The West end of Fore Street was split into two, the north part running into The Wash and the southern part running into Castle Street. Between these two sections of road was a building block which has been pulled down and replaced by the war memorial.
On the North side of the street facing the centre block, at number 1 lived Annie Carton a 37 years old widow with her two children, Georgette aged 7 and Lucien aged 6. She ran a confectionery business and she had a live-in assistant Armond Binard, single, aged 20, from France. The children had been born in Hertford but Annie came from Colchester. Antonin Louis, her husband, had died the previous year. His and the children’s names, Armond’s name allied to the fact that his birth is not recorded in Britain, suggest that Antonin Louis was French. The house had five rooms.
At number 3 in three rooms lived two spinsters, Mary Elizabeth Hilton, aged 50, with her sister Frances Julia, aged 40. They were art needle workers with Mary described as the employer and ran an Art Needlework Depot, which sold “wools in all varieties and all requirements for fancy needlework catered”. They lived in three rooms.
Herbert Spencer Hawks, B.A., 47, was a solicitor with offices at number 3a. He lived at Mangrove Cottage with his wife of 11 years Florence Nina, 49, with their daughter Barbara Evelyn Spence, 8; their cook, Rosetta Neaves,32, from Ware and Annie Walker, 22, the housemaid from Bramfield, a village 6 miles north west of Hertford. He was the clerk to Hertford division & Hertford borough justices, deputy registrar of the county court, commissioner of oaths & clerk to the governors of Hertford Grammar School.
His father Augustus, although 77, is listed still as “clerk to poors estates” in Kelley’s Directory even though he is recorded as a retired solicitor in the census. He lived at 46, Queens Road with Emily, 78, his wife of 53 years, two spinster daughters, Emily Mary, 52, and Bessie, 50, and a married son, Frederick Augustus, 45, a “disengaged” hotel manager. He also had an office at 3a.
Stephen Austin & Sons Ltd., printers, wholesale booksellers, bookbinders & stationers & proprietors, printers & publishers of the “Hertfordshire Mercury” newspaper, see advertisement above, had its office at number 5.
At number 7, Elizabeth Marian Ashton, aged 53, lived off private means, with her companion Mary Catherine Russel, aged 36. Beatrice Mary Horne was the 23 years old, cook domestic. They lived in six rooms. All three ladies came from different parts of the country. Elizabeth came from Bowness on Lake Windermere in Westmorland (now called Cumbria); Mary Russel came from Brackley, Northamptonshire whilst Beatrice Horne came from Bishampton, in the south-eastern part of Worcestershire. Elizabeth (nee Cope) had married Edmond Ashton in Upton on Severn, Worcestershire in 1885. Edmund had died in King’s Norton in Worcestershire earlier in 1911. They had had one child.
James Smith & Co, saddlers & harness makers was at number 7, Fore Street.
At number 9 lived Charles Maffia, 52, who ran a jewellers with Mary, his 60 years old sister. They had both been born in Hertford and they occupied 7 rooms. Their parents Angelo (1811 – 1881) and Maria (1817 – 1907) were both born in Italy and they had come to England before 1846 when their daughter Martha had been born in London. Charles was also a watch maker which skills he had presumably learned from Frances Hayward who had been living with the family in 1851.
At number 11, William Roberts, 54, was a fruiterer and confectioner, from Welshpool, Montgomeryshire, and lived with Alice Annie, 40, his wife of 20 years, who had been born in Ware. They had two children, Doris Evelyn, 8, and Cecil William, 2, who had both been born in Hertford. Emily Sell, 15, lived with them as a domestic servant. She was from the village of Wadesmill just north of Ware on The Old North Road (Ermin Street). Mr Roberts had run his shop for some years, at least since 1901, although in 1891 he had been a coachman for Frederick Gordon, a solicitor, at Bentley Priory in Harrow, Middlesex.
Edward John Colbourne ran a drapery shop at number 13. He came from Cambridge. He had two of assistants: Charles George Atwood, 22, from Dover and Evan Thomas Lloyd, 24, from Kington, Herts. He also had two apprentices: Lucian Edward Hains (Haynes), 15 , from Grimston, Norfolk and Douglas Gordon Sprewson Snow, 17, from Henham, Essex. They must have led a cramped existence since the accommodation only had four rooms.
