HEMEL HEMPSTEAD /ˈhɛməl ˈhɛmpstᵻd/ is a large new town in
Hertfordshire in the
East of England
East of England , 24 miles (39 km) northwest of
London and part of the
Greater London Urban Area . The population
according to the 2001 Census was 81,143, and at the 2011 census was
94,932. Developed after the
Second World War
Second World War as a new town , it has
existed as a settlement since the 8th century and was granted its town
charter by King Henry VIII in 1539. It is part of the district (and
borough since 1984) of
Dacorum and the
Hemel Hempstead constituency.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Origin of the name
* 1.2 Early history
* 1.3 18th to mid-20th century
* 2 Geography
* 3 Districts
* 4 Developments since the new town
* 5 Commerce, industry and agriculture
* 5.1 Historical
* 5.2 Present day
* 6 Transport
* 7 Sport
* 8 Schools
* 9 Political representation
* 10 Twinned towns
* 11 Notable features
* 12 Notable events
* 13 Notable people
* 14 Film, television and entertainment
* 14.1 Film and television production
* 14.2 The Pavilion
* 15 Art and photograph gallery
* 16 References
* 17 Further reading
* 18 Footnotes
* 19 External links
ORIGIN OF THE NAME
The settlement was called by the name Henamsted or Hean-Hempsted in
Anglo-Saxon times and in
William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror 's time by the name of
Hemel-Amstede. The name is referred to in the
Domesday Book as
"Hamelamestede", but in later centuries it became Hamelhamsted, and,
possibly, Hemlamstede. In Old English, "-stead" or "-stede" simply
meant a place, such as the site of a building or pasture, as in
clearing in the woods, and this suffix is used in the names of other
English places such as Hamstead and
It is theoretically possible for a previous name to have become
corrupted to something very similar to Hempsted, "> The Norman
church of St Mary\'s (1140)
Roman villa farming settlements have been found at Boxmoor
Gadebridge which span the entire period of
Roman Britain . A well
preserved Roman burial mound is located in Highfield .
The first recorded mention of the town is the grant of land at
Hamaele by Offa , King of Essex, to the Saxon
Bishop of London
Bishop of London in AD
Hemel Hempstead on its present site is mentioned in the Domesday
Book of 1086 as a vill , Hamelhamstede, with about 100 inhabitants.
The parish church of St Mary\'s was built in 1140, and is recognised
as one of the finest Norman parish churches in the county. The church
features an unusual 200-foot-tall (61 m) spire , added in the 12th
century, one of Europe's tallest.
After the Norman conquest ,
Robert, Count of Mortain , the elder
William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror , was granted lands associated
Berkhamsted Castle which included Hemel Hempstead. The estates
passed through several hands over the next few centuries including
Thomas Becket in 1162.
Hemel Hempstead was in the Domesday hundred of
Danais (Daneys, i.e. Danish) which by 1200 had been combined with the
Tring to form the hundred of Dacorum, which maintained its
court into the 19th century. In 1290 King John\'s grandson, the Earl
of Cornwall , gave the manor to the religious order of the Bonhommes
when he endowed the monastery at Ashridge . The town remained part of
the monastery's estates until the Reformation and break-up of Ashridge
in 1539. In that same year, the town was granted a royal charter by
Henry VIII to become a bailiwick with the right to hold a Thursday
market and a fair on Corpus Christi Day . The first bailiff of Hemel
Hempstead was William Stephyns (29 December 1539). Henry VIII and Anne
Boleyn are reputed to have stayed in the town at this time.
Unusually fine medieval wall paintings from the period between 1470
and 1500 were discovered in some cottages in
Piccotts End , very close
Hemel Hempstead in 1953. This same building had been converted into
the first cottage hospital providing free medical services by Sir
Astley Cooper in 1827.
In 1581, a group of local people acquired lands – now referred to
as Box Moor – from the
Earl of Leicester
Earl of Leicester to prevent their enclosure
. These were transferred to trustees in 1594. These have been used for
public grazing and they are administered by the
Box Moor Trust .
18TH TO MID-20TH CENTURY
Hemel Hempstead Old Town
Hemel's position on the shortest route between London and the
industrial Midlands put it on the
Sparrows Herne Turnpike Road in
Grand Junction Canal in 1795 and the London and Birmingham
Railway in 1837. In 1790 the Bury was built. However it remained
principally an agricultural market town throughout the 19th century.
In the last decades of that century development of houses and villas
for London commuters began. The
Midland Railway built a branch line,
Harpenden to Hemel Hempstead Railway , connecting to its mainline
Harpenden in 1877. Hemel steadily expanded, but only became a
borough on 13 July 1898.
Second World War
Second World War ninety high explosive bombs were dropped
on the town by the
Luftwaffe . The most notorious incident was on 10
May 1942 when a stick of bombs demolished houses at
Nash Mills killing
eight people. The nearby Dickinson factories which were used to
produce munitions, were the target.
