Memories of Hemel Hempstead
By Allan Davison
In 1967 as a Local Government Officer. I accepted an appointment with Watford RDC and was offered accommodation at Bedmond (a new estate) or Nash Green (also a new estate). I chose Nash Green not knowing it was close to the Dickinson mills. In those days it was teeming with activity (everyone seemed to work at “Dickos”) and the factory buildings were surrounded by expansive greens. They have since been developed into an exclusive housing estate, along with the Apsley Lock site.
I remember the walk along Belswains Lane, past Lawn Lane to the Moor End roundabout and through the BP archway – impressive and inviting – where buses interchanged (we caught the 322).
To the right was a green slope, and to the left the Wagon and Horses public house, where you could sit by the stream after a mornings shopping and sip a refreshing pint of Benskins Ale, (or was it Watney’s!)
At the other side of Moor End Road was the Co-op, and if you went to the rear of the second floor you could sit in the cafeteria, which overlooked the Water Gardens and admire the fountain, or the unusual car park with its coloured ball balanced on top.
That Marlowes was not pedestrianised made little difference to me. The town centre was adequately supplied with artistic artefacts: the walls of several buildings are still adorned, but the little fountain leading up to a Wimpy Bar has disappeared.
The walkway crossing Marlowes mid-way, the China Garden restaurant, the Seafarer fish and chip shop, the 10-pin Bowling Alley have all gone, along with the Pavilion, and St. Pauls Maternity Hospital in Queensway. The General Hospital at Highfield Road has gone on apace. Even the Post Office has been smartened up. The Market hangs on!!
With the completion of the Longdean Estate, off Bunkers Lane, the schooling in the area improved dramatically; why, all my 3 children and my 2 grandchildren attended Longdean School!
Where I now reside, at St. Agnells Court, was the site of the old ”Cupid” public house.