13 June, 2012
'emel 'empstead in 'ertfordshire
Another in my series on new towns. Hemel Hemptead was designated a new town in 1947 and the first residents moved in in 1949, despite opposition by the locals. Arriving in the town there was a fountain near St John's Church Boxwmoor, to commemorate the tercentenary of the first translation of the bible. The heart of the new town is Marlowes, which is the main shopping street and has replaced the old high street. There is a market place which had a flea market when I called with the Salvation Army meeting hall and the bus station adjacent. Like most new towns Hemel Hempstead has lots of artworks to enhance to urban environment. This one shows the four stages of humanity from hunter to machine age and leisure at home. Another shows Hemel Hempstead's place in Hertfordshire. This appears on the side of a car park. The old village contains some well preserved old houses. The charter tower is in the back garden of the registry office and tradition has it that Henry VIII handed the charter to the townspeople from the upper window here. Alas this cannot be true as the charter was granted long before the tower was built. There are some old houses in the high street, and an old galleried inn.