High Street Property Details

GRANARY CLOSE FLATS                                                                                   47 – 73  High Street

This area of the high street has probably changed the most over the last 100 years.  Now housing the Granary Close flats (numbers 47-73 the High Street), during the last century it contained four separate properties (47-55): a baker's, a gift shop, a square white house (previously the Ship Inn) and two police houses.

47 High Street:  There appears to have been a baker’s shop here for most of the first half of the twentieth century, between Lattimores on the High Street and what is now Granary Close flats.

Gilbert Smith (i)  remembers Mr and Mrs Trustram’s Bakers and Confectioners shop in the early 1900s. ‘How well I remember that bakeshop when, as a child, I used to take (during the summer) my mother’s cake and Sunday joint to be cooked there, for which they charged 1d each, and it saved having a fire going at home during the very hot weather.  Today you can get nothing for a penny. How times have changed, and Mrs Trustram was such a buxom and pleasant lady, everyone liked her.’. (Extract from a letter from Mr Gilbert Smith to Ruth Jeavons, describing Trustram’s bakery at Granary Close)

In 1920 Mr Mulberry, a cobbler, was working above this shop then known as Thrales, the bakers.

In the late 1930s and 1940s a Roland Garrett, confectioner and caterer, took over this business and ran it right through the war years. Mr Garrett first delivered bread from a handcart but eventually he had a van for bread deliveries.  In 1949 Hill & Simmons ran the bakery.  (Dates from Kelly's directories).

In 1956, a Mr Auld took over the bakery business.  Behind the shop was a cottage and garages. Sheila Richardson (nee Faulkner) moved in as a young girl with her parents, Eric and Jean Faulkner, together with her brother and sisters to live in the cottage behind the bakery. Sheila’s father worked for Mr Auld and used to drive the van and sell the bread.

Sheila remembers the cottage being ‘really ramshackle’ ‘it was just a cottage with a stony gravelly yard and garages’. These garages had probably been stables years before, because horses had once been kept there to deliver bread to the local area.  ‘It was a scary place to live’, Sheila remembers ‘it had a front room and a kitchen: a huge bathroom on the second floor and a further bedroom in the roof’.  Sheila was one of eight children – all crammed into the two bedrooms.

Sheila said ‘My sisters and I were in the Girl Guides and my brother was in the Boys Brigade. The tin hut where we had brownies/guides was in the corner plot by Bury Green and what is now Old Rectory Gardens’. There is a photo of her sisters and brother taken in the bakery yard with the flagpole behind them.  This photo was taken on a Sunday morning before they went off to parade.  They are wearing their uniforms. Sheila doesn’t think anyone else moved into the cottage after they moved out in September 1963, but Chris Baty remembers a family living in the cottage after Sheila’s family left and before the building was knocked down in about 1965/66.

49 High Street:  Gilbert Smith recalls there being a Mr W Gatward, boot and shoe maker, and a newsagents here in the early 1900s and also recalls there being a toyshop here run by Mrs Nash.  Gladys Mitchell (nee Cobb) refers on her sketch map (ii) of the High Street in the 1920s to a paper shop, next door to a shoe shop run by a Ginger Reynolds.

In Amy Coburn’s interview (iii) she remembers a small hut, which was cosy in winter with a stove, on a bank at the top of the High Street opposite Church Street.  An old man, Frank Newbury, worked there as a cobbler with a last between his knees. He patched, studded and repaired according to the needs of the clients. The floor was strewn with offcuts of leather, shelves lined with tins of brads, tintacks and tacks. He would put a palm full of brads in his mouth, deftly spitting them out one at a time to hammer them into the boot under repair. His workshop was a centre of village news.  Next to this shop was the entrance around the back to Garretts the bakers.

From 1936 through to the early 1950s, this was R J Blindells shoe shop.  Amy Coburn remembers they sold more up-to-date footwear; the heavy boots and wellingtons needed by the men, as well as plimsolls and slippers. 

The shopkeeper would take a selection out to the house-bound, if needed, at no extra cost.

In 1958, for a short time, Cunningtons ran their electrical and lighting business from here. It then became Brax, a gift and toy shop run by a Mrs Phelps. She sold sweets, toys, fancy goods and gifts. Sheila Richardson (nee Faulkner) was very fond of Mrs Phelps and ‘went in every Friday afternoon for sweets’.  Mrs Phelps would let them choose 10 old pennies worth of sweets.  Ann Atton (nee Collins) remembers getting toys from this shop.  Some photographs show a small building to the side of Brax's shop. It is thought that this was probably where Mr Bulding, a dental technician (the person who made the teeth) worked.  The dentist was further down the High Street, above what is now Latchford House. Mrs Cunnington remembers there being a dentist in one of these buildings.

The lead researcher for this property, Chris Baty, remembers this shop very well.  The gift shop was a three-storey building with the stock room on the top floor, which contained an old fireplace.  During the early 1960s Chris used to go in there most days, up to the top floor and sort out toys while his mum (Mrs B C Baty) worked in the shop.