Second World War
Second World War , in 1946, the government designated Hemel
Hempstead as the site of one of its proposed new towns designed to
house the population displaced by the
London Blitz , since slums and
bombsites were being cleared in London. On 4 February 1947, the
Government purchased 5,910 acres (23.9 km2) of land and began work on
the "New Town". The first new residents moved in during April 1949,
and the town continued its planned expansion through to the end of the
1980s. Hemel grew to its present population of 80,000, with new
developments enveloping the original town on all sides. The original
part of Hemel is still known as the "Old Town". Marlowes shopping
centre and pedestrianised high street
Hemel Hempstead was announced as candidate No 3 for a New Town in
July 1946, in accordance with the government's "policy for the
decentralisation of persons and industry from London". Initially there
was much resistance and hostility to the plan from locals, especially
when it was revealed that any development would be carried out not by
the local council but by a newly appointed government body, the Hemel
Hempstead Development Corporation (later amalgamated with similar
bodies to form the
Commission for New Towns ). However, following a
public inquiry the following year, the town got the go-ahead. Hemel
officially became a New Town on 4 February 1947.
The initial plans for the New Town were drawn up by architect
Geoffrey Jellicoe . His view of Hemel Hempstead, he said, was "not a
city in a garden, but a city in a park." However, the plans were not
well received by most locals. Revised, and less radical plans were
drawn up, and the first developments proceeded despite local protests
in July 1948. The first area to be developed was Adeyfield. At this
time the plans for a revolutionary double roundabout at Moor End were
first put forward, but in fact it was not until 1973 that the
roundabout was opened as it was originally designed. (It was quickly
christened 'The Magic
Roundabout ' by locals, echoing the name of the
children's TV show.) The first houses erected as part of the New Town
plan were in Longlands, Adeyfield, and went up in the spring of 1949.
The first new residents moved in early 1950.
At this time, work started on building new factories and industrial
areas, to avoid the town becoming a dormitory town. The first factory
was erected in 1950 in Maylands Avenue. As building progressed with
continuing local opposition, the town was becoming increasingly
popular with those moving in from areas of north London. By the end of
1951, there was a waiting list of about 10,000 wishing to move to
Hemel. The neighbourhoods of Bennett's End,
Chaulden and Warner's End
were started. The Queen paid a visit shortly after her accession in
1952, and laid a foundation stone for a new church in
one of her first public engagements as Queen. The shopping square she
visited is named Queen's Square, and the nearby area has street names
commemorating the then-recent conquest of Everest , such as Hilary and
Tenzing Road. This conquest is also celebrated in the name of a pub in
Warners End – the 'Top of the World'. Riverside, extension to
the Marlowes shopping precinct opened 2005
The redevelopment of the town centre was started in 1952, with a new
centre based on Marlowe's south of the old town. This was alongside a
green area called the Water Gardens, designed by Jellicoe, formed by
ponding back the
River Gade . The old centre of the High Street was to
remain largely undeveloped, though the market square closed and was
replaced by a much larger one in the new centre. The former private
Gadebridge was opened up as a public park. New schools and
roads were built to serve the expanding new neighbourhoods. New
housing technology such as prefabrication started to be used from the
mid-'50s, and house building rates increased dramatically. Highfield
was the next neighbourhood to be constructed. The
M1 motorway opened
to the east in 1959, and a new road connecting it to the town was
By 1962, the redevelopment of the new town as originally envisaged
was largely complete, though further expansion plans were then put
forward. The nearby
United States Air Force
United States Air Force base of
Bovingdon , which
had served as the town's de facto airport, reverted to RAF use at this
time, continuing as an active military airfield until 1971. A campus
West Herts College , the library, new police station and the
Pavilion (theatre and music venue) were all built during the 1960s.
The town seemed to attract its fair share of celebrity openings, with
shops and businesses opened by
Frankie Vaughan ,
Benny Hill ,
Terry-Thomas , and the new cinema was opened by Hollywood star Lauren
Bacall . The last of the originally-planned neighbourhoods, Grovehill,
began construction in 1967. However, further neighbourhoods of
Woodhall Farm and
Fields End were later built as part of the extended
Like other first generation new towns, Hemel is divided into
residential neighbourhoods, each with their own "village centre" with
shops, pubs and services. Each neighbourhood is designed around a few
major feeder roads with many smaller cul-de-sacs and crescents,
intended to minimise traffic and noise nuisance. In keeping with the
optimism of the early post-war years, much of the town features
modernist architecture with many unusual and experimental designs for
housing . Not all of these have stood the test of time. A significant
issue was how to choose names for all the new roads. Many areas of the
new town used themes e.g. fields, birds, rivers, poets, explorers,
In 1974, the government abolished the
Hemel Hempstead and
the town was incorporated into
Dacorum District Council along with
Berkhamsted . The first chairman of that council was
chairman John Johnson (1913–1977). In the 1980s,
Council successfully lobbied to be recognised as the successor for the
Royal Charter establishing the
Hemel Hempstead and thus
regained the Mayor and its Aldermen and became
Council. The political atmosphere of the town has changed
significantly. Once a Labour Party stronghold, the town has seen an
increase in Conservative Party voting in recent years, and the current
Member of Parliament,
Mike Penning , is Conservative.
