Elstree and Boreham Wood in old picture postcards

Elstree and Boreham Wood in old picture postcards

Auteur
:   Paul Welsh
Gemeente
:  
Provincie
:   Hertfordshire
Land
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-3013-4
Pagina's
:   80
Prijs
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Elstree and Boreham Wood in old picture postcards'

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INTRODUCTION

Many readers may wonder why I have apparently joined together two separate places for the purpose of this baak. WeIl, the answer is that EIstree and Boreham Wood are inseparable. They share close geographical, church, civil and historical links. In fact they are bath part of the Civil Parish of Elstree.

The parish is the most ancient type of local govemment unit in Europe. In England it has been used for some civil purposes since the eighth century. For local government purposes our area is now part of Hertsmere Borough Council. However, we have still retained the old parish authority, formed in 1894, under its new name of EIstree & Boreham Wood Town Council.

Up until the 1890's EIstree Village remained the central feature of the parish. For hundreds of years it had been an important 'watering-hole' on the raad from London to St. Albans. Evidence of Roman occupation has been found and many historians believe that a Roman town lies undiscovered somewhere in the area.

EIstree Village High Street still retains severa1 historie

buildings. This is despite the 'legal vandalism' that happened during the 1950's and 1960's when many properties were demolished.

The future of the parish was forever changed with the coming of the railway in the 1860's. Ever sin ce the number of buildings and the population has continued to grow.

Boreham Wood, a hundred years ago, was na more than a hamIet clustered around Theobald Street and surrounded by farms. The first factory, Wellington and Wards, arrived in the 1890's. Then in 1914 another factory was built but this one was a manufacturer of dreams ... Neptune Studios. It is unlike1y th at any of the local residents realised they were witnessing the birth of the British Hollywood. Five more studios were to be built in the parish including the massive 120 acre MGM complex. Although all but one were actually situated in Boreham Wood, they all took the name of the parish, thus making the word EIstree synonymous with film-making throughout the world. Nearly every major star has worked or visited here, from Mary Pickford, Buster Keaton and Deuglas

Fairbanks to Gary Cooper, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Sadly , the movie industry declined in the 1960's but two studios still remain ... Thorn-EMI EIstree Studios and the BBC Elstree Centre.

In the 1930's there were plans to extend the Underground Railway to near EIstree Village and to build a 'garden city' style housing estate in Boreharn Wood. Both schemes were started but abandoned with the outbreak of the Second World War.

During the war years Boreharn Wood became almost a garrison town. Soldiers were based here, a prisoner-ofwar camp was set up and the film studios were used for the manufacture of aircraft parts and deception equipment.

The present shape of the parish was moulded in the post-war years. Situated only 13 miles from London and with good road and rail links, Boreharn Wood became an obvious choice for a number of business concerns. The Greater London Council also considered it an ideal site for two large housing estates. Meanwhile, on the other side of the railway tracks, EIstree developed into a wealthy residential area.

The preparation of the material for this book has not been easy. As the archivist for Elstree Archaeological Society and as an Officer of the Town Council, I was concerned th at there was no official collecting undertaken of old photographs of the Parish. So, in 1983 fellow Society member Phil Rose and myself set out to cornpile such a collection, the re sult of which can be seen in this book. We must also thank Derrick Shapland of Hertsmere Borough Council for organising the copying of original postcards and photographs loaned to us.

We must acknowledge the many local historians whose published articles have proved a useful reference souree and the local residents who loaned us their old photographs.

About the author:

The author, Paul Welsh, was bom in Boreharn Wood and is the Entertainments Officer for EIstree and Boreharn Wood Town Council. He also has a unique collection of material on the film studios of Elstree.

1. The postcard illustrates the gathering of villagers to commemorate the ending of the Great War 1914-1918. The photograph was taken on Armistice Day 1923. In the background is the railway bridge. At this time the war memorial was situated at the junction of Shenley Raad and Theobald Street in Boreham Wood. This siting, outside of the New Crown public house, proved to be a traffic hazard in later years, so it was decided to move the memorial. The work was undertaken in 1957 and it is now situated at the other end of Shenley Road. The attractive corner lanterns were sold for a couple of pounds each.

2. In 1986 the Baptist Church celebrates hundred years in Boreham Wood but during that time it has moved three times. The Baptist Church started in a 'chapel in Station Road, which was later converted into a small cinema and is now a public convenience. It then moved to the junction of Shenley Road and Furzehill Road and, as shown here, opened in July 1911. Nearly sixty years later this building was demolished to make way for a shopping parade and a new chureh was constructed a few yards away.

BOREHA:H WOOO. -_ RA YTO. OAO

3. This postcard of Drayton Road is undated but would have been taken in the early 1900's. At one end the road connects with Shenley Road and the other end with Brownlow Road, which was built slightly later. At the top far right stood a rubber factory now occupied by the Rank Company. The terraeed houses are typical of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. Such properties in Boreham Wood could have been purchased for less than BOO even in the early 1950's. The width of Drayton Road is very unusual in Boreharn Wood and illustrates a time when building land was far cheaper and more plentiful than today.

4. The gardens of the Plough public house in EIstree High Street featured in a series of EIstree postcards taken around 1904-1910. The Plough was a regular stop on the London to St. Albans coach runs of the last century. In the late 1920's and early 1930's it was a popular haunt oflegendary film director Alfred Hitchcock, who was under contract to the British International Pictures Studio in Boreharn Wood.

~J..STREE.-THE RESERVOIR HEAO

5. A postcard of Elstree, now Aldenharn Reservoir, showing the Reservoir Head in about 1906. The Reservoir was created in 1793 by Act of Parliarnent. It was built by the Grand Junction Cana1 Company to serve the canal system. Prior to the coming of the railways, the canals played an important part in the transportation of goods around the country. In 1795 the Reservoir consisted of 68 acres and this was increased in 1801 by the purchase of a further 10 acres bought at :t30 per acre. At one time the Reservoir provided the water supply for the area. In the 1970's it was taken over by the Hertfordshire County Council who have created an attractive country park.

WAR MEMO lAL SOREHAM WvUU

6. A view of the Boreham Wood war memorial taken in the late 1920's. In the background can be seen the New Crown public house which dates from the Victorian period. The memorial was eventually moved to the present site, outside of the Red Lion public house, in 1957. This was due to the need to widen the road at the junction of Theobald Street and Shenley Road.

..... _- ..?.

'J .. t!"'! - Ifig'l ""'1''("

7. A postcard of Elstree crossroads taken in the early1900's. In the bottom left hand corner canjust be seen the boundary stone. The crossroads marks the end of Hertfordshire County and the beginning of what was Middlesex County, The crossroads also marks the boundary of three parishes: Elstree, Edgware and Little Stanmore. In 1896 the newly-formed Elstree Parish Council wrote to the county authority asking that all of Elstree Village be incorporated into one parish. Permission was refused and the situation remains confused to this day,

8. A postcard view of EIstree High Street taken in about 1908. The church is clearly visible on the right, Next to it are two possibly seventeenth century cottages, which were demolished in the mid1950's. The buildings on the right in the foreground are the Saint Nichelas Church of England School built in 1884. A new school was constructed off the High Street in the 1950's but these buildings have survived, although used for other purposes.

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