In 1901 Douglas Snow had lived with his uncle William Dixon, a 42 years old thatcher, William’s wife, 43, Martha and a son and three daughters in The Star House, Henham, Essex. At that time Lucian Edward Haynes, 15 had lived with his grandparents, John 65 and Sarah Ann 60 with his older brother Leslie 8 at The Cottage, Stocks Green, Castle Acre whilst Evan Thomas had been living with his family at Empton Farm, Kington.
Next door, at number 15, was a house furnishers trading under the name of Samuel Neale & Sons. At one time it had a sign stating: “Ye olde Furniture Shoppe” hung outside the shop. This was on the western corner of Market Place.
The Town, or Shire Hall was erected in 1768 and, according to Kelly’s Directory, “is a massive structure of brick in the Italian style with two projecting illuminated clock dials: on the ground floor are the courts and magistrates’ rooms and above a council chamber, assembly room and jury rooms: in 1886 a sum of nearly £3,000 was spent in carrying out the plans of the county surveyor for enlarging the court, providing judge’s room. new cells &c.” In 1911 the quarter sessions and assizes were held here.
The Shire Hall had a live-in caretaker, Robert Henry Williams, 51, from the village of Winterton (-on-Sea), on the East coast of Norfolk, about 10miles north of Great Yarmouth. He had been married to Mary Love, 50, for 21 years and they had two children. Robert and Mary were married in Blything, Suffolk in 1891. Their son, also called Robert, was 17 and an apprentice plumber whilst Rosie, 13, was still at school. The family had moved around the South of England since Robert, Jnr. was born in New Brompton, to the East of Chatham on the Medway in Kent but Rosie was born in Portsmouth. Alice Robinson, 48, Mary’s sister, was visiting on the night the census was taken.
On the eastern end of Market Place, taking up numbers 17 to 23 was the shop for Neale & Sons, clothiers and outfitters, trading under the name, “Bon Marche”. It seems reasonable to assume that this shop was now owned by Alfred Elms Neale, 31, a single draper who lived at The Old Vicarage, Church Street with Elizabeth Pratt, 56, from Watton as his house keeper and two housemaids, Kate Hatey, 25, from Aylesbury, Bucks and Fanny Bradley, 19, from Hertford Heath. Three, female draper’s assistants boarded at the house in Church Street, Maud Elizabeth Hadon, 24, from Abridge, in Essex; Frances Williams, 21, from Pembrey, Carmarthenshire and Blanch Harvey, 34, a widow from the port of Harwich, Essex. Alfred Neale was the son of Samuel J. Neale, a draper and upholsterer, who perhaps set up both this draper’s shop and the house furnishers at number 15. Alfred was also a motor car agent & dealer in Church Street.
At number 25, Alfred Charles Dickens, junior, ran a hairdresser’s. He was 42 and lived at 40, St Andrew Street with Amelia, 44, his wife, and their three children. Charles was born in Hertford and Amelia came from East Boldre , a hamlet just to the north of the Solent in Hampshire. They had been married for 18 years. Winifred May, 17, their daughter was an assistant schoolmistress. Charles Paige, 16, their eldest son was a clerk in the education Department, Hertfordshire County Council. Their younger son, Alfred Henry was 5. Lily Rayment, 16, from Ware was their domestic servant. Alfred’s father, also called Alfred Charles was also a hairdresser at 7, St Andrew Street even though he was 71. Alfred and Amelia were also long-lived as they were living at 7, Cowbridge in 1939.
At number 27, Walter Henry Frogley, 56 ran a tobacconist shop with his wife of 35 years, Caroline Frogley, also 56. Their daughter Minnie Alathea, 33 assisted in the business. All three were born in Hertford. They also had another child, who seems to be Walter William Frogley, 35, a police constable, who lived with his wife of 3 years, Eleanor, 31, and their son Robert Henry, 2, at The Laurels, Wareside. Eleanor was born in Rotherhithe whilst Robert was born in Wareside.
