Handside Memories

Pre-Campus West Entertainment!

The Cherry Tree
Stanborough Lakes swimming pool

This memory was donated to the Welwyn Garden Heritage Trust by Anne W. and is taken from an interview recorded in July 2009.

“My father had seen an advertisement on Finsbury Park Station where we had been living (not on the station but Finsbury Park) and they had come here in September – I was born in the cottage hospital in December and apart from 8 years I have lived in this house ever since.  My earliest memories really are lying in a cot in the bedroom – my father put shutters up at the windows and hearing the siren go from the Fire Station…”.

“Other earliest memories – arriving at the Convent School with my mother and being taken in by a nun who seemed absolutely enormous at the time.  Another early memory was dancing on the Campus – it must have been VD day and we were doing the Lambeth Walk – I can remember walking to one school  down Parkway  and through Guessens Road – I was at the Convent School until I was 15 and then wanted to be a domestic science teacher so left and went to the Further Education College which was behind Applecroft School  at the time and the principal was Dr Vivian Lloyd who lived in the old cottage and I had a very happy time there – it was totally different from the Convent and my eyes were opened to a certain extent”.

This page was added on 18/01/2011.

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  • My father was a pharmacist and trained in London , doing part of this at Boots , Highbury Corner in Islington ( sadly no longer there) . He moved to Handside Lane in the early 1950s with his elderly parents and started a new job with Roche in Broadwater Road as a Production Pharmacist where he met my mother and remained working there until he retired.
    He lived in his house at number 24 Handside Lane until his death . He was great friends with the family who lived at number 41 Bridge Road ( next door to the Old Cottage) and we attended Dr Murray’s surgery .
    We played endlessly on the green opposite and in the quadrangle where climbing the conker tree was fair sport. There was a great mixture of families and I think I know who you are Ann – was your mother Vera and did you have two daughters?
    I’m still in touch with the son of one of you neighbours ( Handside Lane side ) who now lives in Somerset.
    We spent endless days and nights play tonight the green , tennis, cricket , football and even golf with practice balls – rode our bikes everywhere including Sherrards woods, the Dell and played in the old building yard ( after the fire destroyed it and before Woodside house went up) . The railway line was still there then for rubbish trains to come out of London to wind their way through Ayot to Wheathampstead to the landfill site!
    The A1 at this time was a two lane road that we used to cross at Lemsford to get to our relatives in St Albans and the Long and Short arm pub was named after the two roads that linked it to the A1 . You could walk through the woods to the Waggoner s and Red Lion at Ayot Green where today the parking for each shows the remains of the old road !
    My father had an allotment on Brockswood Lane on the edge of the golf course ( later taken back by the golf club for a practice area) and I can remember the stanborough valley and river before the lakes were there.
    Great memories and happy to share more!

    By Rob Marriott (20/03/2022)
  • Sunday night disco’s at the Cherry Tree, does anyone remember? Held in the function room behind, circa 1974-77?

    By Kim Lakey (nee Layton) (19/10/2018)
  • I lived at No 33 Bridge Road. My father was a dentist (Mr Jenkins) and had the surgery attached to the house. Dr Murray, his wife and children lived next door. He had his surgery there and shared a double driveway with my parents. Whether he used to be at number 39 and moved, I don’t know. But he was our neighbour until his death.

    By Mary (26/08/2018)
  • I have just noticed the reference in the above memory by Anne W to Dr Vivien Lloyd who “lived at the old cottage”. I presume this must be the Old Cottage at 39 Bridge Road. This is well described on this website under “Places” and is the oldest residence in WGC at some 400 years old! Dr Lloyd must have been succeeded by Dr Murray who lived and had his surgery at the Old Cottage from around 1950 (?) until at least 1966 when I last visited him. He was a very “old school” doctor who tended to mumble. Anyone who dared to say “pardon?” was told very gruffly to “wash your ears out”. The cottage apparently looks much the same now as it did in the 1950s.

    By Peter Cockbain (20/04/2018)
  • Remember the jazz club too. Great nights.

    By Bee Wiles (30/08/2017)
  • This raises many old memories of the 1950s , including the swimming pool as in the photo (long before Stanborough Lakes!). The Embassy Cinema, previously the Welwyn Theatre, pedalling madly home up Russelcroft Road after being really spooked by ” The Forbidden Planet” ! Elocution lessons in Handside Hall (?). Spending many hours and days in Sherrards Wood, cubs at The Dell, going up the track from Bridge Road and over the level crossing into the woods and waiting for the little steam trains we called The Luton Flyer. Later on in the late 50s and early 60s , I also remember the great jazz bands that played the Jazz Club at the Cherry Tree, including Terry Lightfoot, Monty Sunshine, even Acker Bilk. Great memories!

    By Peter (05/03/2017)