The Society's research activities
Researching the rich history of St Albans and its environs is a popular activity among Society members. To help researchers keep up to date with the wide range of research activities, we have compiled a list of ongoing research groups - see below. We hope it will also help members to find fellow researchers with shared interests.
The list covers current research activities within the Society. It is hoped to include details of publications and presentations for each project and to flag opportunities for members to join a group or help with a specific task.
We would also like to include local history research being undertaken by individuals. If you would like to put forward a project for inclusion please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any queries about this new initiative or have ideas for developing it, do please get in touch. Contact for enquiries email@example.com.
Research project groups
Seventeenth century research group
This group was formed in the early 1990s to research the urban history of St Albans between 1650 and 1700. Their research resulted in the book St Albans: 1650-1700 and various articles. They also produced a research database which is a directory of names of people living in St Albans in the 17th century.
They are currently working on transcribing 17th century probate documents relating to St Albans. The first results were published by the Hertfordshire Records Society in November 2019 in a volume covering the period from 1600-1615, which is now available for sale.
In the meantime, the group has been working on the next period covering 1616-1629. The transcriptions include the wills of Francis Bacon and Roger Pemberton (of the almshouses). The plague hist St Albans significantly in 1625/26 and so far we have ascertained that at least 27 tradesmen were likely victims.
This is an extensive project for the team. If you are interested in joining our group or have related research questions, do contact Pat Howe via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow this link for details of the group’s publications, other achievements and interests.
First World War home front group
Starting in February 2013, the twenty-one members in this project group have been considering the effect of the First World War on the social and economic development of St Albans, producing a number of articles about specific aspects. A further eight members prepared for analysis a transcription of the 1911 census for the local area, a significant piece of work in its own right.
We published a book about our findings in September 2016. Our sell-out 1914/15 conference, held in September 2014, was the highlight of our project at that point.
We are still keen to hear from anyone who has items such as letters, photos or journals relating to ancestors who had links to St Albans during the war. Email email@example.com
Members of our group have varying levels of research experience. Three are professional historians and they provided excellent support to those of us whose skills lie in other areas
See link for more details.
St Julian’s estate - from leper hospital to housing estate
We are a newly formed small group of members with differing but particular interest in the old St Julian’s estate.
The St Julian’s estate was centred on Watling Street, almost opposite St Bartholomew’s Church in St Stephens parish. At around 400 acres, it stretched down to the Abbey station on the one side and as far as Greenwood Park in Chiswell Green on the other. Originally a leper hospital attached to the abbey, it became a gentleman’s estate with a magnificent mansion house. Later it reverted to the status of a tenant farm for a wealthy family based at the Frythe in Welwyn.
The group has an overall picture of the history already and hopes to publish with chapters on each era of the estate’s existence. Input from other members with appropriate skills or interest is most welcome. Local knowledge and skills in transcription, research and writing up are particularly needed. Contact Kate Morris on firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Property Group Research
A Property Research Group was formed in the 1990s and produced a series of databases on which information is recorded concerning architecture and occupancies of plots in St Peters parish in the Borough over time. Much information was gathered for the nineteenth century and earlier which is available to researchers.
Individual projects using the databases and other information which has been gathered and recorded elsewhere have resulted in papers on Bowgate & its Inns, Snatchup Alley, Building and Destruction of Adelaide Street, Almshouses & Early Vernacular Housing in St Peter's Street, and others.
Researchers are invited to contact Kate Morris at email@example.com further information.
The suburban development of St Albans – Julia Merrick
Julia is researching the history of 19th century farms and the building of motorways in a small area of SW St Albans. She recently gave a talk to SAHAAS: ’From Farm to Avenue’. She says there is more to be done to cover the outer areas of St Albans, the surrounding rural history and changed economy of the countryside in the 20th century.
Julia uses oral history as well as written archives. She has published two articles in the SAHAAS Newsletter: A Century of a St Albans Nursery, No.208 May 2018 and Fire! Managing Rural Risk, No.212 May 2019. She contributed to the book by Kate Morris, St Albans - Gentry Town.
To contact Julia email: