Tuesday 13 January 2015

Roads and railways

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Now that I am not obliged to write a blog on a regular basis, I am afraid I have not been doing so. However, I have not been lazy! I have been working on my own family tree which has been sadly neglected since I started on this project.

Rail ticket

I have posted several new items on our website www.sopwellmemories.org.uk and have added more memories and photos to existing posts. For example, I found some quality photos, courtesy of the Smallford Station Project website, of the Hatfield rail link from the 1950s showing the watercress beds in Riverside Road (now the Watercress Wildlife Area) and children playing on the line – naughty, but we know it went on. Did you know that it is the 150th anniversary of the Hatfield Rail link this year? I am sure there will be celebrations. And talking of watercress, there was a comment sent to me about another family called the Paynes who also grew watercress in St Albans. The family lived in Pageant Road. Does anyone recall this?

New Barnes Mill c1970s
New Barnes Mill c1970s
I have also been looking at the census returns for those Sopwell roads and buildings that existed from 1851 - 1911. There weren’t that many of them in the early days. Going as far back as 1851, there was only St Stephen’s Vicarage, St Stephen’s (near the church), Sopwell Mill, Sportsman’s Hall and New Barns (sic). By 1861, it is clear that St Stephen’s is what is now called Watling Street. I have written about Prospect Road and St Julian’s farm and am presently working on St Stephen’s Vicarage. So keep watching.

The website is proving very popular and we have had nearly 20,000 visitors which isn’t bad. We haven’t interviewed anybody lately but we are still willing to do so if we get a whiff of a good memory.

Sandy Norman

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