At the 2001 census ,
Hemel Hempstead was the most populated urban
Hertfordshire , narrowly more populated than its traditionally
‹ The template below (Geographic location ) is being considered for
deletion. See templates for discussion to help reach a consensus. ›
Aerial view of
Hemel Hempstead grew up in a shallow chalkland valley at the
confluence of the rivers Gade and Bulbourne , 27 miles (43 km)
northwest of central London. The New Town expansion took place up the
valley sides and on to the plateau above the original Old Town.
To the north and west lie mixed farm and woodland with scattered
villages, part of the
Chiltern Hills . To the west lies
River Bulbourne flows along the south-western edge of the town
Boxmoor . To the south lies
Watford and the beginnings of the
Greater London conurbation . To the east lies
St Albans , a historic
cathedral and market town and now like Hemel Hempstead, part of the
London commuter belt . Possibly the best view of
Hemel Hempstead in
its physical setting is from the top of
Roughdown Common , a chalk
hill to the south of the town, at TL 049 055.
Post-war 1950s housing typical of
Hemel Hempstead New Town. Kiln
Ground, Bennetts End.
The grand design for
Hemel Hempstead newtown saw each new district
centred around a parade or square of shops called a neighbourhood
centre. Other districts existed before the newtown as suburbs,
villages and industrial centres and were incorporated into the town.
Adeyfield – Located on a hill to the east of the Old Town, this
was the first of the New Town districts to be started. The first four
families of Hemel Hempstead's new town moved into their homes in
Adeyfield on Wednesday, 8 February 1950.
* Apsley – a 19th-century mill town a mile south of Old Hemel
which grew up around the paper making industry – notably the John
Dickinson Stationery mills. Now a suburb of Hemel with many warehouse
outlets set in retail parks, a large office facility for Hertfordshire
County Council and a large Sainsbury\'s supermarket.
Bennetts End – Located on the rising ground to the south east
and another original district of the new town. Construction began in
1951 and by autumn 1952, 300 houses were occupied.
Boxmoor – A mostly
Victorian era developed district to the
southwest which grew up because of its proximity to the London Midland
and Scottish Railway station and trains to London.
Chaulden – an early new town district, west of the town,
commenced in 1953 with its own neighbourhood shopping centre.
* Corner Hall – an estate adjacent to the Plough Roundabout
frequently thought to be part of Apsley. Bounded by Lawn Lane and St
* Cupid Green – an industrial area estate north east of the town
and home to its recycling centre.
Felden is a partly rural area south west of Hemel
Hempstead that has many wealthy detached houses. It is home to the
national headquarters of the Boys\' Brigade .
Gadebridge – A later 1960s development located north west of the
old town around the Rossgate shopping parade.
Grovehill is a housing estate towards the northern
edge of Hemel Hempstead. It was developed as part of the second wave
of development of the New Town commencing in 1967 and completed in
stages by the early 1980s. Within the estate there are such features
as 'Henry Wells Square' containing local shops, an off licence and a
pub. The estate also contains '
Grovehill Community Centre', the local
Grovehill Playing Fields', home to many football pitches, a baseball
ground and changing facilities.
Grovehill also incorporates various
churches, a doctor\'s surgery and a dental surgery as well as several
schools including the
Astley Cooper School .
* Highfield – a district of the original new town located north of
the old town.
Leverstock Green – A village 2½ miles east of the old town
which pre-existed the new town and which has now been subsumed into
it, although retaining its original village centre. It was once a
popular place for actors and artists to live.
Nash Mills – a historic name for a district beside the River
Gade downstream and southeast of the town which had water mills
present since at least the 11th century. It is now a mix of industrial
use and housing from the 19th century through to small modern
* Warner\'s End – an original new town residential district on
chalk upland to the west of
Hemel Hempstead where work commenced in
Woodhall Farm – A housing estate on the north eastern edge of
Woodhall Farm was built in the mid to late
1970s on the former Brock's Fireworks site with a mix of private and
housing association stock. Built by Fairview Estates it has property
ranging from four-bedroom detached houses down to one bedroom low-rise
flats . The area has a shopping centre with a Sainsbury\'s ,
newsagents, takeaway and off-licence . It also has two infant schools
and middle schools and a doctor's surgery serving the local area.
DEVELOPMENTS SINCE THE NEW TOWN
Apsley Lock Marina on the
Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal ,
Jarman Park, the central location for leisure in the town, was
previously agricultural land, which later becomes fields named after
former town councilor and mayor, Henry Jarman, who oversaw the
development of the New Town. The developments were built on land
originally donated to the town for recreational purposes. Land had
also been reserved for a hotel, but still remains derelict.
Replacement open space was created to the east of the town, near
Leverstock Green, Longdean Park and Nash Mills.
