Thursday Doors – Blacksmith Row

img_3409This door is the end one in a row of three connected cottages called Blacksmith Row. There is no blacksmith there any more but, as with so many names in Britain, clues to the history of the place lie in the name. When Leverstock Green was a village, before the post-war new town developments made it part of Hemel Hempstead, there was a smithy to the right of the cottages – in fact, right where the resident of this cottage now has a smart fenced garden.

img_3406Even though it’s been absorbed into a larger town, Leverstock Green still has a village feel, with the old pub, cricket played on the green and the picturesque cottages with their lovely gardens. I particularly like how, even though the cottages are separately owned, the owners have chosen to have the same colour front doors. It made them the perfect candidate for my Thursday Doors post this week.

This is my entry to Norm 2.0’s weekly Thursday Doors Challenge. For more doors, or to add one of your own, visit Norm’s site and click the link.


Thursday Doors – Lend A Hand

I was going to call this post ‘Handy Knockers’, or ‘Knock Me Up,’ but realised both titles probably wouldn’t work so well with a lot of my regular readers (though they may have attracted some new ones!) 😀

So here are my doors for Norm 2.0’s regular weekly challenge. Both images were taken in my home town, and both doors share a similar feature – the door knockers are in the shape of a hand.

IMG_2198This first door comes from a house with a storied history, one of the oldest dwellings in the area.

IMG_2196As you can see from the wall plaque, it’s had many different uses over the years.

IMG_2211This second door is from the rear of what is now a commercial property, but was once a fine Georgian house. While the surroundings may be a little dingy now, it’s nice to think of how it once might have been, when Hemel Hempstead was a country town outside London.

For more doors, or to add on of your own to Norm’s challenge, simply visit his blog and click the link 🙂

A Trip Through The Old Town, Hemel Hempstead

IMG_2175Today’s post is a weekend wander around Hemel Hempstead. There is a reason for this – last week, on my Thursday Doors post, roughseasinthemed asked if I could post some pictures of the Old Town area, as I had mentioned that improvements had recently been undertaken. Apparently their partner used to live here, and was curious to see what had been done. So here we are.

IMG_2163Hemel Hempstead Old Town has buildings dating back to the 1500s, though it is believed there has been settlement here since Roman times. Henry VIII used to rampage his way through here, and had a hunting lodge nearby, plus there are rumours of secret tunnels and trysts with Anne Boleyn. He is reputed, as is Anne, to haunt at least one building in the Old Town.

IMG_2180The Old Town has a mix of architectural styles, from half-timbered Tudor buildings,

IMG_2173to Georgian shops and apartments,

IMG_2164to the Victorian splendour of the rebuilt Corn Market, home to my Thursday door.

IMG_2194There are old carriageways leading to hidden courtyards,

IMG_2195Where the gates have been open so long, flowers grow around them.

IMG_2151The improvements took place a couple of years ago and are still ongoing. A rather nice set of gates was installed, one with an image of the church steeple, the other with the old Town Hall.

IMG_2176New paving and parking bays were laid, adding to the appeal of the streetscape.

IMG_2160The building covered in scaffolding was, until recently, a rather unattractive late 70s/early 80s edifice in dark red brick, a bit of an eyesore when compared to the other architecture in the area. It has now been painted off-white and is undergoing other renovations, no doubt trying to make it more sympathetic to the area.

IMG_2155This building is still a mystery, though a small plaque on the front door reads ‘Bank’. It is no longer a bank, and the tattered curtains and peeling woodwork add to the air of intrigue.

IMG_2170This is a small parking area overlooking the Norman church and graveyard. When it was being repaved, an underground chamber was discovered. Perhaps a remnant of the rumoured tunnels?


I’ll finish with a view over Gadebridge Park, which runs behind the Old Town. Apparently ghostly galloping can be heard there at night – at one time, the Park was private land belonging to a large house (now gone). The owner of the house was a military veterinarian and he used the land to rehabilitate injured cavalry horses, so was somewhat ahead of his time. Apparently the horses lived out their days in peace and tranquility but, every so often, would make formation and charge down the field, as though reliving their battle days. So perhaps it is their hooves that people hear…

Thanks for taking a trip around the Old Town with me. Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday Doors – Corn Market, Hemel Old Town


This rather impressive door is located in the old market place, Hemel Hempstead. The market dates back to 1539, when Henry VIII granted a Charter of Incorporation to the town, giving them a weekly Thursday market. The market grew in size and popularity to the point that Daniel Defoe, in his 1724 work, A Tour Of England, described it as an ‘extraordinary corn market’.

In 1851-8, the Market building was rebuilt in a grand Victorian style, part of which included this door, helpfully inscribed with the names of the architect, builder and local bailiff. You’ll note it’s now marked ‘Stage Door’ – that’s because the Victorian building is now a theater, hosting a variety of music, comedy and drama performances, as well as regular movie screenings.


This is my entry to this week’s Thursday Doors, Norm 2.0’s regular blog challenge. To see more doors, or to add your own, simply visit Norm’s site and click the link.


Thursday Doors – Hemel Hempstead Old Town


This is not the first door I’ve featured from our local Old Town, which has buildings dating back to the 1500’s. There was the mystery door at Number 28, and the wonderfully ornate door of St Mary’s Church.


This door, however, is from a residential building. I know it’s a private residence because, when we moved here and were looking for a house, it was on the market. Sadly it was a bit beyond what our budget could afford, but, on a recent walk through the Old Town, I thought I’d take a photo of the door as a reminder of what could have been. I l think the colour contrasts beautifully with the old red bricks and dark timbers, plus I enjoy the owl door knocker.


And here is a bonus view from the front of the property looking along the street – a lovely mix of old residences and shops.

This is my entry for this week’s Thursday Doors Challenge, courtesy of Norm 2.0. To see more doors or add one of your own, visit Norm’s site and click the link.

Thursday Doors – St Mary’s Church


This is one of the entrance doors into St Mary’s Church, Hemel Hempstead. I love the colour of the wood and the curling ironwork hinges, reminiscent of the more ornate doors at Notre Dame, Paris.

St Mary’s Church is in Hemel Hempstead, England. It is a Norman building, built between 1140 and 1180, and has a wonderful 14th century spire, one of the tallest in Europe. The Church is still in use – friends of mine were married there, and you can hire out the adjacent Church Hall for parties. It’s located in the Old Town, and there are plenty of stories about Henry VIII rampaging through these parts, chasing after Anne Boleyn. I wonder if they ever visited the Church? 😉


————————————————————————————————————This is my entry for Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors Challenge – to see more doors, or add one of your own, visit his blog and click on the link.