Friday, 20 June 2008


St Paul's Hospital originally opened in 1836 as the workhouse for the Hemel Hempstead Union, which consisted of the parishes of Bovingdon, Flaunden, Great Gaddesden, Hemel Hempstead and Kings Langley . The workhouse had an infirmary with 224 beds to house patients who were aged, infirm or chronically ill. The workhouse and infirmary were situated in Allendale Road in Hemel Hempstead. From April 1930 under the Local Government Act 1929, responsibility for the workhouses, including workhouse infirmaries, passed from the Boards of Guardians to the County Council's Dacorum Guardians Committee, which was responsible for the area of the former Hemel Hempstead Union plus part of the former Berkhamsted Union. The workhouse became known as Hempstead House. In May 1936 the Berkhamsted workhouse closed and Hempstead House became responsible for the poor, including the sick poor, of the entire Dacorum Guardians Committee area. During the Second World War it was occupied by the evacuated section of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London. In February 1942 there were 106 evacuated children there.
The building became part of St Paul's Hospital after the war, then part of Hemel General, but was demolished several years ago and the site is now housing.

Thursday, 19 June 2008


This viaduct is around about where the Magic roundabout is now, If you look through the arch you can see Apsley.

A train crosses the Marlowes viaduct The Nicky Line Railway, as it is known now opened in July 1877 and ran from the centre of Hemel Hempstead through Redbourn to Harpenden . The main railway line we all know today which runs through Boxmoor and on to Berkhamsted, Tring and the Midlands, or to Euston in the opposite direction, had opened in 1837, but the station (in the same place as it is today) was called Boxmoor and was a long way from the town of Hemel Hempstead when there were no cars or buses.So the local people wanted a better trains service and that's how the Nicky line came about.It was hoped to link it up to the other line at Boxmoor Station, but that was owned by another company and they would not agree.

The line from Hemel Hempstead began at Heath Park where there was a little station called Heath Park Halt.The line then crossed Marlowes on a viaduct (bridge) round the back of what is now the Marlowes Shopping Centre to Hemel Hempstead Midland Station.

A goods train at Hemel Midland station. Circa 1949

The Midland Station in Hemel Hempstead - you can see the Midland Hotel in the background That was opposite the Midland Hotel (pub) which still stands today in Midland Hill.The hotel was built to serve the railway in 1899.The line then ran across to what we know today as Highfield, but in those days was all farmland.In the Highfield area was a little station called Godwins Halt. This was named after a local man who owned land in the area.The line then ran through what we know as Cupid Green where there were brickworks and on to Redbourn.The railway continued to be used by both passengers and goods services right through until 1947.In 1947, the passenger service stopped, but goods traffic continued continued for many years. The station finally closed in 1963.

I do not know if this has anything to do with Midland station but if you stand facing the midland pub and look to the right across the side road you will see a small grassed area with a wall running along, well under that grassed area are a number of very large underground tunnels there is a main tunnel with small ones running off. The reason I know this is because as a kid some friends and me used to crawl through a small whole on the other side of the wall, which is all, overgrown now and use these tunnels as a sort of camp.

This picture shows The bridge across station road (close to Heath Park Halt.) The picture was taken shortly before the line closed.

The line in the town centre area disappeared as the new town was built in the 1950s and in 1959 the viaduct across Marlowes was knocked down.For a time in the 1960s the line between Cupid Green and Harpenden was used by the Hemellite company which made building materials at Cupid Green.Eventually the whole line closed, but it is not forgotten.It has now been turned into a special walk and many of the old bridges remain - the one across Queensway is probably the best known.Why is it called the Nicky Line?A number of reasons have been put forward, but no-one has ever really been able to say their answer is right.The trains that ran on the line were known around Hemel Hempstead as Puffing Annie!This was because they produced a lot of smoke as they climbed the hill from the town centre to Highfield and Cupid Green.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008


This was Hemel's first cinema called the Princess which was
situated roughly where the Civic Centre is today it was built
before the first world war. There was no electricity supply in
the town, so they had to generate their own. They had a
detached building at the rear where there were two engines
to generate the power. the cinema was demolished in 1962.

The second cinema was called the Luxor and was built next to where woolworths is now, It closed in 1959 and was demolished in 1960.

The Odeon not sure when it was built but it shut down and was made into a JD Wetherspoon pub which opened in july of 1998.

And now the present day Cinema in Hemel. The Empire in
jarman Park Leasure world with 13 screens. Rumours are
that the whole of leasure world is to be demolished if that
is true where wil the next cinema be.


This picture is of the first bus ever used in Hemel and it was used in the early 1890's

The Marlowes has undergone a few changes as you can see from these photo's.

The first picture from 1906 is of a Very early bus with public baths/waterworks on the left. The roof of the Baptist Church can be seen on the right.

This picture is from 1966 the bridge spanning the main shopping street it was an ideal way when Marlowes was open to traffic for pedestrians to cross from one side to the other under cover, it lead on the right hand side to the popular Wimpy Bar, but it never really caught on and was demolished as Marlowes was pedestrianised and the Marlowes Centre built.

An now present day marlowes all pedestrianised with the market stalls running down the middle and an indoor shopping mall with a number of cafe's and bars.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008


Hemel Hempstead is a town in Hertfordshire, England, It was developed after WorldWarII as a new town, it originaly was a settlement in the 8th century and is mentioned in the Doomsday book. It is part of the district of Dacorum .

The Borough of Dacorum is situated in Hertfordshire, England.
The main towns are Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring and Kings Langley. A large part of the Borough is rural with many picturesque villages.
The population is around 137,000.
The name "Dacorum" comes from mediaeval times. Dacorum came from one of the County's ancient land divisions, known as "hundred".

Hemel Hempstead was originaly a settlement which went by the name Henamsted or Hean-Hempsted, i.e. High Hempstead, in Anglo-Saxon times by the name of

Hemel-Amstede.The name is referred to in the Domesday Book as "Hamelamesede" . People today say simply "Hemel".