Area Guide: Jersey Farm
- Credit: Archant
Jersey Farm lies a couple of miles north-east of St Albans. It’s not a particularly vast area, more of a residential neighbourhood, and is part of the civil parish of Sandridge. It was originally a green space, playing host to meadows and a farm.
A branch of Harvey doctor surgeries is in Jersey Farm - a friendly, modern and family orientated practice, offering a wide range of services with resident and district nurses, health visitors and midwives working closely with the team of doctors in residence. A branch of ‘Tesco Express’ (which has a post office) is in the area, as well as a pharmacy, beauty salon ‘Pure’, cycling store ‘St Albans Cycles’, hair salon ‘Ro Ko Ko’ and an array of places to grab food – Indian, fish, chicken, Chinese and Moroccan. There is a community centre which offers an array of events for all age groups – from soccer and ballet for tots, Brownies and junior Qi Kwon Do, Irish dancing, weightwatchers, yoga, zumba, bridge and carpet bowls.
Schooling tends to be provided by the Marshalswick area to the west of the neighbourhood – and the other schools among the St Albans boroughs. The local secondary school is Sandringham.
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Jersey Farm has its own Residents Association (JFRA) which arranges a number of yearly events such as a fireworks display and Christmas party for the children of the area. Members are also provided with a quarterly newsletter, detailing community news and events.
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Marshalswick was always an area dotted with pockets of green space. The one part of the estate that remained un-developed was Evans Farm, which was bought by the well known researcher of tuberculosis, Dr. Corner (who had taken up farming in 1900 as the disease was thought to be carried in milk). He moved to Evans Farm in 1931, renaming it Jersey Farm after his herd of Jersey cows. He died in 1945, aged 81, but his daughter Hilda continued running the farm and dairy business until the Royal London Mutual Insurance Company bought the land for housing development.
Despite fierce local opposition planning permission was granted to build on 118 of the 309 acres of farmland and in 1977 this started. The Queen Anne farmhouse, which became the site of St. Brelade’s Place, was to have been the centre piece of the estate but it was devastated by fire in 1979. One section of the farm was excavated as a gravel quarry – now the Jersey Farm adventure playground. Further plans to develop the remaining area as sporting grounds met with opposition and consequently became Jersey Farm Woodland Park, a 55 acre amenity area of woods and wildflower meadows, instead.
The local public house used a competition to name it, “Blackberry Jack” being the winning entry. The idea comes from the stories of a local tramp who lived in “camps” in the blackberry bushes around the local fields. His name was actually Bill or William; he never told anyone his last name. He was known to travel to London and north to Norfolk. “Jack” came from the name of another tramp who wore a long white coat and spent most of the time drunkenly wondering between St Albans and Borehamwood.