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: Visit to HALS - What did you discover?  ( 4692 )


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Visit to HALS - What did you discover?
« : March 21, 2013, 12:04:32 PM »
Good seeing everyone at HALS yesterday.

I think it's worthwhile, while still fresh in our minds, to summarise what we each found as I for one was pre-occupied with what I was doing and as a result did not necessarily know what others were discovering in parallel.  So, in order to cross reference information, it's worth writing it all down in one place.

To start off... on the subject of when Smallford [of today] became known as Smallford I came across a very old map which predates Ordnance Survey, the 1766 Dury and Andrews map, which showed what we now know of as Smallford, as "Four Wants" - in a nearby field (near where Boissy Close is situated nowadays) there is the word "Small Foot" - perhaps a map makers error for "Small Ford"?  Unsure...

Moving forwards in time, to the Tithe period, the Tithe maps clearly show an area marked as Smallford down by Colney Heath Lane where there still stands Smallford Farm and Smallford Cottage.  Where Smallford is now, it is referred to as "The Horseshoes".  Likewise, early Ordnance Survey maps show comparable markings, placing Smallford quite a bit away from where it is now accepted to be.

Looking at old Colney Heath newsletter/bulletins, there was a map drawn in 1993 by Kevin Fahey which shows Smallford as being in the middle of some fields located just south of Hollybush Hall.  The map has a few sources, all of which are mentioned in the front cover of the newsletter and I will attach them when I have gone through the photos.  From memory though, one was an old Ordnance Survey map, and ownership of all the local fields which is also shown on the map, comes from the old Tithe records.

Furthermore, also written in the bulletin is the following text, "Horseshoes Village - The settlement probably grew up after the road was turnpiked in the eighteenth century but in 1348 reference was made to 'the way which leads from St Albans to Hertford called Le Longelane'. Later, in 1437, the junction was called 'Smallfordwent' - crossroads leading to the small ford."

An interesting point to note, nowhere that I have seen has there been any reference (other than modern, post 1990) to the term "Horseshoes Village" - instead it has always been "The Horseshoes" on old maps etc.  presumably, as it was not considered a village at all as it was just an area of fields.

I will try to upload some photos of maps etc. as soon as possible once I have gone through them.

Has anybody come across "Four Wants" before, or does anybody know what it might have referred to?

I look forward to hearing about everyone elses' finds.


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Re: Visit to HALS - What did you discover?
« #1 : March 22, 2013, 08:16:45 PM »
Having ordered R614-616, I received an email telling me that R615 was not available, either to the public or to the staff. I was told at the desk that R615 was probably a copy of one of the ones I was given; the problem was probably that it was delicate, and its repair would probably be a long-term project, so its unlikely that we'll see it in 2013.

I'll start with R616; this is the 1862 Plans and Sections of the Hatfield & St. Alban's Railway. I photographed the cover and pages of this document, with my own compact camera (yes, I did pay the £5 fee). Jeff also photographed it, using the group's camera; I noticed that the quality of the group's was better than mine (as one would expect, being a compact). All the properties affected by the plan were marked and numbered.

R614 goes hand-in-hand with R616, being entitled Book of Reference; it gives the owners and occupiers of each property, using the numbers shown in R616: the Marquis of Salisbury figures very prominently as a land-owner. I photographed the cover and pages.

I then looked at R605-607; these were the same document (with very minor variations) of the 1845 Plans and Sections of what the cover says is "A Proposed Railway Hertford, Hatfield and St. Alban's"; this title was crossed out and replaced by a hand-written "Hatfield and Hertford Junction Railway", which, despite the new title, covered a route from Hertford, via Hatfield, to St. Alban's. This plan did not materialise into a railway. I photographed this document.

R610 was a Book of Reference to go with R605-607, in the same style as the 1862 plan, above. I photographed the pages covering the route between St. Alban's and Hertford. If we later think we want to cover the whole route, we will have to retrieve this document.

As I was about to leave, one of the staff passed me DE/X997/1, which one of our group had ordered, but no-one had looked at, and I was the last one there. It was a commercially-produced photograph of Mr and Mrs North, Mr North being Station Master of Smallford Station. I photographed this item, including the back, on which a hand-written note had been made. Unfortunately, the quality of my photograph, under the lighting conditions there, leaves something to be desired, so I suggest we need to revisit this document.

I noticed that the routes of the two plans were different from each other, so presenting us with an interesting little project.

As I have 66 photographs to pass on, I will not email them, but will arrange to pass them  on using a USB stick at some point.

I have just bought a DSLR camera, so expect to have better-quality pictures from future visits, if I use my own camera.


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Re: Visit to HALS - What did you discover?
« #2 : March 23, 2013, 09:15:07 PM »
Hi All,

For those who haven't seen my lengthier post-visit email, here are my main observations, as requested:

My aim was to look at maps, railway-,related documents and any images that would help me to understand the development of the branch and Smallford Station, in particular in its latter days.

I managed to see a number of relevant maps and documents which related to them, and Jon Musk kindly helped with photography of the large-scale OS maps most pertinent to my aims; I look forward to seeing copies of the 'targeted' photos in particular, in due course.

Reassuringly, I learnt that I had not been led astray by any of the relevant material I had previously seen elsewhere, and that there was also a lot of interesting 'background' info in the Archives, to 'explain' developments more fully.

What I plan to do next is progress my developing ideas about the station area around  the late 50's/early 60's, if possible with more input from folk who have relevant memories of it, and possibly also the earlier history of Wilkins Green Terrace.

I'd like to visit HALS again, to ensure there's nothing else of importance to my researches in the Local Studies  Book collection (which I only had time to look at very selectively), in terms of images mostly, and will probably wait for a further group visit to be arranged to do this.