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Topics - Mike Neighbour

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« on: August 02, 2013, 10:07:08 AM »
Resulting from the review meeting on August 1st, it is clear that almost all activity has focused on the railway station and its branch line.  The Project does have another focus, which is the settlement itself.  Are there any other Project followers who are interested in exploring the growth of the hamlet further?  I have emailed to Jeff this morning a spreadsheet I created some time back of the owners/occupiers of business/commercial sites in and around Smallford, which appeared in the Villages section of residential directories up to and including 1960.  It was created as a background to research, but for archiving purposes will need to undergo verification (i.e. checking that I did actually record the data in the correct row and column!)  In addition, directories are known to have got their facts wrong from time to time, and the opportunity should be taken at some point to cross-reference the data with other sources, where available.  But it is a start, and better starting here than at the beginning!  And it will be interesting to extend the data in both directions – back to the 19th century and forward to today.

In an attempt to roll this part of the project into action, perhaps we could work on the spreadsheet, and maybe create a map to locate each of the sites. 

An Excel version of the spreadsheet is attached, but I am happy to send a .pdf or .numbers version to anyone who wants one.

General Discussion / WHAT'S IN A NAME?
« on: March 30, 2013, 02:21:48 PM »
Recently, when we were group emailing, Chris posted "it is evident that this name has denoted different areas over the years. The area we now know as Smallford was, in the past, either Horseshoes or Wilkins Green. When the station was called Springfield Station was that at Wilkins Green or Horseshoes? Relating the change of name being applied to the area because of the Station name change would be a bonus."  (Hope you don't mind me quoting you, Chris).

I replied with the following, and thought it would be useful to add it here, so that others can add their own comments and views.

Horseshoes or Smallford?  Very confusing.  We might like to ponder over these possibilities.  

1. Historically, local rural names often centred on the farm of the same name.  That takes us over to Smallford Farm, and maybe the former community along Barley Mow Lane (and maybe in other locations where those dwellings are no longer standing).  But between there and Smallford Lane and farm there was another farm  (Butterwick), which may confuse the issue.

2.  What about thinking of the name itself?  Small Ford.  This required a (small) stream or river to cross (ford).  We know of other east-flowing chalk streams nearer St Albans, now lost because of a lower water table.    Perhaps someone knows of a dry valley aligned N to S which would, maybe, have flowed into the Colne  at some time in the past.  A dry version of Boggy Mead Spring or Ellen Brook.

3.  Does anyone know when Smallford civil parish was formed?  It is the name of the parish which is printed on the OS maps, not a place, and that covers a larger area than simply a single place.  Was it formed when the bypass was built, or is it much older than that?  Is it subservient to Colney Heath PC?

4.  Do you think a parish needs to have a nucleus of houses and other buildings to attach itself to?  If so, might it be for this reason that Horseshoes became known as Smallford after WW2, in an age of greater administration?  I wonder whether there were any objections to this name change from people then living at Horseshoes?.  This is an interesting point because it begs the question, who is entitled to change the name of a place?  I am sure most people know that Oaklands College now calls its place at Oaklands  the Smallford campus!  How expansive can Smallford get?

5.  Christopher, you mentioned Springfield Station.  I thought there might have been a nearby field of that name, but could find none in the tithe records.  [Christopher discovered on his HALS visit that there was indeed a field called 'Springfield'. This was to the North of Wilkins Green Lane and roughly where the houses now stand just off Station Road. The road further north is Springfield Road']  Once renamed Smallford Station was it easier to think of Horseshoes as "the place near to Smallford Station?"  And was the lane called Smallford Lane all the way from Colney Heath to Horseshoes – before, that is, the bit between the station and Horseshoes was named (by someone) Station Road,  presumably after the railway opened!

These questions should open up a discussion, shouldn't they?

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