To the East of Market Street, (now Railway Street), The Corn Exchange and Public Hall was erected in 1858-9 on the site of the old Butcher’s Market. According to Kelly’s Directory, it “is an edifice of Bath stone, from designs by the late Mr Hill, architect, of Leeds, the front being relieved with pila supporting a carved frieze and cornice: in the tympanum are the arms of the borough and the whole is surmounted by a colossal figure of Ceres: the interior is covered in by a roof of one span, chiefly in glass, and ther is a gallery at one end.” Robert Wells is listed as the caretaker, presumably the Robert Wells, 65, who lived with Jane, 62, his wife of 37 years who lived at 12, Villiers Steet and was the Market Beadle. Robert came from the village of Sacombe, near Ware and Jane was born in Sawbridgeworth.
To the East of The Corn Exchange, at number 35 lived Albert Reginald Willson, 32, single, who ran a wine and spirit merchants trading under the name W. P. Willson & Co., and was the agent for the Anglo-Bavarian Brewery. He was from Sandy Mount, Dublin whilst his servant, Margaret Day, 52, married, was from Liverpool. They lived in seven rooms. In 1901, Margaret was nurse and assistant domestic to Emily Willson, 58, from Bloomsbury, living on her own means at 89, Ware Road and presumably a relation of Albert’s. At that time (1901) Albert was described still as a wine merchant but was one of two boarders with Susan Medcalf, a 50 years old widow, at 19, Raynham Street. Albert Reginald was the son of Albert Willson, a commercial traveller and in 1891 they were living in Kew, Richmond, although Albert senior had been born in Hertford. His wife, Mary was born in Ireland. Albert senior had retired to Turner’s Hill in Sussex with his wife by 1911.
At number 37 lived Edward Henry Debenham, aged 59 from Mundford, Norfolk who was managing a grocery shop with the name E. D. Rayment & Son. He lived with Harriet Elizabeth, 58, from St. Pancras, London, his wife of 36 years. They had had no children. In 1901 Edward had been a tea broker living in Rickmansworth, Herts, with his wife and a general, domestic servant, Louisa Dedman, from Albury, a village five miles west of Bishop’s Stortford.
Alice E. Piper, 59, (really 62!) and single, ran a confectionary shop and boarding house with 12 rooms at number 39. Alice was born at Burnham on the River Crouch, Essex. In 1911 Alice had one boarder, Mrs. C.M.D. Nairne, 48, from Madiera, a Women’s Suffrage organiser, who had been married for 30 years and had five children. There was one visitor, Mr. James W. Aves, 28 and single, a horse feeder in a livery yard, from Bottisham, then described as being in Norfolk but now in Cambridgeshire. In 1901 James was living with his family in Little Wilbraham and described as a bricklayer’s labourer. His father was a Farm Yardman at the time. In 1891 they lived at Swaffam Priory with his father described as a Farm Bailiff when James was at school.
Alice had been at number 39 for at least ten years. In 1901, Alice had had 6 boarders. In 1891 she was a Caretaker at 6 Gloucester Square, Paddington living with her neice, Nellie, 11. 1881 & 1871 Alice was a cook, domestic servant to two school governesses in Jeffrey’s Road, Lambeth. In 1861 she was living with her mother, Charlotte, 39, a policeman’s wife along with a brother, two years younger than her and 1 year old twins in Malden, Essex. Her father was William Piper who had been a policeman, and died in 1895 at the age of 76.
At number 41, Frederick Brooks, 30, from Little Bentley, Essex, a village to the east of Colchester, ran a Singer Sewing Machine agency. The five rooms they occupied must have been a little crowded as Sarah Elizabeth Susan, 28, his wife of five years had borne four children. Cecily Kathleen, 4, was born in Cambridge, Evelyn Ruby, 3, and Gordon Leonard, 1, were both born in Hitchin and Robert Frederick was recently born in Hertford. They also had a general servant, Evelyn Esther Silsby, aged 28 who presumably had moved with them from Hitchin where she was born. Sarah was Irish from Dublin.
In 1901 Frederick had also been a Singer Sewing Machine Agent but boarding with Mary Soole, a widow and charwoman with GER in Bishop’s Stortford. In 1891 he was a scholar living with his father, Robert, 44 from Ramsey, Essex, his mother Sharon A, 39 from Shenfield and his five brothers and three sisters at the mill at Colne Place, Wakes Colne, Great Tey where his father was the miller. Presumably business was good as they had a 24 years old governess, Elizabeth A. Frarey living with them. In 1881, just after Frederick was born, Robert was a farmer and miller at Little Bentley, with 40 acres employing 4 men and a boy. Two sisters, Elizabeth Abbott, 18, a cook and servant, and Ellen M. Abbott, 15, a nurse maid, for the five children under seven lived with them.
