Hertford Inner Relief Road; Section D

Fore Street, London Road & Ware Road

By Bryan Little

Fore Street
(c) Peter Ruffles
Bypass being constructed
(c) Joan Flack
The Longmore Centre
(c) Peter Ruffles
Alfred Russel Wallace
Gascoyne Way Car Park
Fore Street (west end)
(c) Peter Ruffles
Fore Street (middle section)
(c) Peter Ruffles
Fore Street (east end)
(c) Peter Ruffles
Neale's Garage; London Road
(c) Peter Ruffles
Christ's Hospital Girls School
(c) Peter Ruffles
The Green Coat School
(c) Peter Ruffles
The Plough PH; London Road
(c) Peter Ruffles

The fourth and final section of the Hertford Inner Relief Road starts in the churchyard of All Saints Church and continues on to the land belonging to The Longmore Centre establishment, along the back of the residential properties and business premises in Fore Street, which were appropriated for the building of the now infamous concrete multi-storey car park along Gascoyne Way. It then emerges outside the main gates of Christ’s Hospital Girls School in the form of a roundabout which joins London Road with the Ware Road.

The following information has been gleaned from the archives at County Hall, Hertford. In general, the buildings are dealt with from west to east and with odd numbers appearing before their equivalent even numbers. The information about the properties lists the number in the road/street, the owner followed by the tenant (if appropriate), the size of the area of land and finally the items numbers in the compulsory purchase order schedule.

All Saints Churchyard
The last time I left you we were in the churchyard of All Saints Church. Subsequently, I have found out that not even the town’s graveyard was spared by the march of time. The victims of The Plague that were buried in the churchyard had to be dug up and the bones re-buried elsewhere so the building of the Hertford Inner Relief Road could proceed.

The photograph above shows the path of the bypass as it cut a swathe through All Saints churchyard. Going in the direction from left to right, I will try to describe some of the notable landmarks in the photograph. The bottom heft-hand side shows the end of Church Street and the gates that marked the boundary of the churchyard. In the background are the roof tops of Christ’s Hospital dormitories. There is no Gascoyne Way multi-storey car park …as yet; standing in its place is a large oak tree. What is the long building that straddles the dual carriage way? In the centre, in the background, is the Plough Public house with its distinctive white-painted stone surrounding the windows. Behind the pub is a tall building, which upon further inspection turns out to be the County Cinema.  In the middle ground is the Longmore Centre with the distinctive white roof tower with a weather vane on top. They are in the process of building a tall wall to shield the buildings from the noise of the bypass. Some of the grave-stones are shown propped up whilst they are building another low level wall delimiting the new boundary of All Saints churchyard. The modern glass monstrosity in the background is the new fire station in London Road.

The Longmore Centre
The Longmore Centre played their “Grade II joker” card, so that not a single historic red brick was affected by the creation of Hertford Inner Relief Road. Although some of the land was purloined for the building of the relief road, the buildings remained intact. A modern brick wall was erected to shield the buildings from the traffic noise of the bypass.

The Longmore Centre has existed under a series of different guises; Hertford Grammar school for boys, Longmore Senior Girls School, a teacher training college, a teaching support centre and even council administration offices. Therefore, it is encouraging report that the building Hertford Inner Relief Road did not seriously affect the architecture of this renown teaching establishment.

In 1617, Richard Hale of King’s Walden, Herts, founded the school under letters patent granted by James I. It was subsequently known as ‘Hale’s Grammar School’ and came under the control of the Hertfordshire County Council about 1900. It was then that it was renamed ‘Richard Hale Grammar School’ but by 1930 the premises had become totally inadequate as a teaching establishment.

The building was extended in 1931 and renamed the Longmore Senior Girls School. The east wing as damaged by an air raid in 1944. It was left partly derelict after the war until its restoration in 1958. This school later became the annexe to the new Secondary Modern School built on London Road in 1957.

The building consists of red-brown bricks are laid to English and Flemish bonds, with clay tiled roofs and tall octagonal brick chimneys. By the 19th century the school was still using the single open classroom, with long rows of desks and a master’s desk at each end. A noteworthy old-boy who was educated at the school during the 1830s was Alfred Russell Wallace (1823-1913). He was a scientist and co-discoverer with Darwin of the theory of natural selection.

Gascoyne Way Multi-Storey Car Park
As a sop to the motoring fraternity and local residents, “The Gascoyne Way Monstrosity” was born. Hertford became a laughing stock of the local developer community. However, the idea was to provide direct access from the bypass the shops situated in Fore Street. Many of the town’s residents considered it to be an eyesore because of the starkness and ugliness of the concrete structure. It did not give a very good first impression to an historic rural town of a shire county.

Fore Street
The front facade of the buildings in Fore Street do not show the effects of the introduction of the Hertford Inner Relief Road. This is because many of the properties lost either land, gardens, out-buildings or rear accesses at the back of their properties. The numbers on the map do not coincide with the numbers used in the compulsory purchase order (CPO), in which case the latter numbers are used. The photograph on the right shows Fore Street just after the building of the bypass, which is evident by the lack of traffic and the road markings.