Chris’ mother lost her job when they pulled down the shops to make way for the flats but was able to get a job at Helmets Ltd. During the 1980s her sister, Mrs Proum, went to live in the new flats (at number 5) until 2005 when she went into a Care Home.

Chris recalls that Mrs Phelps husband oversaw the building of the new flats on this site during the 1970s.

55 the High Street:   At the top of the High Street, opposite The Swan pub, was the site of The Ship Inn, briefly known in Victorian times as the Free Trader (a reference to Charles Higby Lattimore’s campaign for repealing the Corn Laws). In 1910 George Lattimore the brewer owned all the properties from Lattimores southwards to Marford Road.  Mr Goodman was living in the property in 1911 with his widowed mother and 15 year old son, Maurice. An article in the Hertfordshire News dated 17th March 1920 talked of court proceedings being taken by Mr Robert W H Seabrook against Mr Osborne Goodman.  ‘In 1911 Goodman had entered into an agreement with the late Mr Lattimore for a three year lease of the premises – previously known as ‘The Ship’ beerhouse.  In the terms of the agreement Goodman was to carry out repairs.  The lease expired in March 1914 but Goodman continued to occupy the premises without further written agreement.  He claimed that in March 1914 (about 25th) he had asked Mr Lattimore for a further 7 year lease and said that Mr Lattimore had agreed that Mr Goodman could continue as a quarterly tenant and that the landlord would undertake the repairs.  Mr Lattimore died 10th March 1918 and his executors gave notice to Osborne in 1918 to quit the premises in March 1919. By this time the property was owned by Mr Robert Seabrook who had bought the property from Mr Lattimore’s executors. The outcome of these proceedings is not known but later the pub was run by a family called Dunham and then became a private residence known as the White House.

By the late 1950s this square white house was occupied by a local builder/decorator, Mr Fenwick Harding, and his wife Louie. It was called Loufenway,  created from their names, so that when they moved to a new house (built in 1961) in East Lane, they took the house name with them.  Their daughter Mildred married Herbert Tate and they ran Tate’s mobile shop.

In 1964-5 this house was occupied by Alan and Jennifer Auld.  Sheila Richardson (nee Faulkner) remembers Mr and Mrs Auld living in what was previously the Ship Inn. The Aulds owned this house, the cottage Sheila’s family lived in, and the baker’s shop.  The Auld’s daughter Diane and son Alan were of a similar age to Sheila’s brother and sisters.

John and Gill Roe remember No 55 having the lead stolen from its roof in broad daylight.  The Collins' family have a photograph of this event but unfortunately only the back view of the thieves can be seen.

57/59 High Street:  Two police houses stood on this site from 1908 to 1964, before they were demolished to make way for the widening of Marford Road.  New police houses were built next to the Memorial Hall.  At this time the Cory Wright Way bypass was still a dream and all traffic entering the village from Hatfield or Welwyn Garden City had to make the turn into the High Street or The Hill at this T junction.  Cory Wright Way was built as a bypass in about 1978 to relieve the congestion in the village.

Some of the policemen to live here were Police Constables (PCs) Percy Godfrey and William Kempthorne (1923-1927). They were followed by PCs R Endersby (1927-1929) and J Hunt (1927–1928 and 1934) then PCs Frank Allway (1937-1938) and Edward Barker (1937-1939 and 1952).

In the electoral roll of 1963/64, Alan and Jean Thorpe were living at number 57 and Peter and Margaret Marfleet at number 59.

If you go to www.Facebook you can see there is a very good picture of what was once The Ship (No.55 High St) and no police houses just Marford Road and a very neat verge.  There are also photos of the Marford Road junction congestion and the building of Granary Close houses and flats.


Researcher:  Christopher  Baty (et al)

April 2020 update

Since this research was completed in 2013, members of the History Society have researched the pubs and beerhouses of Wheathampstead from 1830 to 1914. For a history of The Ship, click here.



·      Gilbert Smith's letter to Ruth Jeavons, 1976

·      Gladys Mitchell (nee Cobb) sketch map of the high street in the 1920s

·      Amy Coburn's interview (RJ 2013)

·      Ken Garrett's interview  (RJ 2013)

·      Sheila Richardson's interview (2013)

·      Kelly's Directories (1928 -1929, 1934, 1936-1937,1939)

·      Electoral Roll 1963/64

·      Gilbert  Smith's letter to Ruth Jeavons, April 1976 (Letter sent to Ruth Jeavons, April 3rd 1976, from Ontario Canada, following her article in the Hertfordshire Countryside magazine: Gilbert Smith had been coachman to Canon Davys and lived in Church Street before emigrating to Canada in the thirties). 

·      Hertfordshire Countryside magazine circa 1976

·      Aerial photo of village circa 1950s

·      Facebook



Anne Atton (nee Collins), Mrs Cunnigham, Jacky Edwards, Sheila Richardson (nee Faulkner), Gill Roe, Sandra Wood



Property Images

past & present images for this property

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