Enquiry page

We will try to help you find the answers to your local questions.

If you have an enquiry about the history of St Albans or Hertfordshire, or can help with an earlier enquiry, please add a comment at the bottom of this page. We often can't answer a question but can only suggest sources for research and it is important to know about the work you have already done.

  • Do you know St Albans well?
  • What sources have you already investigated?
  • Do you live here and have access to our libraries?
  • Do you have any connection with a property you are asking about?
  • Have you visited the Hertfordshire Libraries websites?
  • Have you considered the County Archives at HALS?

Don't forget that the Society's library can provide information on a range of local queries; check with the library team who may already have the answer!

We recommend the website Genealogy in Hertfordshire which is run by Chris Reynolds, who is also much more able to help if you can give details of your previous research.

Be sure to leave your email address so we can get back to you.

This page was added by Brian Bending on 10/07/2012.
Comments about this page

I am looking for a family that I was a pen pal of 60 years ago the name was Brian Howard they lived at 39 Prospect Rd St Albans.
In 1953 they sent my baby son a Coronation Crown & bible & I would like to make contact with a member of the family to let them know that my son Jim still has the Crown & Bible & also the letter they wrote. Hope you can help.
Regards, Kath Lelliott


Attempted reply. Address rejected

By Kath Lelliott
On 11/07/2012

I am looking for any information on Peter George Hammond, aged 26, who lived or stayed at 29 Royston Road in St Albans in January 1940. He was a soldier, possibly American, and had arrived from Lagos, West Africa on the 'Abosso' on the 28th January 1940, and gave his UK address as Royston Rd on the passenger list. Would be very grateful if anyone recognises him.

In progress

By Deborah Madell
On 02/11/2012

A person on my familt tree was born at Hamaro House(?) in Grange Street, St Alban's in 1906. Despite having been down the house and looking aat resources, I have been unable to trace this address

In progress

By Mrs Janet Wyatt
On 27/11/2012

Whilst researching my ancestors, I discovered that my Great Great Grandfather Richard Hammond moved from Devon to St Albans between 1841 and 1851 with his wife Elizabeth. The 1851 cencus shows him living at Aster Hill with wife children. His occupation is given as Gardener. The Hammonds are listed along with other servants etc as living at Aster House in the parish of St Johns. I can find no info on Aster House and was wondering if it still exists. The family moved back to Devon before the next census in 1861. I would be grateful for any information you might have on Aster House and who lived there. Regards Jeff Hammond

Answered privately

By Jeff Hammond
On 27/11/2012

Hi, I am looking for information regarding the building I work in, 1 Holywell Hill St Albans. It was formally The Swan Inn going by a plan we have within the showroom as of 23rd January 1674 in Probate of William Jones, Saddler. If you are able to help I would appreciate it. Kind regards Marsha

Answered privately

By Marsha Trew
On 24/11/2013

Can anyone tell me if a shop call whitehouse or whitehead was ever in St Albans.

Further details are as follows:


My mum said we had family connections with St albans before 1800- 1900. I believe the name is Whitehouse.
we have a great great grandmother called Elizebeth Ann Whitehouse born Luton Beds 1853, and we believe it was her family that had the shop.

By sidney king
On 28/04/2014

Hi im trying to find out about my dads family, the Clarry's they had a farm at Cheapside Farm , i know some of them played football for St Albans and were associated with St Stephens church. also my aunt is buried there and I dont know how to find out where her grave is please help. thank you.

Answered privately

By leanne panting
On 27/04/2014

My great-great-great grandparents, William Warren and Martha Element (or Elment) were married at St Albans Abbey on 28 March 1799. Would it be possible for me to obtain a copy of their marriage certificate from the Cathedral or another source? Quite happy to pay a fee.

Answered privately

By Geoff Warren
On 29/05/2014

Answered privately.GPMcS

By Martha Rojas
On 30/09/2014


I am trying to find out about 'Glenside Maternity Home' which was in Carlisle Avenue in St Albans in the 1920s.  My grandfather was born there and I haven't been able to find any record of the place so far.  Just wondering if anyone has heard of it and could tell me a bit more about it.




Answered privately.