The first property to be affected on the even-numbered side of Fore Street is:

44 Fore Street; Webster Footwear Ltd; 37 sq.yd; Item 95

Although the property was owned by Webber Footwear Ltd, it traded as the retail outlet of Dunn’s Footwear Ltd. The land that was compulsory purchased at the rear of the property was used to provide vehicle access to the multi-storey car park from Gascoyne Way. However, the business did not survive the introduction of the bypass and soon closed.

74 Fore Street; The Pearl Assurance Co.;  56 sq.yd; Item 96

This building was owned by The Pearl Assurance Company but it was leased out to Trueform Boot & Shoes Company and D.A. Fordham & E.W. Young. The land that was compulsory purchased at the rear of the property was used to provide vehicle access to the multi-storey car park from Gascoyne Way. However, Sheffield’s the chemist in between these two shoe-shops still survives today.

76-78 Fore Street; Barclays Bank Ltd; 174 sq.yd; Item 97

These pair of premises were co-joined and used as the retail outlet of Barclays Bank Ltd. The land that was compulsory purchased at the rear of the property was used in order to construct the mutli-storey car park from Gascoyne Way.

“Dimsdale Arms”, Fore Street; McMullen & Sons Ltd; 209 sq.yd; Item 98

The frontage of the Dimsdale Arms has very distinctive iron-work around the first storey windows. This was one of many public houses owned by McMullens & Sons Limited around the town of Hertford. The land that was compulsory purchased at the rear of the property was used in order to construct the mutli-storey car park from Gascoyne Way.

96 Fore Street; Watson, Temple & Waymouth; 197 sq.yd; Item 101

The name “Watson, Temple & Waymouth” sounds as though the ‘bricks & mortar’ were owned by an insurance company but they leased it to Barratt & Co. to sell yet more shoes, boots and & other footwear to the citizens of Hertford.

104 Fore Street; Westminster Bank Ltd; 694 sq.yd; Item 102

Yet another banking establishment owned by the Westminster Bank Ltd. Later they joined forces with National Provencal to form the National Westminster Bank (NatWest). This combined banking association was later bought by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and traded as the retail outlet of the bank.

Old Cattle Market, Fore Street; Norris & Duvall; 279 sq.yd; Item 103

This parcel comprised of land and buildings which formed part of the premises known as the “Old Cattle Market” of Hertford. It was owned by surveyors, Norris & Duvall who ran the cattle auction in the centre of Hertford.

‘Ram Inn’, Fore Street; McMullens & Sons Ltd; 380 sq.yd; Item 104

The “Ram Inn” is a public house, which was another outlet of the brewing empire of the local brewer, McMullen & Sons Limited.  The proprietor at the time of acquiring land for the bypass was J. R. Brown.

‘Upton House’, Fore Street; Goodchilds; 794 sq.yd; Item 105

This building started life as a family home of a general practitioner in the town of Hertford. The building took the title of ‘Upton House’, which was in recognition of the Welsh roots of the family. Later, this was leased by the solicitors; Breeze & Wyles.

‘Parkhouse Garage’, Fore Street; Mr Mansfield; 1,338 sq.yd; Item 106

The Parkhouse Garage stood back from the road with a couple of fuel pumps on the forecourt. It acted as the showroom and the workshop of The Hertford Motor Company. The photograph below shows the garage in the distance, on the right-hand side is the distinctive red-tiled building. The land that was compulsory purchased was used to provide vehicle access from the multi-storey car park from Gascoyne Way.

150 Fore Street; Broadmead Group of Companies; 1,334 sq.yd; Item 109

These premises comprised of a shop and office premises. These offices were occupied by W. L. Pierce, J. F. Harrison, The Provident Clothing and Supply Co. and the Femco Employment Agency.

156-8 Fore Street; Broadmead Group of Companies; 1,380 sq.yd; 110

These premises comprised of office premises and land. These offices were occupied by the newly created National Health System (NHS). One assumes that this government department was either disbanded or moved to Sovereign House.

160 Fore Street; Christ’s Hospital; 1,469 sq.yd; Item 111

This building was a residential staff annexe which belonging to Christ’s Hospital School. This served as a residence of a number of secondary school mistresses who taught at the school across the road.

162 Fore Street; Christ’s Hospital; 1,580 sq.yd; Item 112

These premises comprised of office premises, which were occupied by Her Majesties Inspector of Taxes (HMRC). This government department upped sticks and moved to newly constructed Sovereign House.

164 Fore Street; D. R. Finch & R. A. Willacy; 1220 sq.yd; Item 113

This property was the offices of the ‘demon’ dentists D.R.Finch and R.A. Willacy.

168 Fore Street; A. E. Neale & Son Ltd.; 224 sq.yd; Item 114

These premises comprised of multiple-occupancy offices, which were leased by W. H. Lee & Co., Kennedy & Co. and The Blue Cross.