The first phase of recreational facilities, which opened in 1978, was
the Loco Motion Skate Park. Subsequently, it became a dry ski slope
with a small nursery (Jack ">. The Jarman Square complex opened on 25
August 1995 (formerly named Leisure World and managed by The Rank
Organisation ,) currently managed by the
Tesco Pension Fund. The
current 17 screen
Cineworld is its flagship attraction, with a
Starbucks as part of it. In addition to the cinema inside Jarman
Square there is an ice rink (Planet Ice, originally Silver Blades)
several restaurants including Prezzo , Nando\'s ,
Bella Italia ,
Chiquito , Frankie & Benny\'s , Subway and
Hungry Horse , and a gym
operated by The Gym Group.
When it was opened as Leisure World, the cinema originally had 8
screens and was operated by
Odeon Cinemas , and later managed by
Empire Cinemas until August 2016. The complex also included the
upstairs Toddlerworld play area, the Aquasplash water park, Hotshots,
which was a 30 lane ten pin bowling facility with a bar, Jarman Park
Bowls Club, which was an upstairs bowls facility with 7 rinks, a
Burger King , a
Pizza Hut , a large arcade in the middle of the
building, snooker and pool tables, a discothèque called Visage, later
named Lava, a nightclub named Ethos, later named Ignite and a themed
bar named Jumpin Jaks, later named JJ's, as well as the aforementioned
ice rink. It was built at a cost of £22 million and even had its own
mascots, Larry the aquatic creature and Pierre the ice skating polar
bear. Toddlerworld closed in 2004 for unknown reasons. The nightclub,
discothèque, themed bar and Hotshots all closed in 2011 due to their
Luminar Leisure going into administration. Aquasplash
closed in early 2014 to make way for new developments. The Pizza Hut
then left at the end of the same year.
In 2012 plans were submitted by the then landlords Capital & Regional
to redevelop the site. It proposed a collection of family friendly
cafes & restaurants, with Aquasplash closing down, with a brand new
play area, gym and bowling alley with the ice rink and cinema. The
Leisure World complex would be demolished as soon as the new unnamed
project is completed. This was expected to begin construction in
summer 2012 and be completed in early spring 2013. However, no
developments took place for a couple of years. The ice rink was also
proposed to close, a move seen as controversial by many locals. But
after a lengthy campaign from activists, the ice rink was saved.
Finally, in July 2014, demolition of the old nightclubs and the
Aquasplash began, to be replaced by a new plan from new landlords
featuring new restaurants and a gym, which opened between December
2014 and June 2015. The cinema continued to operate while the ice rink
went under refurbishment. The cinema then revealed it was planning to
expand from 8 screens to 17, with the old bowling alley, arcade,
Hemel Hempstead Old Town, with the spire of St Mary\'s
Church , founded in 1140.
Historically, the area was agricultural and was noted for its rich
cereal production. The agricultural journalist
William Cobbett noted
Hemel Hempstead in 1822 that "..the land along here is very fine: a
red tenacious flinty loam upon a bed of chalk at a yard or two
beneath, which, in my opinion, is the very best corn land that we have
in England." By the 18th century the grain market in Hemel was one of
the largest in the country. In 1797 there were 11 watermills working
in the vicinity of the town.
The chalk on which Hemel is largely built has had commercial value
and has been mined and exploited to improve farmland and for building
from the 18th century. In the Highbarns area, now residential, there
was a collapse in 2007 of a section of old chalk workings and
geological studies have been undertaken to show the extent of these
In the 19th century, Hemel was a noted brickmaking , paper
manufacturing and straw-plaiting centre. In later 19th and early 20th
centuries, Hemel was also a noted watercress growing area, supplying
1/16 of the country's national demand – following development of the
New Town, the watercress growing moved to nearby
Berkhamsted and Tring
. The cress beds were redeveloped as the modern-day Water Gardens.
Joseph Cranstone's engineering company was founded in 1798, and was
responsible for much of the early street lighting in the town as well
as it first gasworks . It became the
Hemel Hempstead Engineering
Company and stayed in business until the
Second World War
Second World War . In 1867
Cranstone's son built a steam powered coach which he drove to London,
but which was destroyed in a crash on the return journey. A local
Boxmoor pub commemorates the event.
In 1803 the first automatic papermaking machinery was developed in
Hemel by the Fourdrinier brothers at Frogmore. Paper making expanded
in the vicinity in the early 19th century and grew into the huge John
Dickinson mills in the 20th.
A traditional employer in the area was also Brock\'s , manufacturer
of fireworks . The factory was a significant employer since well
before the Second World War, and remained in production until the
mid-1970s. The present-day neighbourhood of
Woodhall Farm was
subsequently built on the site.
From 1967 to 1983, it was home to one of the most remarkable
newspaper experiments of recent times, when the Thomson Organisation
Hemel Hempstead Evening Post-Echo . This comprised two
evening papers – the Evening Echo and the Evening Post – and was
based at a modern headquarters in Mark Road which had previously been
used as a hot water bottle factory. The dual operation was conceived
by Lord Thomson of Fleet to take on the Northcliffe and Beaverbrook
domination of the London evening paper market and tap into what he saw
as a major source of consumer advertising.
The papers were remarkable not only for technological innovation but
also journalistic excellence. Both the Evening Echo and Evening Post
won design awards during the late 1960s and early 1970s, but it was
the Evening Echo that took the major writing honours, with John
Marquis being voted Provincial Journalist of the Year in 1974 and
Melanie Phillips being named Young Journalist of the Year in 1975.