By susan
On 03/01/2015


I'm the Curator at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL, undertaking research into the distribution of artefacts excavated in Egypt between 1880 and 1980 (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/petrie/research/research-projects/AHRC_project ). I note from http://www.stalbanshistory.org/documents/1890_1891_00_.pdf that some antiquities from the Egypt Exploration Fund were exhibited at the Architectural and Archaeological Society. Does anyone know what happened to them subsequently? Many thanks.


Answered privately.

By Alice Stevenson
On 22/01/2015

I have moved from St Albans to Houghton Conquest, Bedfordshire. The local church, All Saints, has extremely faded wall paintings. I have searched in vain for any reproduction of how they may have looked in earlier times. Any help appreciated.

By Rodney Hale
On 02/03/2015

In August 1945 the then Dean of St Albans (Very Rev Thicknesse, I believe) made national headlines for refusing to allow the Abbey to be used for a service of thanksgiving - on the grounds that ending the war by atom-bombing Hiroshima & Nagasaki was unacceptably barbaric and unchristian.Do you have any further details of this event? 

Many thanks

Answered privately G P McS

By C R Hill
On 15/06/2015

Good afternoon - I am trying to find a photo (not postcard) of the Cattle Market held in St Albans in the early 1900's - can you advise who I could contact to source such a thing - it is for a gift. Many thanks

Unable to contact by email. If not too late, try http://www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk/verulamium/

& ask for photo dept.



By Ruth de Groot
On 19/06/2015


i am trying to find out any information about a childrens home that was on King Harry Lane in 1943, my mother was there from a baby until she was fostered a few years later. she believes the home to be called St Lawrence childrens home, although i have searched numourous sites, i am unable to find anything. i would really like to trace her life, but am stuck at the first stage. i hope someone can help

kind regards


Answered by Email. (There was a 'Lawrence Home' No 26) GPMcS

By catherine lloyd
On 24/07/2015

Further to the enquiry by Catherine Lloyd. The Lawrence Children's Home was indeed situated at 26 King Harry Lane, and I was there myself as a young child between 1949 and 1953. The building, originally named 'Campbellfield', was run by the Public Assistance Committee of Hertfordshire County Council and had been gifted to the Council in 1938 by the then owner Sir Walter Lawrence of Hyde Hall, Sawbridgeworth, who was a master builder and cricket enthusiast. 'Campbellfield' was originally owned by Andrew McIlwraith, a successful businessman, who retired to and died in Salcombe, Devon.  

I, too, have always had great difficulty in researching the history  of the Lawrence Children's Home so can readily understand Catherine's frustration. The only item I have ever read about it is a short article with a b/w photograph entitled 'New Convalescent Home' from an unknown edition of the 'Herts Advertiser' in 1938.

The Home was eventually demolished, I believe, sometime in the 1970's. If anyone can add any further detail to the history of the Home then I would be very pleased to hear more.

Many thanks,


By Peter Thompson
On 23/08/2015

Does anyone know what happened to Ragged Hall, off Stanley Avenue?

Answering by email GMcS

No response

By Ron Cave
On 20/09/2015

I'm transcribing a 1952 travel diary of a cousin who toured from London to St Albans. Her writing is small and sometimes hard to decipher. She mentions having tea at a quaint little restaurant on the far side away from town having to walk via Fishpool St to go back to the bus. The writing looks like "Sully or Sally Runner or Ruins" Any ideas from older locals?

Sally Lunn Tea Room(s). Closed  years ago. Answered by email. G P McS (No reply)


By Denise Bosse
On 03/01/2016

I'd like to buy a copy of the book A Local St Albans History by Tony Billings, local author, but I can't track the book anywhere to purchase [there is a copy in the library, published 2002]. Does anyone know this local historian's contact details?

Thank you, Stephanie 

Passed to Tony. GMcS

By Stephanie
On 18/01/2016

My family (the Hill's of Hatfield) have always believed that an ancestor, George Ruffett had been Landlord of 'The Fighting Cocks' in the 1850's. Can anyone provide information regarding this or how we can investigate landlords of the past. George Ruffet was also associated with The Butcher's Arms (1871) and The Prince of Wales (1861) in Park Street, Hatfield. Many thanks, Carol Miles

Answered by email. Ruffet was the publican from c.1851 to c.1857. JM

By Carol Miles (nee Gell)
On 20/01/2016

In response to Catherine's enquiry about Lawrence House, the children's home operated until Mid 1970 when it was closed. The children and staff moved to a new purpose built home in Jupiter Drive, Hemel Hempstead. 

