High Street Property Details

In the 19th century, one of the workhouse cottages owned by James Titmuss of Bridge Mills stood on this site. In the 1901 census(i) an Elizabeth Kerrison lived here but by 1911 the census(i) shows a Fred Randall was living here. He was a plumber journeyman, born in Beechwood. He lived here with his wife Frances (who was born in Islington) and their children. Their son, Francis, was working in the flour mill: their three daughters, Louisa, Hilda and Alice were all of school age. They had moved from Harpenden to Wheathampstead and are believed to have lived here  from at least 1904

Gilbert Smith(ii) remembers the old workhouse and yard with its tenants, Mrs Newberry, Mrs Kerrison, Mrs Randall and Mr and Mrs Bygrave.

During the 1930s there was a push from central government to local councils to clear ‘slums’ within their boundaries.  By 1933, councils were forced to make slum clearance a high priority and rehouse people into newly-built council housing.  The cottages, now classified as ‘slums’, were owned by Mr James Titmuss, who wanted to change them into lock-up shops, creating businesses that the village lacked.  However, in 1935, he decided to demolish the cottages and rebuild. Bankside Chambers, dated 1936, now stand on the site.

In 1937 a Kelly’s Directory entry(iii) lists a shop on this site known as ‘Woollies, No.2 Bankside Chambers’: a wool shop run by Mappey and Tassell.  In addition to selling wools etc, on the first Friday of each month between 3.00 and 4.00 pm, a Mr Nicholas Mappey, Registrar, came from Harpenden to register any local births and deaths.  A wool shop continued on this site for the next 60 years.

The 1946 programme for the village fair(iv) had an advertisement for ‘Woollies’ stating that they sold Wools & Woollen garments, babies garments a speciality, and ‘silk stockings’.  In 1952 it was known as ‘Woollies Drapers’.

By 1956 the shop was run by Mrs Sherriff, a local farmer’s wife, with Gwen Kerrison, Olive and Phil Arnold all working there as assistants.

During the 1970s the shop was called ‘Jennifer Muir’ and run by Jenny Muir, followed by Joyce Hunt (when Joan Winter worked there). Gill Ayers then took it over and renamed it ‘Rosa Mundi’.

Late in the 1990s the shop closed for 18 months in order to acquire planning permission to change its use.  In the early 2000s the shop became a Fish and Chip shop, now known as the ‘Wheathampstead Fryer’.

April 2020 update

Since this research was completed in 2013, members of the History Society have researched the history of the workhouse (click here) and of Barclays Bank (click here) in Wheathampstead.


Researcher:  Margaret Humphrey 



(i)  Census returns 1891, 1901,1911,

(ii)  Gilbert Smith’s letter to Ruth Jeavons, April 1976

(iii)  Kelly’s Directory 1937,

(iv)  Programme for Village Fair, 1946













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