Many outstanding journalists worked on both papers during their
heyday, with several going on to be editors and leading Fleet Street
figures. Unfortunately, the operation fell victim to the freesheet
revolution of the 1980s, the titles closing in 1983 with the loss of
Significant historic local firms include:
Addressograph , address labels and labelling systems
Apple Computer 's UK operations were originally based in Hemel,
though they moved to much larger premises in
Uxbridge during the late
British Petroleum .
Brocks Fireworks , firework manufacturer
Crosfield Electronics – digital imaging systems, now part of
Hemel Hempstead Evening Post-Echo , then part of Thomson Regional
Newspapers and one of the few nightly regional newspapers
* John Dickinson and Sons, paper manufacturing
* Lucas Aerospace – moved (as TRW Aeronautical Systems) to
Pitstone in 2002.
Phoenix Gateway sculpture at the entrance to Maylands Business
Park commemorates the
Buncefield fire .
Hemel Hempstead has a mixture of heavy and light engineering
companies and has attracted a significant number of information
technology and telecommunications sector companies helped by its
proximity to London and the UK motorway network. However, (and again
in common with many new towns) it has a much narrower business base
than established centres, particularly
St Albans .
Significant firms with a local presence include:
* ACT (formerly
Apricot Computers )
Amazon.com has a distribution warehouse on the Maylands Business
Park next door to the Buncefield oil storage depot.
Aquascutum , clothing manufacturer
* AXIA web based clothing retailer
ASOS.com , Customer Care department of UK's largest online fashion
* BP Oil, petroleum
BSI Product Services
BSI Product Services
British Telecom , telecommunications
* BSI (
British Standards Institution) materials testing
Britvic , producer of soft drinks.
DuPont , petrochemicals
Epson , consumer electronics
Aon Hewitt , human resources (personnel) out-sourcing and benefits
administration consulting arm of Aon
* Kent Brushes (G B Kent & Sons Ltd), established in 1777 ">
Hemel Hempstead railway station is on the
West Coast Main Line
West Coast Main Line , on
the western edge of the town.
In 1798 the construction of the
Grand Junction Canal reached Hemel
Hempstead. Now part of the
Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal , it is a popular route
for narrowboat pleasure craft and is maintained by the Canal this was
the site of the former sports club for the employees of Brocks
Fireworks . There are, of course, many amateur sides throughout the
Camelot Rugby Club is a rugby union club founded in 1919 and play in
London 2 North West , a seventh tier league in the English rugby union
league system . The club's home ground is at
In rugby league ,
Hemel Stags , founded in 1981, were admitted to the
Championship 1 in the 2013 season and now operate as a
semi-professional club. In addition, rugby league is played at every
senior school in the town.
Hemel Storm are a basketball team that compete in the second tier
English Basketball League
English Basketball League Division 1. They play their home games at
Sportspace and are sponsored by nationwide firm Vanarama .
Hemel Hempstead Town
Cricket Club, founded in 1850, has a pitch and
practice facilities at Heath Park, near the town centre. The Boxmoor
Cricket Club, founded in 1857, have a ground nearby on Blackbirds
Leverstock Green , there is the eponymously named Leverstock
A large multiple roomed indoor laser tag arena called Quasar has been
located in the Marlowes since 1994.
Hemel Hempstead has an indoor snow centre, a real snow indoor sports
venue which, opened in April 2009, and offers a range of indoor snow
based sports and activities. Playing bowls at
Dacorum Athletic Club is based at Jarman Park.
Hemel Hempstead Bowls
Club has its greens at
Gadebridge Park also has an outdoor skatepark that was designed and
supplied by local extreme sports fanatics "Hemel Skates" after earning
₤65,000 through fundraising.
Leverstock Green Tennis Club provides courts and coaching for members
and other courts are available in public parks. There are private
indoor facilities at Hemel Indoor Tennis Centre at Abbot\'s Hill
Nash Mills .
The local authority (
Borough Council ) provides the
infrastructure for several of the sports mentioned above. In addition,
there is a sports centre at
Boxmoor and shared public facilities at a
number of secondary schools, provided via Sportspace. These provide
multi-purpose courts (badminton, basketball, etc.), gymnasia and
swimming pools. There are also private, 'members only' gymnasia.
There are two 18-hole golf courses just outside the south western
edge of the town. One is in the grounds of Shendish Manor and the
other, Little Hay is off Box Lane, on
Box Moor Trust land. There was
also a 9-hole course (Boxmoor) also located on Box Lane. This closed
in July 2011, and is now overgrown, mainly used for people walking
Wildcards Roller Hockey Club was established in 1996 and is a
non-profit making organisation run by volunteers to enable people to
Inline Hockey in Hertfordshire.
Jarman Park had a ten pin bowling alley, ice skating, and a swimming
pool with slides until they closed at the end of 2013. The only 2
facilities left in Jarman Park are the XC an extreme sport centre with
indoor skate boarding, rock climbing, bowls and potholing facilities.
