Memories of Hemel Hempstead

Spring 1973

By Nan Mc Caskie

Buying a House in Hemel

When my husband was relocated to Watford I remained up north to sell our house. When a couple from Portsmouth offered me well over our asking price if I accepted their offer on the spot I agreed, and was rather pleased with myself until I discovered that a three bed roomed semi in Adeyfield would cost a lot more than the selling price of our detached house in Renfrewshire.

Sandy’s first school days

We moved to Hemel Hempstead in January 1973, our son was nine and went to Greenhills School in Tenzing Road. Mr Callcutt the headmaster introduced Sandy to the other children and then asked them to make him welcome, as he had come a long way. At the first interval some of the boys in the class roughed Sandy up because he talked funny and they didn’t want him in their class. Sandy quickly developed an English accent-which was accepted-and everyone settled down nicely. Some year’s later Greenhills School was closed and is now used as a day centre for disabled people.

 Evelyn Sharp house

From the kitchen window of my new home I watched Evelyn Sharp House in Field road being built, it is sheltered accommodation for the elderly and a neighbour told me that previously wooden huts stood on the site. The huts housed foreign building workers who were employed on the new town building sites. Sometimes after work one of the builders played his banjo and entertained the tenants of the surrounding houses that the builders helped to build.

Spring is busting out

Though I had moved house a few times in my married life nothing prepared me for life in Hemel Hempstead. From my windows all I could see were houses and brick walls. For the first time I had nets on my windows, our garden was small and surrounded by a six foot wooded fence. I missed the feeling of space and openness I had always enjoyed before, for a time I think I suffered from a form of cabin fever and was convinced that I would never be happy here. Then spring came the trees, hedges and shrubs blossomed, many of them, because of the cold winds up north, I hadn’t seen in flower before, slowly the whole aspect changed and I realised that Hemel Hempstead wouldn’t be a dismal, inhospitable place to live after all.

This page was added on 30/01/2012.

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