3 Mile House Lane

An email sent to our secretary

By Jane Cook

Dear Mr Hanlon

I just wondered whether the local historical society has any interest in the more recent history of St Albans. Just in case they do, below is the story of what was probably the first house built in the town after WWII.

Just after the war Fred and Connie Cook were living with Fred's godparents, the Parkers, who ran the village shop in London Colney. Meanwhile they were involved in the building of their own home on a one-third of an acre site on the corner of Mile House Lane, opposite the Mile House pub. (One thing noted was a large quantity of oyster shell in the garden which, we were told, was a sign of previous Roman occupation.)

I gather they had a self-employed builder (whose name, I'm sorry to say, I've forgotten) for the actual construction, while Fred - an electronic engineer employed at Marconi Instruments - having designed the house, did the wiring, and Connie did the interior decorating.

The site on which Number Three (as it came to be known, there being no number 1 in the road) was constructed had been used during the war by the Home Guard. A brick ammo shed - and a lot of trenches! - remained from their occupation. The house was built largely from reclaimed materials, the woodwork, including the doors, being of solid oak.

Mum and Dad didn't quite manage to get the place finished by the time I was born in the January of 1947 and so my carrycot would be propped up on logs to keep me out of the snow of that famous winter while they worked on our home (perhaps the reason I'm quite fond of cold weather!) Sadly, by the time I was 8, my parents' finances forced them to sell our home, but I still remember it with great fondness. (The sale price was £3000.)

If there's anything else you'd like to know about Number Three and its environs I'd be more than pleased to try to help.

Best wishes,     Jane Cook

PS      I have very clear memories of living at my favourite home surrounded by lovely elms (I fear probably gone by now) and also things like walking down to the stream by the old mill where Mum used to warn me not to pick the watercress because of the danger of liver flukes! Of course, in the early days food was still rationed, and Mum grew all our own fruit and vegetables, and our chickens provided free-range eggs (everything organic of course).

This page was added by Brian Bending on 07/05/2010.

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