Close to Jarman Park is the Snow Centre, the UK's largest indoor ski
Hemel Hempstead has several swimming clubs the most notable of which
Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club , the town also has FIFOLITS Swimming
club and also boasts a swimming squad
Borough Swimming Squad
which brings together the best swimmers in the borough.
There are six state maintained secondary schools in the town:
Adeyfield School – Business and Enterprise College
Astley Cooper School – A Specialist College for the Visual Arts.
* Cavendish School – A Specialist Sports College
Hemel Hempstead School – A Specialist Performing Arts, Maths &
John F Kennedy Catholic School – A Specialist Technology and
Modern Foreign Languages College (Roman Catholic)
Longdean School – A Maths and Computing Academy
There are also independent (fee-paying) schools in, or adjacent, to
* Abbot\'s Hill School – a day and boarding school for girls
Lockers Park School – a day and boarding school for boys aged
Westbrook Hay School – a co-educational school for children aged
In addition there is a
West Herts College Campus based in the town
In 2006, the local education authority has judged that there are too
many primary school places in the town and has published proposals to
reduce them. The options involved school amalgamations and closures.
A list of schools taking children of primary age is at primary schools
Hemel Hempstead returns its own MP at Westminster as the Hemel
Hempstead parliamentary constituency . At the May 2005 General
election the seat changed from Labour to Conservative .
Mike Penning ,
(Conservative), was elected with a majority of 499, just over 1%. In
Mike Penning was again returned as MP taking 50% of the vote
with an increased majority of 13,406. The previous MP was Tony
McWalter , (
Labour Co-operative ), first elected 1997.
Hemel Hempstead, as part of the
Borough of Dacorum, is twinned with:
Neu-Isenburg , Germany
Hemel is famous for its "Magic
Roundabout " (officially called the
"Plough Roundabout" from a former adjacent public house), an
interchange at the end of the town centre (Moor End), where traffic
from six routes meet. Traffic is able to circulate in both directions
around what appears to be a main central roundabout (which it used to
be), with the normal rules applying at each of the six
mini-roundabouts encircling this central reservation. It was the first
such circulation system in Britain.
Hemel claims to have the first purpose built multi-storey car park in
Britain. Built in 1960 into the side of a hill in the Marlowes
shopping district, it features a giant humorous mosaic map of the area
by the artist
Rowland Emett .
The new town centre contains many sculptures by notable artists from
the 1950s including a 1955 stone mural by sculptor Alfred Gerrard
entitled Stages in the Development of Man. There is also the Rock &
Rollers sculpture, which once resided outside Bank Court but has been
moved to the water gardens, Water Play, a fountain, a 3D map of 1940s
Hemel, and the Residents' Rainbow, a concrete and glass rainbow
sculpture in the Marlowes that has become an unofficial war memorial.
The new town centre is laid out alongside landscaped gardens and water
features formed from the
River Gade known as the Watergardens designed
G. A. Jellicoe . The Watergardens is home to many ducks, which have
been known to cause major delays on the surrounding roads. The main
shopping street, Marlowes, was pedestrianised in the early 1990s.
Hemel also was home of one of the first community based television
stations West Herts TV which later became Channel 10.
For many years the lower end of Marlowes featured a distinctive
office building built as a bridge-like structure straddling the main
road. This building was erected on the site of an earlier railway
viaduct carrying the Hemel to
Harpenden railway, known as the Nickey
Line . When the new town was constructed, this part of the railway was
no longer in use and the viaduct demolished. The
Nickey Line is now
used for walking. The office building, occupied by BP , was designed
to create a similar skyline and effect as the viaduct. In the early
1980s it was discovered that the building was subsiding dangerously
and it was vacated and demolished. Adjacent to BP buildings was a
unique double-helix public car park. The lower end of Marlowes was
redeveloped into the Riverside shopping complex, which opened on 27
October 2005. Retailers taking residence at the Riverside complex,
Debenhams and H the 20-storey
Kodak building, consisting of 18
office floors, 2 plantroom floors, and a basement. It also had an anex
building 2 stories high, containing a restaurant, cinema, and a gym.
Built as the
Kodak company's UK HQ the tower was vacated in 2005. It
was then temporarily reoccupied in 2006 after the Buncefield explosion
destroyed Kodak's other Hemel offices. It has since been converted
The Heathrow Airport holding area known as the
Bovingdon stack lies
just west of the town. On a clear day, at peak times, several circling
aircraft can be visible in the sky.
The national headquarters of the Boys\' Brigade is located at Felden
Lodge, near Hemel.
A series of 33 ft high blue steel arches called the Phoenix Gateway
has been installed on the roundabout closest to the Hemel Hempstead
junction of the
M1 motorway . The aim is to regenerate the town after
Buncefield fire with a striking piece of commercial art. It is
funded by the
East of England
East of England Development Agency .
In December 2005 a series of explosions and fires at Buncefield oil
depot was regarded as the largest in peace-time Europe.
Buncefield fire in December 2005
Notable people associated with the town in order of birth date:
Nicholas Breakspear (c. 1100–1159), the only English Pope
Adrian IV 1154–1159) was born in nearby Bedmond, a village between
Abbots Langley .
