Sunday, October 23, 2016

What lies underneath Bernards Heath, St Albans

The area of the Fontmell Close as it was in about 1900
I gave my talk "Brick Pits and other old holes" to the St Albans & District Local History Network Annual Conference yesterday, discribing the reasons people had duh holes in Bernards Heath  and the talk is now online at "HOLES"

Some of the slides have details supplementary notes and I had planned to add more today - but have picked up a cold which has gone to my chest (I have asthma) so I decided that plenty of fresh air was better for me than spending hours at the computer. I hope to add the missing notes over the next week or so.

Following a note from Roger I have looked at my records of William Bennett, who made bricks on the site now occupied by Fontmell Close. William also had brickworks at Harpenden and Hemel Hempstead - and there appears to have been a chalk mine on site at Harpenden and a deep well on site at Hemel Hempstead. As he had lime kilns on Bernards Heath je almost certainly had a similar chalk mine and/or deep well. Failure of the capping of a shaft into a significant chalk mine could easily explain the rather large hole in the road. I have added details to the relevant page of the online text of the talk.

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