By Tony
On 06/04/2016


Where might I locate the various materials on the surnames within http://www.stalbanshistory.org/documents/1932_09_.pdf ?

Thank you!

By Susan Hathaway
On 13/04/2016

I am writing on behalf of St Albans Warlords - a wargaming group meeting on Sundays at the Royal British Legion in Verulam Road between 4pm & 10pm. 


It is our intention to recreate the first battle of St Albans as a participation game that can be taken to shows to promote the club, St Albans and the Wars of the Roses as a gaming period.


We are currently at the planning stage and are recreating in 1/56th scale a model of St Peters St including the Chequers, the keys and the Castle Inns, the Clock tower and the Eleanor cross.

I would be very grateful if anyone could furnish any information as to what the St Albans Eleanor cross looked like and whether or not the market place, and adjoining streets would have been cobbled in 1455.

many many thanks in advance

Trevor Gillard

Answered by library staff


By Trevor Gillard
On 13/04/2016

I am writing to you from Shoreline, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. I am planning a family reunion for our family which will be held on July 9, 2016. Our family originated in Nottingham, England. One family member, a schoolmaster Robert William Fox, moved to St. Albans from Nottingham and taught school in St. Albans for his entire teaching career. The dates were approximately 1890 to 1918. I am wondering if archives exist of staff portraits from that era? I am writing a booklet of the life of my great-great grandfather and Robert William Fox was his nephew. Robert William Fox married Margaret Ann Kendle in 1898 and they had one child, a son named Robert Frank Fox. He was born and raised in St. Albans. When he was just 18 years old, he enlisted in the British Army and was sent to France to fight during WWI. After just three weeks, he was killed by German artillery fire. His name appears on the WWI Memorial in Somme, France and also on the WWI Memorial in St. Albans. I am wondering if any class photos might exist or school records with photos? There is an existing photo online showing the entire Army regiment he was assigned to but sadly the names of the soldiers are not listed on the photo. I assume Robert Frank Fox was in school in St. Albans around 1902-1914 so if photos or portraits exist, they would be from that approximate time frame. If there is anyone in your historical society who might be able to research possible available photos from that era, I would gladly pay for the time and any other costs plus make a donation. Thank you for any help or response you might be able to provide me. Very gratefully yours,Kathi Peterson


Replied to by a Society member via email


By Kathi Peterson
On 07/06/2016

I would like any information, documents etc concerning the development of College Street. In particular I am interested in the end of the street starting at 2  to 6 which was not developed into housing until the 1920's. Many thanks David Squire


Replied to by library staff via email.

By David Squire
On 05/07/2016

Hi, I am walking to St Albans on 11th August on the trail of the Eleanor Crosses. I have a bit of info about the cross at St Albans & that it probably stood where the clock tower now stands. please would you point me in the direction of further infomation about Queen Eleanor's connections with St Albans. Kind regards, Nicola


Replied to by email

By Nicola Stell
On 01/08/2016

Hi. I am trying to research the history of the house we live in at 8 Abbey Mill Lane, St Albans. The  survey states a build date of 1867, but I have a feeling this is more of a guess than an accurate date. I have looked in St Albans library but can only find a map of 1878 which clearly shows it in its current form rather than as a previous building on the same plot. I was told it was once called Postmasters Cottage from someone who knew it many years ago.  It is currently called 'Drakes Drum', renamed by Alan Drake, the once owner of the Herts Ad when he lived here. Any help would be much appreciated.

By Ian Woodroof
On 08/02/2017

Hello, I so want to learn about my home (28 Beaconsfield Road) . I have searched in the appropriate places and found these people to be the owners. If any of you might know these people, relatives for friends...I so want to hear from you PLEASE. I would love to see old photos, hear stories etc.