* Richard Field (1561–1616) a theologian associated with the
founding of the
Anglican Church , was born in Hemel Hempstead.
* Sir Francis Bacon (1561–1626) was
Lord of the Manor
Lord of the Manor of
Gorhambury which included
Hemel Hempstead from 1601.
Robert Snooks (c. 1761–1802) England's last highwayman to be
executed and buried at the scene of his crime lies here.
Astley Cooper (1768–1841) English surgeon and anatomist .
Gadebridge House, the grounds of which are now a public park.
* John Dickinson (1782–1869), inventor and founder of the paper
mills at Apsley and
Nash Mills which evolved into John Dickinson plc,
built and lived at Abbots Wood, Nash Mills.
Arthur Evans , (1851–1941) archaeologist , was born at the
"Red House", Nash Mills.
Lyn Harding (1867–1952) actor and film star lived at a house
called Logandene in Tile Kiln Lane, Leverstock Green, Hemel Hempstead.
Prince Maurice of Battenberg (1891–1914), grandson of Queen
Victoria was a pupil at
Lockers Park School .
Loben Edward Harold Maund (1892–1957) was a rear admiral of the
Royal Navy and captain of HMS Ark Royal at the time of her sinking in
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900–1979),
admiral, statesman and an uncle of the Duke of Edinburgh, was a pupil
Lockers Park School . He also had the combined Corner Hall boys'
and girls' school was named Mountbatten after him and visited the
school for the opening. The school was located on what is now the
Jarman Park site.
Guy Burgess , (1911–1963), Russian spy, was a pupil at Lockers
Park School .
Ashley George Old , (1913–2001), the artist spent many months in
Hemel Hempstead in 1959 recording the changes as the New Town evolved.
Salem Hanna Khamis (1919–2005) was a Palestinian economic
statistician for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation
who helped formalise the Geary-Khamis method of computing purchasing
power parity of currencies. In later life lived in
Hemel Hempstead and
Roger Moore , (born 1927) actor, famous for his roles as The Saint
James Bond , lived in Tile Kiln Close, Leverstock Green, Hemel
Hempstead in the 1960s.
* John Lynch (born 1931), according to the Guinness Book of records,
the man with the most body piercings in the world, has lived in Apsley
Christopher Trace (1933–1992) first presenter of
BBC TV's Blue
Peter children's show lived for a time in Blacksmiths Row, Leverstock
* James Purves (born 1937), cricketer
Bill Morris, Baron Morris of Handsworth (born 1938), former leader
TGWU , lived in
Hemel Hempstead and still lives within the
Borough of Dacorum.
Michael Bradshaw (1933–2001) Anglo/Canadian actor grew up in
Boxmoor from 1938 until the mid-1950s
Malcolm Phipps (born 1942) Author, poet and world-renowned 8th Dan
International Karate Instructor lives in Hemel Hempstead.
Paul Boateng , (born 1951) Britain's first black Cabinet minister
and Ambassador to South Africa, attended
Apsley Grammar School (now
part of Longdean School). He first stood for Parliament in Hemel
Dave Vanian (born 1956)(real name David Lett), the lead singer of
the Damned , was born and lived in Chaulden.
Ian Lygo (born c. 1958), a civil servant, made 75 successful
appearances on the UK game show 100% in late 1998.
Dougie Brimson (born 1959) the author and screenwriter was born
and lives in Hemel Hempstead.
Chris Pig (born 1965) is an internationally respected master
printmaker, lived in
Hemel Hempstead and attended Longdean School.
Claire Skinner (born 1965) actress was born (1965) and brought up
in Hemel Hempstead.
Steven Wilson , (born 1967) multi-instrument musician, singer,
songwriter and producer was brought up here from age 6 after his
family moved from London. His band
Porcupine Tree was also formed in
Hemel Hempstead around the year 1987. His home studio "No-Man's Land",
in which he has recorded most of the body of his work, is located
Caroline, Lady Dalmeny was born and brought up in Hemel Hempstead.
Luke Donald , (born 1977) was born in Hemel Hempstead. He is a
golfer who plays mainly on the US based
PGA Tour .
Anthony Davidson , (born 1979)
Formula One driver was born here.
Tommy W. Smith , (born 1980) was born in Hemel Hempstead. He is a
footballer who plays for Brentford in the Football League Championship
Chris Eagles , (born 1985) footballer for Blackpool in the
Football League Championship
Football League Championship is from Hemel Hempstead.
Jordan Parkes ,(born 1989), an English footballer, playing for
Hemel Hempstead Town , is from Leverstock Green.
Max Whitlock , (born 13 January 1993) member of Britain's
gymnastics team at the
2012 Summer Olympics
2012 Summer Olympics in London and double gold
medalist at the
2016 Summer Olympics in
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro .
Cauley Woodrow , (born 2 December 1994), an English football
player playing for Fulham .
Sheyi Ojo , (born 19 June 1997), an English footballer playing for
Harry Winks , (born 2 February 1996), an English footballer
playing for Tottenham Hotspur .
