A History of Preston in Hertfordshire
Preston in the news - 1919
The Great War was over.
Preston had been touched by this conflict like no other, with dozens of its husbands and sons
(and even a daughter) being caught up in the swirl of fighting. Some had left England, never to
return. Yet villagers hadn’t exactly flocked to St Martins for support and consolation. In March
1918, it was announced:
1919 was a year of recovery and reparation, but the healing process was slow - there were no
reports of cricket played on the recreation ground for the entire year.
However, in March 1919, Hitchin Rural District Council approved the speedy building of twelve
new council houses along the north side of Chequers Lane. In addition, Mr and Mrs Vickers
showed that they accepted their obligations towards the village by some significant gestures,
as we will see.
The first news report of the year that featured Preston reflected the restoration of normal
village life, being a report of rainfall at Preston by R De V Pryor during 1918:
11 January 1919
12 April 1919
16 August 1919
On the 19 July 1919, Messrs Vickers and J C Priestly were elected as vice presidents of the North
Herts Football Association.
The after-shocks of war impacted even on Preston. In February 1919, Offley Holes House (which had
been used to accommodate German prisoners of war) was burnt to the ground. Later, some local
men sought to capitalise from this destruction:
15 March 1919
21 June 1919
27 September 1919
30 August 1919
On 8 March 1919, Hitchin Rural District Council approved
an apportionment of new houses among its villages which
included twelve at Preston. These were among those given
priority and were to be built as ‘speedily as possible’.
An offer of a site beside Chequers Lane from brewers
J W Green at £60 an acre was accepted. Hitchin RDC was
to provide 1,073 new houses as part of this scheme, which
included 600 at Letchworth.
Some of the requirements for the sites were that they
should be in villages (as opposed to being near farms where
the men worked) and in the vicinity of schools.
In addition to this new development, the building of Crunnells Green House was mooted on 3 May
Also in June 1919, the 250th anniversary of Tilehouse Street Baptist Church, Hitchin was celebrated
in Wain Wood:
There was an outbreak of scabies in Preston in June 1919:
There were three entries in the school log book about scabies of which the item above is the most
informative. Perhaps it was fortunate that the outbreak coincided with the fortnight holiday for the hay
28 June 1919
The summer was notable only for prizes won at the Sandy, Beds Flower Show:
There was little crime in Preston during the year………..
…..and only one death was reported in the newspapers, although the death of Frederick Armstrong
was commemorated - as it was in subsequent years:
- farm labourer of Sootfield Green