Pints of View

‘Pints of View ’ #293 February/March 2019 edition.

Lemsford Local History Group were included in Pints of View #293 February/March 2019 edition with an article on The Bull at Stanborough. See link to read full article.

The article included images of the Bull in 1938 (front cover) when it opened and the old Bull in 1925. These two images produced emails from interested parties when they read the magazine.

The first email was from John Telford:

‘I was interested to see the photo of Stanborough Crossroads (image in slider at the top of the page) in the article about the Bull in the latest issue of Pints of View (Page 18). Of particular interest was the reference to the Light Railway Track. As I am involved with St. Albans South Signal Box, could you please shed any light on this, i.e. Period in use, purpose, where it went from and to?’

Our answer was: I can add the following information from my files on the Great North Road:

Image 626:(image in slider at the top of the page) The Bridge carrying the Great North Road over the River Lea in 1926 The old bridge over the River Lea on the Great North Road between Stanborough and Valley Road Corner. This was demolished so that the road could be widened. The light railway which was used to bring construction materials to the site can be seen on the right. In the far distance are the cottages at Valley Road Corner.

Image 625: (image in slider at the top of the page) The bridge carrying the Great North Road over the River Lea, 1925/6. The view from the river showing the old brick three arched bridge which carried the Great North Road over the River Lea between Stanborough and Valley Road. The boards in the river are to control the flow of the water whilst the new bridge was being constructed.

Image 627A:(image in slider at the top of the page) The construction of the bridge over the River Lea on the B197. The three arched road bridge over the A1 (now B197) was demolished in the early 1920s and a new bridge created to accommodate the widened road. The river was dammed and the water diverted. A temporary wooden trestle bridge was built to span the river and carry the light railway which brought construction materials to the site. The two supporting sides to the bridge were constructed, each with two arches for strength. Then the bridge was spanned, the road surfaced and the traffic rolled once more along the Great North Road. A plaque bearing the Hertfordshire County Council coat of arms and the date 1927 in the middle of the bridge walls marks the event. Frank Pugh remembers that an initiation rite for boys wanting to join ‘the gang’ was to walk along the top of the bridge wall from one end to the other.

Image 665 (image in slider at the top of the page) Valley Road Corner c.1925 This shows the light railway which went all round the new town of Welwyn Garden City to carry construction materials for houses and roads etc. It also shows the gravel pit at what is now the roundabout on the Lemsford side of the A1(M) flyover. The pair of cottages on the right were demolished in the late 1960s during the construction of the A1(M). I understand the small building by the entrance to Valley Road (at that time the main entrance to WGC) contained information on the housing and business sites etc. for the newly developing town.

Bomb damage to the bridge, 1941 On the 5th of January 1941 the night-watchman guarding the bridge failed to cover his brazier during an air raid making it a target for a passing German bomber. Happily for the night-watchman the bomb landed in soft ground which saved his life but the bridge was damaged and water pipes and telephone wires were cut.

The bridge was impassible for some time whilst it was being repaired and the services reconnected. During this time traffic was re-routed via Lemsford. A three ton limit was put on the bridge by the Long & Short Arm as it was feared that it was not strong enough to bear the weight of the traffic. However as a Crusader tank and a tank transporter went across with no problem the weight restriction was lifted.

The diversion was very bad for trade for the Lemsford café, but even so the lure of Mrs Pugh’s cooking did mean that some lorries, after making the detour, turned down to the café. Further repairs were needed in 1994-5 to take the heavy lorries of the day. The conversation ended with an invite for the group to a signal box in St Albans later on this year.

The second was from Fran Dennison who wrote:

' I have just been given a copy of the magazine ‘Pints of View,’ on the cover is a photo of The Bull at Stanborough,(image in slider at the top of the page) there are two women sitting on the low wall I think they are my mother (Eva Wager nee Crawley) and her sister, (my aunt Irene Tufts) I wonder if you have a date when the photo was taken? it would clarify who the little boy is and who was in the pram. Also, I have a copy of the original photo of the old men leaning against the Long Arm wall with all their names underneath, do you have the names? Will Smith, (Landlord of the Long and Short in 1929) Charlie Timms, (Owned the watercress beds), Bert Wilmot, Sid Bunnage, George Crawley, Alf Tyler (Shepherd Handside Farm ) (Roadsman I think) The second from the right is my grandfather George Crawley, he and his wife Lizzie lived in the cottage next to the pub, my mother was born there and I lived there until the age of 12 when we moved all the way to New Road Stanborough and the cottage was demolished to extend the car park. George and Lizzie moved to Lemsford in the very early 1900’s, Lizzie was from a ‘very good’ family in Kent, she was admonished for not curtsying to the vicar’s wife and replied that she would ‘curtsy at the altar to lord himself but to no one else’ she was also known as a rebel as she didn’t wear black, ever. I hope this might be some use to you and I would be fascinated to know that date. '

We think date of image 1938

We are a small friendly group with a core membership of 15. The cost of a yearly membership is £10 which entitles you to attend all events and reduced entry rates on the quiz and our annual treasure hunt. Being a member will provide you with the opportunity to research any local historical interest you have in the Parish of Lemsford allowing access to archives and many years’ experience from fellow members

LLHG 2001 to Present Day

At Our first meeting in 2001 we elected Revd. Ron Ingamells as Chairman its aim was to study all aspects of the history and the people of this area - both ancient and modern. On passed on the chair to local man Jeremy Summers a retired film director who lived in Cromer Hyde. In 2007 Joan Baraclough a long time member carried on the good work the previous chairman’s had built up with a comprehensive archive collected and collated by late Stan Borrie. Stan’s son Richard built a website for the group. When Joan stepped down in 2011 long term member and local man Andy Chapman became chairman, He continued on the same guidelines, developing the website and overseeing various publications, the regular meetings and the odd trip out. I was during this period we started the annual quiz with Welwyn District History Group which continues to the Day. In 2017 Pete Davis became our 5th Chairman and has continued with the quiz, village fete and regular meetings up to the present time

  • Revd. Ron Ingamells 2001 - 2002
  • Jeremy Summers 2002 - 2007
  • Joan Baraclough 2007 - 2011
  • Andy Chapman 2011 - 2017
  • Pete Davis 2017 - 2018
  • Andy Chapman 2018 - Present Day