Why not contribute to Web page on early Families of Wheathampstead
Updated 01 October, 2015
My name is Wendy Hatton.
My parents, Geoff & Mary Hatton moved to Wheathampstead in about 1955 from Yorkshire. I was born there in 1956. Dad worked for Hawker Siddley. Mum had been a nurse but was not working for the years we were there. I have an older sister, Julie, and younger siblings, Carole and Gary who were both born in Wheathampstead. In 1960 we went to Australia where Dad worked at Woomera rocket range. We returned in 1963 and stayed for 3 years before migrating to live permanently in South Australia in 1966.
My memories of the village are somewhat sketchy but I do recognise some of the
streets and buildings from photos on the website. I am pretty sure Dad used to
visit the Cherry Tree which was close to our home. I remember
watching swans on the Lea river and collecting chestnuts for conker fights.
Lesley (myself) 1954
The front of the house used to have a hedge, I see now it’s gone (Google). Behind the house was a farmers field and once the wheat had been harvested we (the children of the neighborhood) would go and pull up the stubble and have “stubble bomb” fights. Also we collected the hay and made a huge pile at the back of the garden and everyone, adults included, had great fun playing in it. Our last Guy Fawkes was held in the farmer’s field with a massive bonfire and all the surrounding neighbors joining us. Next to us, looking from the front, on our left hand side was a Mrs. Onions. But was pronounced OwNions. She used to put nets over her strawberries and my sister and I would sneak over the fence to rescue birds caught up in it, and natural have a strawberry or two. She considered “fierce” by us children, but was kind enough to let us watch Swallows & Amazons on her tele, after we sold our, just before coming here. But the biggest influence of our lives was picking up Roman pottery in the farmers field after he had plowed and in Devil’s Dyke. We LOVED the woods and would spend hours is it. Along Dyke Lane there was a sideward’s growing branch in a hedge that we used as a jumping pole and naturally a place in the lane where we had our “castle” and had to beat each other up into to become “king” Conquers Hill, in those days, was naturally very steep, but my sister, who has been back, tell me its just a mere rise. At the bottom was a shop where we did shopping for our Mother after school with its bubble gum machine outside.
The women of the neighborhood would at berry season gather with there baskets and babies in prams and off we would go on this huge adventure, sandwiches, tea and all to gather the berries.
We started school in Wheathampstead but for reason unknown, we were sent to Sandridge. We would walk along Ceases Road, past the pig sty’s, through the turnstile and catch a bus. Our brother, Alan, would have a great reluctance to go with us and our Mother often had to take him in our Mini Bus, Reg 22 ENM. At the school, was her friend Margaret, who was the; lollipop lady, who had her shin batter by the little boy, even the headmaster was not immune from his kicks. But always at home time he was a perfect angel.
Snow, is another remembrance, and build “igloos” outside on the grass. In fact, stage to say, I live now in one of the few places it something snows in South Africa and this reinforces the memory. And of the sledge called Tiny, Alan pushing me in the fish pond, my pet tortoise that did not survive the winter, the frilly dresses, church and my sister taking change from the collection plate. The village pond with swans, the water race which gave me nightmares for years until I saw a picture of it, the bakery where we bought warm Baps. Many memories that soon I hope to revisit soon.
From Lynda Downey (nee Emmerson)
My sister has
sent a photo of all of us just before we emigrated to South Africa.
Here are a few memories of our time in Wheathampstead. By the way I have been
back twice once in 1993 and once this year during the lovley snow. The village
was so beautiful and white and I had a lovely walk in Devils Dyke. I wish I
had never left. I am amazed at the very few changes since 1964.
From Ian MacDonald
I moved with my parents (Hugh (mac) and Elsie MacDonald to Wheathampstead from Liverpool in 1952. We were the first occupants of 5 Offas Way. At that time, there was a big field in the middle, which was later built on, and the bungalows were not there then.
Neighbours I recall were, the Ansells next door and the Mathews one door up. Further up the hill were the Fletchers. In one of the first four houses in Offas Way was a family called Reid. I remember the young girl Pat who went on to a grammar school in St.Albans. David (I cannot recall the surname) lived in the house that ran at the end of my garden and we spent many happy hours playing cricket on the little piece of waste land. Around the corner in Conquers Hill was Colin Kelvey and Susan Spicer. Susan I met up with a few years ago in Harpenden.
I started school at St.Helens, next to the old church. One of your expatriates quoted the buckets catching the rain and the central heating (wood burner in centre of room) which brought back memories. I also recall the library opposite the school. I recall Mr Price and Mr Thrustle (who I did communicate with a few years ago as he moved on to a school in St.Albans). I seem to recall a Mrs Leach as my first teacher. After about three years I moved across the road to the upper school before moving to Roundwood Park school in Harpenden.
I have very happy memories of Wheathampstead. I belonged to the Congregational Church and made several theatrical appearances as well as being a member of the Lifeboys and Boys Brigade. I played football for Folly Athletic, reserves normally but did play two games for the first team. A home defeat to Hill End and a very satisfying draw at Wheathampstead whilst I was home on leave.
I certainly remember getting up at 5 am to do a paper round from the village paper shop. Then in 1962 I started working in the shop on Saturdays until I left school in October 1962 and worked full time until I left the village in January 1963 to join the RAF.
Unfortunately I do not have any photographs as
I did not get a camera until many years later. I have returned on several
occasions. The place has changed but not too much.
From Ian Macdonald email added 24 Dec 2011
From Nicola Wright
My late mother, Hazel Wright, was a contributor to your website (see Expats. page 2) and it gave her many years of pleasure.
I found a video of a car trip from Sandridge through Wheathampstead & it brought a lump to my throat.It brought back many memories of growing up in the village despite leaving in 1967 to come to Australia & never having returned. This led me to the expats site & reading through some of the recent contributions realized I have so many memories of the same places.
I lived on Lower Luton Rd, No 123 by the River Lea, where I was born in 1951, until I was 7. My parents then moved to Necton Rd, Marford where we lived until the family left for Australia. I went to St Helens school both infants & primary then also went to Roundwood SM in Harpenden.
It makes the world seem such a small place after all. I don't suppose any one remembers me but I would like to have a chat about those days if anyone else would. My email address is shown below.
Thank you for maintaining an excellent website, will visit again often.