High Street Property Details

At the beginning of the twentieth century the land upon which this modern property is built was part of the garden attached to the south side of No 4 High Street, filling the gap between what are now Nos. 4 and 8. (i)

A walled garden bounded the High Street where, in earlier years, on the pavement outside stood the bus stop and then an air raid shelter in the 1940s,  together with the original red telephone box.(ii and iii)

During the 1960s, Helmets Ltd purchased No 4 High Street, which was at the time the Post Office and occupied by the Gordon family, together with its garden This enabled pedestrian access to be gained to the factory from the High Street via the driveway to the north side of No 4.(iii)

In 1972 Helmets granted permission for Jarvis Homes of Harpenden to install a main sewer through their factory site from the new Bury Farm estate beyond to the west, then via the garden of No. 4 to the High Street. Jarvis then constructed a new access road for Helmets, which replaced the existing contorted route via the rear of Nos. 22 and 28 the High Street. This new stretch of roadway now leads to King Edward Place. (iv)

Jarvis purchased No 4 High Street from Helmets in 1980 and built the present property, No. 6 High Street, parking spaces, and Marlborough House to the rear. (iv) Architects for the building were the Robert Merrick Partnership from Luton and the building structure comprised of brick and block cavity walls and prefabricated timber roof trusses.

In 1982 Jarvis granted the first lease for the ground floor shop for a 25 year period to George Usher the Master Baker from St Albans. (iv and vii)

Shortly thereafter Jarvis sold the freehold of No. 6 High Street to the current owners Web Technics International Holdings Ltd for its Pension Fund. (iv and vii)

When George Usher passed away in 1985 the current baker, George Criticos, purchased the Ushers bakery business and has continued to trade from No. 6 as the St Albans Bakery, retaining the name Ushers. George actually lived in Wheathampstead 38 years ago and originally worked for Allied Bakeries and at one stage nearly purchased Hall’s Bakery in Station Road when it ceased trading. He trained as a Master Baker for four years at the National Bakery Academy in London and is the only traditional craft baker remaining and still trading in St Albans.

The Ushers bakery is based in Catherine Street St Albans and deliveries are made daily to both the Ushers shops in St Albans and Wheathampstead. Long hours are worked to produce the bread and cakes ready for the shops to open at 7am.

Three full-time and four part-time staff are employed in the shop In Wheathampstead, selling some 80 to 100 loaves of bread and numerous cakes daily to some 300 customers Monday to Friday and 400 on Saturday, mostly from Wheathampstead and the surrounding villages.  

More recently the opening of large supermarkets has considerably reduced the sale of freshly baked bread.

Over the past 20 years the “Take Away” market has seen increases in the sale of filled rolls and coffee to visiting trade and office workers. The increasingly popular leisure pursuits of walking and cycling are catered for from the tables and chairs on the pavement outside the premises, where refreshments are served while taking a well-earned rest.

Stale bread from the shop is not wasted, as mothers and their children are keen to use this to feed the ducks and fish from the footbridge in Mill Walk. (v)

The first floor office suite, which is accessed via a separate door from the High Street, was first occupied by Web Technics Ltd as its engineering design office with its manufacturing headquarters in London Colney. (vii)  From 1993 Scan Timber (Importers) occupied the offices for five years before ceasing business. (vii) Thereafter the offices were again occupied by Web Technics Ltd until 2005.

The current (2013) tenants Fenlon & Co, an accountancy firm, have been there ever since. (vi and vii)

Five car parking spaces at the rear are rented from the freeholder, three by Ushers and two by Fenlon & Co. (vi and vii)


Researcher:  Terry Holden



i            Aerial photograph dated 1946 from English Heritage

ii            Image 28 of Streets from Wheathampstead Historical Archive website

iii           Conversations with Rob Gordon - 30/10 & 4/11/2013

iv           Conversations with Jarvis – Jim Buckingham & Jeffrey Hollis 28/10/2013, Jack Springford  29/10/2013

v            Interview/Conversation with George Criticos of Ushers 31/10/2013

vi           Conversation with Accountants Fenlon & Co 31/10/2013

vii           E mail from Web Technics Mr Kalaher 22/11/2013

viii          E mails to Helmets 4/11/13  & 29/11/13







Property Images

past & present images for this property

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