At number 43, Charles Powell, 35, ran the Queen’s Head Hotel. He described himself as a licenced vicuallar (victualler). He had been married to Edith, 36, for 15 years and they had three children, Rose, 11, Charles, 6 and Constance, 2. They all hailed from Hammersmith. They had a domestic servant, Florence Naughton, 17, who was a local girl. The Queen’s Head had nine rooms in total. Charles’s father was Harry, a bricklayer and his mother was Eliza, a laundress, both of whom were living in Kensington in 1891. Charles and Eliza were living on their own in 1901 in Hammersmith where he was a general labourer and she was still a laundress.
Henry Newton had a photography business at number 45. He was 42 and hailed from Watford and 20 years ago he married a Hertford girl, Elizabeth, 43. They had two children, Frank, 17 who was an assistant in the business and Elsie May, 14, both born locally. On the evening of the census they had two visitors Arthur Edward Parkin, 46, an insurance clerk from the City of London and Fanny Martha Parkin (nee Hills), 43, his wife of 21 years, born in Bengeo. In 1881 Fanny Hills was living in Fore Street whilst her father was a master confectioner, so presumably she and Elizabeth Newton had remained friends since that time.
Frank was to fight in the Great War. He was wounded in 1916 and finally died, aged 23, at the Passendaele offensive along with 300,000 others in the summer of 1917.
Henry had another assistant, Charles Augustine Harding, 31 from Clapham, London who was described as an operator retoucher.
In Simpson’s Hertford & Ware Directory, 1920 Y.W.C.A. has rooms at 45, so it is likely that Henry let out one or more rooms in 1911 for the women to congregate.
In seven rooms at number 47, Chard’s Pianoforte & Music Warehouse, lived Frank Chard, a widower, with his sister-in-law Edith Ward. The business taded under the name ‘E. Chard & Son’ so perhaps his father, Ebenezer, had put money into the business. Frank described himself as 49 but was actually 53 having been born in 1857. He also described Edith as being 32 but she was actually 42, she was 5 years younger than Patience her sisiter. They both came from Holloway, London. It is not surprising that he was a piano tuner, repairer dealer since he was the son of Ebenezer Chard, a pianoforte maker and Mary, a teacher of music. Patience, his wife, had been born in Kensington/ Chelsea and died, at the age of 46, in 1909 in Hertford. The two sisters were the daughters of William H Ward (born in 1832), and Harriett (born in 1839), with whom they were living in 1871. They were living with their uncle George Pennett and his wife, Emma in 1881 & then just Emma, 78 in 1891. In 1901 Frank and Patience lived in High Road, Tottenham with Edith, when Frank was described as a Pianoforte dealer.
William Alexander Peake, 60, ran a chemist shop at number 49 assisted by his 25 years old son, Alexander S. Both were described as chemists, although Alexander, jnr. had been a shipping clerk in 1901. Kate Helen, 56, nee Aitken, had been married to William for 30 years. Their 20 year old son, Leslie, also lived with them. He was an electrical engineer. William was born in Dover, Kate in Epping and both boys were born in Norwood, Surrey. Elizabeth Darch, 33, from Lambeth was visiting on the night of the census. Alexander and Elizabeth may well have been engaged at this time since they married at Lambeth in the third quarter of 1912. The family occupied eleven rooms.
At number 49a, was the surgery of William Stanford Harrison, M.R.C.V.S., veterinary surgeon & inspector under the Diseases Animals Acts for the borough & Welwyn districts of the County, & veterinary surgeon to Herts County Constabulary. There was also a forge there apparently. William, 62, lived at 12 Townshend Street with Mary A., 61, his sister. They were both born in Filby on the Norfolk Broads.
