorian times. By Sue Mason and Sidney King.

40 years ago in Brookmans Park - When Moffats Lane was a farm road. Shopping was on foot or bike and Bradmore Green was a busy commercial area. By Peter Kingsford.

Was my relative there when Brookmans burned down? - Canadian Richard Gillians traces his family history and find a worrying link. His family are now very careful with matches


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