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 1891 census (i), Thomas Newbury, ploughman, lived here with his wife and seven children. However by the 1901 census(i)  John McCullough, a house painter, had moved in with his wife, Elizabeth and their two sons, Francis and Malcolm. They took up residence across the road a couple of years later, to continue the business. Then in the 1911 census(i), my grandfather John Humphrey, a wheelwright, lived here with his wife Elizabeth, daughter Ida and three sons, Frederick, Charles and Cyril, all of school age.  Charles was my father.

During the 1930s there was a push from 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.

In 1935, the Humphrey family were moved out to a newly-built council house in Marford Road. It was then that the workhouse cottages were demolished and  four new shops were built  in their place - the present Bankside Chambers. An entry in the 1938 Kelly’s Directory (ii) says that the shop on this site was a greengrocer and florist run by Mr and Mrs Alf Pateman.  In the 1946 programme for the village fair (to raise money for the village Memorial Hall and the Ex-Services Club) Alf proudly announced that he was ‘Back in Civvy Street after serving with HM Forces.’  He continued to trade with entries in all the Kelly Directories (ii) up to 1968.  A later advertisement in 1972 said that, in addition to fruit and vegetables, they also sold pies, cooked meat, cheeses and frozen food, when the shop was known as the Salad Bowl.

By the late 1980s the Salad Bowl was run by Frances Turner: this lasted until the late 1990s. The Turners converted the shop into a mini-supermarket with self-service, which helped serve the customers more quickly – it was a small but busy shop.

It was empty for a few years in the late 1990s after the Turners left before it became the Village Off Licence, run by Mohammed Berkay, which it is still trading as in 2013.

April 2020 Update

1. The premises are now occupied by the Electric Bike Vault.

2. 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 et al



(i)  Census' 1891, 1901, 1911

(ii)  Kelly's Directories  1938 - 1968


Property Images

past & present images for this property

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