William Burgess, 60, ran a drapery and millinery shop, called Small & Burgess, with Elizabeth Arden, 58, at number 51. They had been married for 26 years and William had been born in Little Hawood, Bucks whilst Elizabeth hailed from Glasbury, Radnorshire, a village on a bend of the River Wye between Brecon and Hereford. Two of their children lived with them: Douglas Arden, 25, who was also a draper and worked in the drapery department and Gwendolyne Mary, 23, who was a dispenser at a medical mission. Both children had been born in Hertford. The shop was obviously prosperous since William employed two more assistants in the dressmaking department, Louisa Mary Smith, 23, from Norwich, the foreman and Ada Hinder, 35, from Swindon; a further assistant Frederick William Higgins, 19, from Neasdon, Middlesex and John Draper, 15, from Ayot St. Lawrence, an apprentice in the drapery department; and two servants, Alice Meaks, 25, from Little Amwell, the housemaid and Rose Camp, 24, from Wymondley, a general domestic servant. The shop and living accommodation occupied ten rooms.
William Burgess also owned three cottages behind his shop presumably in a yard off the street. At number 51c lived Sarah Aldridge, 47, and born in the village of Cottered, with three of her children, Ernest, 25, a draper’s porter (presumably he worked for Mr Burgess), Frederick, 21, a warehouseman, and Mabel, 20. All three children were born in Hertford. The cottage had four rooms. Sarah’s husband had been Henry, born in Hertford in 1862, and described as a lamplighter in 1901. They had been married in 1883 and Sarah’s maiden name was Dowton. Their daughter, Jane, 22, had perhaps been married since 1901 when she lived with them. In 1901 the cottage had been numbered 53b!
At number 51d (described as being St John’s Place) lived Frederick Hart and his family. He was 31 and described as a general dealer. Kate, 27, had been his wife for six years. They had two children, Lily, 6, and Fredy, 4. They had had one other child who had presumably died. Frederick and Fredy were both born in Hertford, whilst Kate had been born in Bell Bar just to the north of Potter’s Bar and Lily in Barnet.
Emma Hancock, 94, an old age pensioner lived with her sister, Lydia, 87 who had a small private means. They lived at what was described as 51a, St John’s Place on the census but 51e Fore Street on the Inland Revenue map. Two spinsters, Emma was blind and Sylvia was described as paralytic, (presumably paralised). Both ladies had been born in Hertford. Reginald Castle, 25, a master groom, and their great nephew lived with them. Reginald was the youngest child of John Robert Castle, 61, who was a picture restorer and gilder, living at 36 Ware Road. His mother Jane, from Bury, Lancashire, had presumably died since she does not appear in the 1911 census. Emma and Lydia lived with the Castles and their seven children at 3 Ware Road in 1891.
At number 55 lived Henry Robins, 47, a seed crusher, who was described as an employer, with his servant, Mary Lawrence, 62, from the village of Sawbridgeworth. Henry was a native of Hertford. The establishment had twelve rooms and was described as a house with a garden and workshop. In 1901 Henry had been an accountant (!) living with his 77 years old, widowed mother, Mary A. and her sister, Maria Jackson, 61. In 1891 his surname was recorded as Roben and he was described as a commercial clerk & traveller, again living with his mother (a carpenter) and Maria who was the housekeeper. His father was also Henry and had been born in Stroud, Gloucestershire and he was 10 years younger than Mary. He was described as a traveller in 1881 when the family lived in Railway Street. Henry, Jnr. was described as a clerk and Maria was again the housekeeper, although she had Emily Cox, 13, as a general servant to help her. In 1871 Henry, Snr. had been a clerk living in Railway Street. In 1861 Henry Snr. was described as a school master and the family lived in Back Street (now Railway Street). They had Thomas Kember, another school master as a boarder. In 1851 he had been a cloth worker and cutter at Beard’s Mill in Leonard Stanley in Stroud. Henry. Snr. and Mary Ann were married in the third quarter of 1860 in Hertford. Henry Snr. died in 1890.
