THE ROAD AND PLACE NAMES OF HEMEL HEMPSTEAD
Mike Stanyon, then Dacorum Heritage Officer, rose during one of the Society’s monthly meetings to ask a question that has since given rise to a great deal of heartache and headache, but above all a sense of achievement in a project that is still in development.
The question was whether there were any members who would be interested in taking on the task of identifying the road names of the Town, and their derivations. Two or three tentative hands were raised and there began, dare it be said, the journey down the road towards piecing together the road names of Hemel Hempstead, and the reasons for their being named as they are.
The project, as I have said continues to this day, and is around 85% of the way towards completion. However, this will probably never be a complete exercise, because the Council in their wisdom insist on blatantly building more and more roads!
The journey thus far has taken us on a remarkable journey through Tithe Maps, Heavenly bodies, Rivers, other New towns, Literature, History, World wars, Town history, the Town Council, Mayors & Aldermen, Family history, and even Murder!
From the original project has sprung a secondary project, this one looking at the old names of the Town, and trying to find out where they came from as well. Such wonderful names as Rabbit Hutch Row, Cut off Head Lane, Chimney Pot Lane and Moses Amos’ Bottom, all come readily to mind.
It is a fascinating subject that has provided a great deal of interest for those who have been involved along the way, and with a local publisher awaiting the finished article for possible publication, it is something well worth seeing through to the bitter end.
If there are any other members out there who would be interested in helping out please do come forward, extra hands are always welcome.
Please also let us know if there are specific area’s you are interested in, be it your own road name, the name of an area of the town, or a name you have heard of and would like to know more about.
In closing, it would be of enormous help, with the older names in particular, if you have any old road maps you would like to donate, or old maps that we could perhaps copy and return.
If you can help in any way please contact either Roy or Margaret Wood on HH398285, or e-mail Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org