London Road
London Road was designated the road number – A602 and connected Hertford Heath and Hoddesdon with the county town of Hertfordshire. This road kinked to the right at the bottom of the where it  joined Fore Street and Ware Road in front of the gates of Christ’s Hospital Girls School. Other distinctive buildings at the junction were The Plough public house, the County Cinema and Neale’s garage.

Austin House’, London Road; A. E. Neal’s executors; 228 sq.yd; Item 115/A
These garage premises in London Road came traded under the jurisdiction of the executors of A. E. Neale’s estate. Neale’s were the local agent for a nationwide manufacturer. Austin was one of the many British manufactures that built family cars for sale in the United Kingdom and distributed them throughout the country.

‘The Plough’, London Road; Inde Coope (London) Ltd.; 106 sq.yd; Item 116

The Plough public house stood on the corner of London Road and Ware Road. It was a characteristic building with large stones around the window that were painted white. The public house was painted in the colours of Ine Coope Ltd and the proprietor at the time of building the bypass was D. N. Rose.

Access-road to London Road; Christ’s Hospital; 1,880 sq.yd; Item 117
This plot of land comprised of land and an access-road to Christ’s Hospital Girls School. It was officially known as Plot 239; O.S. Herts Sheet XXIX 15; 1923 Edition; a not insignificant piece of land which was acquired for the building of the Hertford Inner Relief Road for the building of the roundabout in front of the school gates.

‘Green Coat School’, London Road; The Newton Exhibition Foundation; 22 sq.yd; Item 118A
The final plot of the Compulsory Purchase Schedule was part of the land that was known as ‘The Green Coat’ School, Hertford; alias Hertford Secondary School (Cowper Annexe). On the left-hand side of the photography are the distinctive style of school buildings of a certain age. In the background, at the bottom of the hill, are the dormitories of Christ’s Hospital Girls School. The lamppost is supporting the directional sign of the A602 towards Hoddesdon. On the right-hand side is the all-glass structure of the new fire station. The snow is for seasonal effect. Its function was to provide statutory education to the children of Hertford and the surrounding districts and formed part of the educational network of Hertfordshire Count Council (HCC).

SmallestThe Green Coat School, (22 sq.yd) from Hertfordshire   County Council
LargestChrist’s Hospital, (1,880 sq.y) from Christ’s Hospital Girls School; access road from London Road.
Total parcels of land20
Total area13,549 sq.yd


The summary section of the Hertford Inner Relief Road will be described at a later date.


Discover Hertford; http://www.hertford.net/issues

British Listed Buildings; http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk



This page was added on 16/06/2014.

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  • I attended the Cowper boys school in London Road, Hertford 1949 – 1954 and by default became head boy, for a short while.

    A Secondary Modern School, my memory tells me it certainly was secondary and by no stretch of imagination modern. Teachers with few exceptions, were violent thugs who today would be incarcerated. Education was limited and we were reminded we were failures, held in waiting for a mediocre future when released at 15 years of age. I know many boys prospered in later life. This, I suggest, shows individual potential fostered by self discovery rather than windows of opportunity opened within this poor example of how to educate.

    My heart was lifted a few years later, when driving by, I discovered the building and its memories buried beneath a housing development.

    Comprehensive schools have helped resolve such issues and we will do well to praise the foresight of those who developed them. We all have potential and should be encouraged to develop to everyone’s benefit.  

    By David Harding (16/01/2017)
  • The section on Longmore School contains a number of inaccuracies.  Hertford Grammar School moved to its new building on the hill overlooking the town in 1930.

    In 1931 the schools in Hertford were reorganised from “all through” schools into primary and secondary schools.  The Grammar School building became Longmore Senior Mixed School.

    In 1938 when the Cowper School building was considered unusable the boys moved to Longmore which became Longmore Senior Boys’ School with the girls moving to join Port Vale Senior Girls’ School.  Longmore did not become a girls’ school until 1943 when the girls moved across from the Port Vale building so that Cowbridge JMI could occupy the whole of the Port Vale building.

    At the beginning of the war a boys’ school from Tottenham shared the Longmore building for a short time.  Most of these boys returned to Tottenham within a few months and the Jewish Orphanage came to share the building with the boys.

    The building suffered a bomb strike on 11th October 1940 after which the boys moved back to the Cowper School building and the Jewish Orphanage children were moved to the Cowbridge building.

    After the 1944 Education Act the school was known as Longmore Girls’ Modern School.  Early in the 1950s the head teacher left and so the Cowper School and Longmore were merged under one head and known as Hertford Secondary Modern School.

    In 1956 the Balls Park site was opened but as it was insufficient for all the children in a five form entry, the Cowper and Longmore School buildings were used to house the lower years until the Balls Park site was complete.

    By Geoffrey Cordingley (22/03/2016)
  • That’s not a long building which straddles across the relief road. It’s Rook’s Alley which the new road was soon to cut through. The alley used to extend from Fore street up to Mangrove Road. Although the top part remains, the Fore Street end was replaced by the subway which is there today. I used to walk to Abel Smith school via the alley and I remember two white lines painted on the wall to indicate where the relief road was to break through

    By Tony Luton (08/07/2014)