House Built 1903

1911- Mrs Martin(house was called Valletta)

till about 1930 the following people also lived at 28 Beaconsfield Road:

- Emily Susan Martin

- Emily Alice Martin

- Amy Constance Evans

- R.M Martin

1933-Mrs. M Sutton

1940 - Alfred Williams

1946 - 1958 Madam Merodi *****This is intriguing. Does anyone know anything of the Madam

1964- 1967 Geo R Asthon

1970 Peril Thos

1972-73 William Fox

Thank you so so much.


Kind regards


By Constance Uzwyshyn
On 13/02/2017

Hi, I am trying to find out more about St Albans Architect, Thomas Hill, who became a secretary of your venerable society in 1859. I believe he was a colleague and collaborator of the Reverend John Louis Petit, who I am researching in relation to a building that he and Hill built in Staffordshire.

I wonder if someone at the society can shed some more light on Thomas Hill. I'm quite unsure of his birth and death dates and, most of all, I'd love to know if his plans and drawings survive today.

I hope you can help.

Kind regards



By Gareth Evans
On 10/04/2017

Hi. I live in Dorset now,but lived in Shenley till I was 18. My mother said I was born in Batlers Green which was used in the war as a maternity home.(I was born in 1943). I would love to have a photo of this and know more of the history. I can only find details of the current village shops but nothing of the past.

By Dilys Adams
On 03/07/2017

I am writing to you from Philadelphia, USA, on behalf of my mother, who is from Hertfordshire. She remembers being taken as a girl to a re-enactment of Boadicea's battles (Boadicea rode in on a horse). It was in St. Albans, and would have been sometime between 1950 and 1955. Does anyone know where we could find a photo or brochure (or any other information) about this event? Being overseas we don't have access to your libraries. Any help would be much appreciated. Best wishes and thanks, Ben Callard



By Ben Callard
On 13/08/2017

Does anyone have a copy of 'A history in all men's lives' edited by Brian Moody and I think published in 1999, which I could purchase.

Answered privately by email.

By Pat Nellist
On 30/08/2017

I am researching the Winch family from Brompton, Yorkshire. I have discovered that in Nov 1916 Elizabeth Maud Winch gave her address as Clarendon Hotel, 27 Market Place, St Albans on an application form for a war pension in relation to her deceased son. I have read the information on this site about the Clarendon Temperance Hotel moving to Market Place. I would be interested to know more about this hotel, including: would it have been a cheap/expensive place to stay? did it have links with the Church of England (Mrs Winch was the wife of a C of E vicar)? was it usual for people to lodge there for long periods of time? Many thanks.


Replied by email

By Alison Boyd
On 12/09/2017

I'm trying to locate a photograph of the Internationl Grocery Store which was located next to the Boot Alley in the Market Place in the 1940's. Can you please help.Regards   Eric Budworth.


By Eric Budworth
On 13/01/2018

I am one of the Trustees of St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust. As you know we have restored and opened to the public St Albans South Signal Box adjacent to the City Station. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the line through St Albans and the Trust hopes to commemorate this during Heritage Open Weekend in September. We have a good selection of railway photographs of the St Albans area although most of these date from the 1940s onwards. We have little prior to this and wonder if the Society has any suitable material that we could display as well. If no specific railway subjects are held do you have pictures of St Albans from the 1860s that could be made available?

By Richard Kirk
On 25/01/2018

I was born in Verulamium House on the 10th September 1940, I have my birth certificate. I know that the building was used during WW2 as a maternity hospital and as my Mother Gladys Elliott lived in Edmonton North London ,which at that time was a potentially dangerous place to be, I assume that she was moved to the relative safety of St.Albans. I have always wondered how she got there, my Dad was in the army, and how long she was stayed there.

I realise that a record of this type of information probably no longer exists but if it does would you be able to advise me where I should apply for the information.

I live in Australia and am unable to travel to England. Many Thanks in advance, Brian Elliott



By Brian Elliott
On 25/02/2018

I have recently uncovered a WW2 Airraid shelter at the end of my garden in the Beech Road area of St. Albans. Before I excavate it any further are their any local historians / archeologists who would be interested in digging it out? I don't know how common these still are in St. Albans and I want to preserve it as far as possible.  It isn't a typical Anderson shelter as it has a solid concrete top, and even a chimney that has been filled in.  