FILM, TELEVISION AND ENTERTAINMENT
FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCTION
Quatermass 2 used Hemel Hempstead, which was at the time under
development, for the fictional new town of Winerton Flats.
* Pie in the Sky (a
BBC police drama) was filmed in Hemel. At one
point, the site for the restaurant was a florist but is now a shop
selling Dolls Houses. A nearby restaurant changed its name to Pie in
the Sky for a short time while the series was popular. The current
shopfront and surrounding properties were also featured in the
Midsomer Murders episode "The Sword of Guillaume".
Birthday Girl (a 2001 film starring
Nicole Kidman and Ben Chaplin
Hemel Hempstead prominently during scenes showing the main
character going to and from his place of work (a fictional bank
somewhere in Bank Court). However scenes shown in the parking garage
and the side streets show
St Albans .
* A film version of the TV series
Till Death Us Do Part
Till Death Us Do Part was filmed
in part around the town.
* The Old Town appeared for a few seconds in the Oasis soft drink
'Fruity drinks and lunchtime dreams' TV commercial first aired in 2010
– the moving sandwich shop rolls down High Street.
David Walliams ' Christmas programme
Mr Stink was also filmed in
Hemel, with much of
Gadebridge Park being used.
Softly Softly an offshoot from Z Cars used Shendish
House as the
headquarters. Softly Softly started in 1966
The Pavilion was an iconic 1960s structure sited on the Marlowes just
in front of the library. It was an entertainments venue that hosted
emerging and internationally famous acts between the 1960s and 1990s.
Jazz artists included
Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen ,
Count Basie ,
Oscar Peterson and
Buddy Rich .
Rock and Pop acts included
David Bowie ,
Eric Clapton , U2 , Wishbone
Talking Heads ,
Ian Dury , Genesis , Quintessence and Status Quo
The venue closed and the building demolished in 2002. According to
local media reports
Borough Council decided it was 'becoming
increasingly unsuitable to meet the leisure needs of the local
community'. A 'memorial service' was held on the tenth anniversary of
its closure in 2012.
ART AND PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY
For a full list of public art works see List of public art in Hemel
The woods at Cupid's Green, painted by
Ashley George Old in 1959
The Old Bell pub in Hemel old town has parts built in 1615 but is on
the site of even older inns. Contains some unusual French wallpaper
dating back to 1821, which has been cleaned by the Victoria ">
This 1971 office block formed
Kodak 's European HQ until closed in
2006. In 2010 it was being converted into flats. In the foreground is
River Gade and to the right a road sign for the 'Magic
Apsley Lock Marina, Hemel Hempstead, built in 2003.
The Church of St Mary's (1871) stands above the modern Sainsbury's
supermarket in Apsley.
Northeast side of the Magic Roundabout, Hemel Hempstead. The
"roundabout" is a series of 6 mini roundabouts spaced around a larger
closely looped circulation system.
Hemel Hempstead Old Town.
A Southern train at
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9th entry, first line
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Dacorum Heritage Trust Archived 8 March 2005 at the Wayback
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Accessed April 2007
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* ^ "What does the future hold for ‘Wally World’?".
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Mascot Costume. Archived from the original on 23 November 2015.
* ^ "Phase One of £7million cinema revamp set to be unveiled".
* ^ "Old Town Hemel Hempstead". dacorum.gov.uk.
* ^ "Gade and Original Marlowes Zone". dacorum.gov.uk.
* ^ "Jellicoe Water Gardens". dacorum.gov.uk.
* ^ "Hospital Zone". dacorum.gov.uk.
* ^ "Plough Zone". dacorum.gov.uk.
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* ^ "Vision of Britain -
William Cobbett - June 19th to 24th, 1822:
Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire".
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Borough Council. 2008.
Retrieved 23 November 2008.
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* ^ "About us".
Dacorum Sports Trust. 2007. Archived from the
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* ^ "
Hemel Hempstead (Camelot) RUFC
Hertfordshire - London & SE
Division - London 2 North West". camelotrugby.co.uk.
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Hemel Hempstead at ihertfordshire. Accessed October 2013
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Hemel Hempstead Review of Primary School Places" (PDF).
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BBC News – Result: Hemel Hempstead". 6 May 2005. Retrieved
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* ^ Rainbow to get a splash of colour, Hemel Gazette, 17 March 2010
* ^ Name for new Maylands sculpture
Hemel Hempstead Gazette, 30 May
2007. Accessed August 2007
* ^ "Buncefield tank \'was overflowing\'".
BBC News. 9 May 2006.
Retrieved 5 June 2007.
* ^ "Retired bank manager sets record for most body piercings".
Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
* ^ http://www.bbc.com/sport/olympics/36688213
* ^ Hearn, Marcus;
Jonathan Rigby (2003). Quatermass 2. Viewing
Notes. London: DD Video. DD06155.
* ^ Oasis commercial, YouTube.
* ^ "Who\'s the big shot kicking up a stink in Hemel?". hemeltoday.
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"How historic treasures have devalued a house", Sunday Times , 12
November 2000 by Chris Partridge; p. 15
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