High Street Property Details

No.25, Bell Cottage – private residence

The 1901 Census records (i) that a Mr George Temple, born in Norwood, Surrey, ran a Gentlemen's Tailors Shop from here.  Gilbert Smith recollects (ii)  that Mr Temple was known as Golly.  This business was also recorded in the High Street in the 1881,1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses (i)

So, a long-standing business. Is it surprising that a Gent's Tailor was supported by a small village especially as one would think now that this would be for the "better off"? 

George married Ellen Elmore in 1879 in Wimbledon and they had five children, all born in Wheathampstead. George appears in the Electoral Register for Wheathampstead in 1915 but not in 1920 so it seems he left the village between these dates.  He died in 1924 and his wife in 1926, both in Palmers Green, Middlesex. (iii)  

Gladys Mitchell's recollections (iv) of the High Street in the 1920s suggest that Mr Rowe was running a greengrocer's here then.   Kelly's Directory certainly records Leonard Rowe as a greengrocer in the High Street between 1929 and 1954.  From 1956 to 1958 he is recorded at No.25 (v)

Leonard's daughter Lorna was running the shop from 1960-1966 as 'Mrs Rowe, greengrocer' still at No.25, also from 1968-1972 as confirmed by Herts & Essex Trade Directory for 1971/72 (vi).

Gordon Befty remembers (vii) Lorna Rowe running the shop in the 1960s. His parents were poor and he remembers Lorna used to let his mother have the small potatoes which she couldn't sell. He used to drink in the Bell and Crown and recalls that when there was a thunderstorm Lorna would take refuge there because she was frightened.          

Lorna Rowe was still there in the 1970s. Sharon Titmuss recalls (viii) the layout of the shop which had a long counter running down one side with a short return at the back. The vegetables were displayed on the sloping front of the counter. Lorna Rowe used to cook her own beetroot in the shop. 

Liz Holland has a photograph (ix) of Lorna with her own mother Ena Collins and Billy Woodley who eventually ran a grocery shop himself. There was direct competition from Pateman's greengrocery which was on the opposite side of the High Street.

During this period Rick Nicholson, son of the tenants of the Bell and Crown, used to run an Italian  bistro from above the shop. Sharon Titmuss was a waitress there and she recalls (vii) serving local celebrities such as Graham Dangerfield, the naturalist, and Nick Faldo, later the famous golfer. It was entered from the Bell and Crown.  

A 'take-away' on this premises formed part of the next door Chinese restaurant during the  1980s. In 2013 No.25 is a private house


Researcher:  Andrew Robley


Sources consulted:

  • Census 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 (i)
  • Gilbert Smith's letter to Ruth Jeavons, 1976 (ii)
  • Electoral Registers 1915, 1920 (iii)
  • Gladys Mitchell's sketch map of 1920s (iv)
  • Kellys Directories  1929 - 1958 (v)
  • Herts and Essex Trade Directories 1960-72 (vi)
  • Conversation with Gordon Befty, January 2014 (vii)
  • Conversations with Anne Atton, Liz Holland and Sharon Titmuss, January 2014 (viii) 
  • Photograph of Lorna Rowe provided by Liz Holland January 2014 (ix)
  • Ancestry.co.uk




Property Images

past & present images for this property

Additional images, documents, audio and video files: