A History of Preston

in Hertfordshire

Holly Cottages with barns and gardens

Back Lane, Preston saw a flurry of building demolition and construction between 1915 and 1918.

 

The then Lord of the Manor, H G Fenwick had the tumbledown cottages on the north-east side of the lane demolished - they were reported as being in a poor state in 1910. By September 1918, Holly Cottages had been built on the south-east side of the lane - Mary Payne, wife of Thomas, died there then.

 

Holly Cottages were built as tithe homes for retired workers of long standing from the Kings Walden Bury Estate which was then in the hands of Major John (Jack) Fenwick Harrison. Tithe in this sense means, ‘belonging to one owner - the Harrisons -  to be held in perpetuity’. Its residents were gamekeepers, woodmen, park wardens, gardeners, herdsmen, dairy workers, house servants and so on.

 

Holly Cottages (so named because of the holly bushes which fronted them) were three-up, two-down homes. They had a kitchen/dining room with a fireplace, walk-in pantry together with a coal/wood cellar just off this room. The front sitting room also had a fireplace. Upstairs were two bedrooms, front and back. These had ‘sloping ceilings, very inconvenient if you were tall’. There was space for two small beds in the front bedroom. The back bedroom could hold a double bed and wardrobe. There was also a small box room on this floor that was big enough for another wardrobe and perhaps a child’s crib.

 

Each of the cottages had a brick-built shed where there was a privy. The shed held tools for the ‘decent-sized garden’ which looked out onto a field. In their gardens, householders could grow vegetables or keep chickens.

 

After 1945, the coal/wood cellar was converted into a bathroom which boasted a bath, washbasin and toilet.

 

The tenants who were retired employees of the Estate did not pay rent but had to pay their utilities bills. Later, some of their children were allowed to rent the cottages.

 

 

Some of the residents of Holly Cottages 1920 - 1981

1920

George and Adelaide Andrews and George jnr.

Arthur and Mary Ayres

Harry Thomas and Daisy Brown

Robert and Louisa Crawley

Alfred James and Hilda Annie Hartless

Thomas and John Payne

The Peters family – George, Caroline, Isabella, Peter, Henry George, Walter Charles

John Swain

Frederick and Mary Annie Woodrow

 

1925

George and Adelaide Andrews and George jnr.

Arthur and Mary Ayres

Arthur Currell

Arthur and Agnes Dorothy Dobbs

Thomas Payne

George, Isabella and Caroline Peters

William George and Florence Daisy Staines

John Swain

Harry Cecil George and Nora Wilson

 

1930

George and Adelaide, George jnr and Emma Andrews

Arthur and Mary Ayres

Walter, Ellen and Lilian Bunyan

Arthur and Annie Currell

Arthur and Agnes Dorothy Dobbs

Thomas Payne

George Thomas and Eleanor Perry

John Swain

 

1951

1    Thomas E and Alice R Hedley

2    Arthur, Agnes Dorothy and Frederick Arthur Dobbs

3    Kathleen A Perry

4    Arthur, Annie and Alec Currell

5    John J, Lilian M and John J jnr Hodgson

6    Ellen Bunyan

7    Percy and Dorothy Rose Bailey

1955

1    Thomas E and Alice R Hedley

2    Arthur, Agnes and Frederick Arthur Dobbs and Elizabeth Porteous

3    Kathleen A Perry

4    Arthur and Annie Currell

5    John J and Clara Ann Hodgson

6    Ellen Bunyan

7    Alec and Sylvia Currell   

8    Frederick George and Norah B Baker

 

 

1961

1    Thomas E and Alice R Hedley

2    Agnes D Dobbs

3    Kathleen A and Priscilla J Perry

4    Annie Currell

5    John J and Clara A Hodgson

6    Ellen Bunyan

8    Robina A Cross

 

1965

1    Thomas E Hedley

3    Kathleen A Perry

4    Annie Currell

5    John J and Clara A Hodgson

6    Ellen Bunyan

7    Patrick N R and Mary D Cave-Browne

8    Thomas H and Robina A Cross

 

 

1971

1    Thomas E Hedley and Ellen Garner

3    Kathleen A Perry

4    Annie Currell

5    Charles and Shirley Welland

6    Ellen Bunyan

7    Frank Jenkins

8    Robina A Cross

 

1981

1    Thomas E Hedley

2    Alan G and Doris A Boxall

3    George F Parry

4    Annie Currell

5    Philip D and Ethel M Middleditch

6    Margaret J Banfill and Ellen M O’Dwyer

7    Frank Jenkins   

8    Robina A Cross

The silhouette of Holly Cottages, viewed from the Kings Walden Road

(I am grateful to former resident Ann Fenton (nee Middleditch) for allowing me to include her memories of the cottages.)

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