Hertfordshire Genealogy

Guide to Old Hertfordshire


A Walk around Hemel Hempstead
illustrated by old postcards

The High Street



Hemel Hempstead

Text: High Street, Hemel Hempstead.  Publisher: Valentine  JV 54937.

Title: High Street, Hemel Hempstead - Publisher: Hartmann 3979/4 - Date: circa 1903 (Indland messages only)  

High Street, Hemel Hempstead

 Publisher: Hartmann 3979/4

Date: circa 1903

See WALTERS, 106 High Street, Hemel Hempstead, 1882-c1900

 Title: Market Square and Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead - Publisher: Valentines Series 54935  - Date: posted 1916JV

Turn Right across the market Square to visit St Mary's Church

The card is undated but a study of the shop signs, plus a comparison with the 1912 and 1914 Kelly's directories, suggests a date of circa 1912 or a little earlier if Walter Woods was manager for Henry Stevens.


 Hemel Hempstead High Street
no publisher information

  • [no sign visible] {Home & Colonial Stores, provision merchants, 35 High Street}

  • Stevens {Stevens Hy. (exors of) boot & shoe makers, 37 High Street}

  • The Shoe Mart, W Woods Manager {Woods Walter, boot &shoe dealer, 37 High Street [1914 directory]}

  • [no visible sign] {Oatway Alfred Jacobs, watchmaker & jeweller, 39 High Street}

  • The Kings Arms Commercial Hotel. W.F. Allison {Allison William Frederick, Kings Arms commercial hotel & posting house, 41 High Street [not 1914 directory]}

  • Boots Hiltons Shoes {Hilton Stephen & Sons, boot & shoe makers, 43 High Street}

  •  Boys Pelling ???, Portmanteaux and Trade Requisites ??? {Pelling Alfred, sadler, 45 High Street [not 1914 directory]}

  • Haircutting Shaving & Shampooing Saloon {Baker John, hair dresser & tobacconist, 47 High Street}

  • The Compasses, Benskins Watford, Ales ... W. G. Austin {Austin William George, Compasses P.H. 49 High Street}

  • Old Commercial Inn and Posting House [Sign = The Bell] {Parkinson Herbert C. Bell Hotel, 51 High Street}

On the other side of the road one can see the Town Hall, with the Corn Market beyond.


... The thing I remember about the Home and Colonial Stores next door was the butter. It was served up using wooden butter pats to the quantity required. They could also make butter balls and they used carved wooden moulds to impress pictures onto the butter they sold.

     Buddie Oatway was one of my school friends from Oakley Lodge School, and her father, Alfred, was the watchmaker whose shop adjoined the archway that opened onto the King's Arms yard, All the way along this side of the High Street there were archways to the courts behind. ... Mr Allison owned the King's Arms and his daughter played the piano at the Princess Theatre for the silent films. [Mr Allison was managing director of the Princess Theatre.] The boot boy at the King's Arms was not very clever and was called Shaver.

     Hilton's shoe shop came next and after a few more shops there was the Bell Inn ...

Bertha Reynolds nee Locke remembers in The London Gunners come to Town.

A detailed look at the shop fronts provides more information. Behind the young man on the right one can see the bay windows on the ground floor of the King's Arms. A placard is leaning against the wall. This is probably advertising the current show at the Princess Theatre - which only opened in 1912 - suggesting the photograph is no earlier than this date.

There are shoes strung up in front of Hilton's shop with prices between 1s 11d and 5s 11d a pair.

Outside Pelling's there are some thigh length leather boots, some heavy duty trunks and cases, and a saddle.


[Another picture of the High Street - see BRAY, Hemel Hempstead, circa 1917 - appears to have been taken on the same day - see goods outside Pelling's shop.]

Tit;e: High Street, Hemel Hempstead - Publisher: Hartmann 3979/3 - Date: ? (but card 3979/4 circa 1903) with earlier back)

Continue into the Lower End of the High Street and the Broadway


Under Construction - It is hoped to add more cards as they become available, and also add other information and links

If you know of other books, websites, etc, relating to this place, please tell me.

Page updated July 2008