Betsy Peck, 73 and a widow, lived with her son Harry. They ran a stonemasonry business from their house, number 57, set back from the street with a yard in front of it. Betsy had had four other children, Herbert A, 41, and Percy S, 31, both stone masons and two daughters, Hettie, 33 and Lizzie, 34. Betsy and all the children were natives of the town. Betsy’s husband had been Arthur Peck, born in 1838 and they were married in 1865. In 1871 they were living in Fore Street, where Arthur had been born, with their three eldest children Jessie, 4, Herbert, 2 and Harry, 1 and Ann Tyler, 15, a servant. Arthur had also been a stonemason and kept a diary which one of his great grandson’s has recorded. The Diary of a Nineteenth Century Stonemason gives a more detailed review of his life. Arthur died at the age of 45 in 1884. The Pecks, particularly Arthur and Herbert, were keen cricketers and helped to keep the Hertford Town Club going at Balls Park in the latter part of the nineteenth century. At the AGM of the Club on 28th February, 1910 Dr. Tasker-Evans presented HA (Herbert) with a marble clock and bracelet on the occasion of his forthcoming marriage. This was a token of the Club members esteem & regard. Dr. Tasker-Evans referred to Mr Peck’s long connection with the club, as member, committee man & vice captain and went on to speak of his performances in the field, his excellent personal qualities & popularity.
Jane Alice Miller, 47, ran a registry office for servants (an employment office?) at number 59, assisted by her sister Lucy, 37. Both ladies were born in Hertford. They had two boarders, George Austin Chapman, 33, from Lewes, Sussex and Francis Hope How, 32, from Uxbridge, Middlesex. These two men were listed as drapery shop assistants so perhaps they worked along the road at 51, Mr. Burgess’s shop. In 1901 Jane ran the registry office with her daughter as housekeeper. Rose and Lillian, 31 years old twins and Jane’s sisters lived with them and they were school mistresses.
Henry Munnings, 43, ran a china & glass warehouse at number 61. He lived with his wife, Ruth, 30, their two children, John, 4, and Joan, 2 and his widowed mother Jane, 83. Jane was born in St. Albans but the rest of the family were born in Hertford. They had two servants, May Meech, 18, a general domestic, from Brickendon, and May Smith, 14, a nursemaid, from Hertford. The shop was still there into the nineteen-nineties but then it closed down.
William Henry (W.H.) Brickwell, ran a furniture shop at number 63. He describes himself as a furniture dealer in the census but he is described as a cabinet maker in the directories. The site is described as a shop, warehouse, stabling and premises in the Inland Revenue records. William was 54 and lived at 61 Ware Road with Elizabeth, 48, his wife of 20 years. At Ware Road they employed a domestic servant, Kate Walker, 15, from Birch Green. The family also lived there in 1901. WH was the son of James, born in 1824 at Luckhampstead, Bucks, and Ann Brickwell, born in 1826. James was an upholsterer. The family lived in Back Street (later Railway Street) in 1861 but by 1871 had moved to the more upmarket Fore Street.
On the western corner of South Street, with its belvedere turret, at number 65 lived Henry Shephard, a 51 years old builder from Bennington. Although he was described as a builder in the census return, he advertised himself as a painter in Bennett’s Business Directory. In Kelley’s Directory for 1912, he was able to provide the services of house decorators, electric light engineers, contractors & sanitary plumbers. It seems he was a jack of all trades, especially as the Hertfordshire Mercury in 1915 contains the following acrostic advert:
S anitary Plumbers
H ot water fitters
H ouse decorators
D eep Well work
O f all kinds
Henry had been married to Ada, (nee Brock), 49, from Colchester, for 30 years. They had had ten children, seven of whom were still alive and six of whom were still living with them. Archibald was 26 and a builder’s clerk, presumably for his father. May, 19, was a self-employed music teacher while Gertrude, 17, was an apprentice milliner. Trevor, 15, Leslie, 7 were both at school and Ivy, 6, was not yet at school. All the children had been born in Hertford. They employed a general servant, Alice Scales who came from Ware. The family occupied ten rooms. Their other surviving child, Arthur, was a GPO electrical engineer living in a boarding house in Clapham, SW London, in 1911. The family name is recorded as Shippard in the 1891 census.
On the other corner of South Street at number 67, was the Blue Boy Inn, run in 1911 by William Sampford, 48. As well as a publican he described himself as a house painter and builder. He lived with Ellen, 44, his wife of 24 years; Nellie Mary, their 22 years old daughter, who was a dressmaker and Nathaniel T, 36, the single brother of Ellen. Nathaniel was a jewellery worker. William was born in Ware with the rest of his relations being born in Hertford. Both Nellie and Nathaniel worked for themselves. They occupied six rooms.
At the East end of Fore Street was Christ’s Hospital School, the residents of which are described in Christ’s Hospital in 1911.