By Massimo Federici
On 23/03/2018

Hello, I am interested in any information about Orchard Street in St Albans, down near the Abbey Orchard. I have contacted the Local studies section of our library, looked at maps and found that the street seems to have been built between 1835 - 1891. There does not seem to be any directory entry re Orchard street construction, the only reference I have found is regarding the War Memorial. I am particularly interested in the reasons for construction  especially regarding any input from the Abbey. Of course any direction to sources of information would be gratefully received.

Thank you  Lorraine Beck

By Lorraine Beck
On 14/04/2018

Hello, I'm looking to obtain any information available on the Roman Road that runs from Potten End village through to Frithsden.

I understand this road was built by the Romans but was later modified by the Third Earl of Bridgewater. I'm looking to obtain any available information in order to better understand the history of the road (rough time period of construction, under which Roman leader etc.) Any information would be great appreciated

By Rick
On 09/07/2018

Can anyone tell me who (or what) "Stanhope Road" in St Albans is named after?  At the new St A museum, there is mention of a Stanhope model of printing press, so could that be the link, given the history of printing works in this city?  Or could the road name be linked in some way to orchids (i.e. to Sanders' famous plant/orchid nursery) as there is genus of orchid called Stanhopea.  Or neither of the above?! 


Replied to by email

By Peter Burgess
On 17/08/2018

I am working with Hartlepool Museums Service & Library posting photographs on their website reflecting the History of Rugby in the town of Hartlepool.

I would ask your Society whether anyone can give me a pointer regarding a query on photos from the 1930s.  On 30th March, 1935 the Durham County XV defeated an International XV on Clarence Park, the game being staged as a fund raiser for the Mayor of St Albans fund to relieve economic distress in Durham County. Some 3000 people attended and raised £250.

Photographs appeared in the 5th April edition of the Herts Advertiser & St Albans Times that year showing both XVs and I would like to obtain copies of the pictures if they have survived?

Does anyone within your Society or your area have a special interest in Sporting/Social History who may be able to assist or is there a Photographic Archive I could access to progress this query?

Any assistance would be appreciated.

(Mr) Chris McLoughlin,


Replied to by email


By Mr Chris McLoughlin
On 04/09/2018

Could you provide any information on the excavated Roman structure by Rothamsted Experimental Station? Would be very interested to know if its purpose was known? Is there is any pre-christian history?

By Chris
On 18/10/2018

hi, I’m trying to find an old photo of the house or street I live in and wondered whether anyone could help me find the best place to look or contact? I live in Thornton street in St Albans off Folly Lane. Thanks!


Replied to via email

By Vicky
On 27/11/2018

as a child I remember a plaque commemorating the first battle of St. Albans. I think it was either Spencer Street or Dagnall Streeet. I can’t find it now. Does anyone remember this or know where it is now?



Enquiry answered privately by email



By Janet Hammond
On 01/04/2019

Can anyone tell me how to obtain a copy of the Passio Albani? This document which probably dates back to the time of the visit of St Germanus to St Albans in the fifth century is a vital source for the martyrdom of Alban with its (somewhat later) reference to a 'Caesar' at the trial of Alban who may have been Geta the son of Severus.

I have made several enquiries about where and how I could obtain a copy but to no avail. Can anyone help??

By Gerald Bostock
On 03/05/2019

We (Harpenden & District Local History Society) have had an enquiry as to the current number of the house named Chilworth in Holllybush Lane, Harpenden in 1911.  Dr John James Bailey (dental surgeon) lived there. He was in Harpenden from 1902 until about 1926. He was in Hollybush Lane only a short time and then moved to Clarence Road taking the house name with him.  We have answered the original query but it was pointed out that he is recorded in Kelly's (1911;1913-4 and possible other years - both private and commercial lists) as also being at 'Crooksbury', 36 Battlefield Road, St Albans.

Do you have any further information about Dr Bailey's time in St Albans?  Was his home in Harpenden or St Albans? - did he practice in Harpenden and St Albans; for how long was he in St Albans; did he live anywhere other than Battlefield Road; was he involved in the life of St Albans in any way other than his dentistry? Any information gratefully received.

 Answered by email

By Diana Parrott
On 03/05/2019

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