Area Guide: The Jersey Farm area of St Albans
- Credit: Archant
Jersey Farm is a purpose-built estate a couple of miles north-east of St Albans.
Part of the civil parish of Sandridge, Jersey Farm was originally a green space, playing host to meadows and a farm.
The local amenities hub at St Brelades Place include a community centre and doctors and dentists’ surgeries. The community centre is host to a playgroup, exercise classes and carpet bowls, and is available to hire for functions and parties.
There are also several shops and eateries, including a hairdresser, a beauty salon, a cycle shop, a pharmacy and a Tesco Express, plus Indian and Chinese restaurants and a fish and chicken takeaway.
There is also The Blackberry Jack, a family-friendly pub offering big-screen sport and affordable food. The pub was named in a competition, ‘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, whose name was actually Bill or William. ‘Jack’ came from the name of another tramp who wore a long white coat and spent most of the time drunkenly wandering between St Albans and Borehamwood.
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Jersey Farm has its own Residents Association (JFRA) which arranges a number of yearly events such as a fireworks display (though this year’s event has been cancelled) 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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The closest schools are all in neighbouring Marshalswick, with popular primaries including Skyswood Primary & Nursery School (rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted), St John Fisher Roman Catholic Primary (‘good’) and Wheatfields Infant and Junior Schools (rated ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ respectively). Sandridge School (‘good’) is another option, located just north of Jersey Farm in the pretty village of the same name.
Sandringham is the closest secondary school (rated ‘outstanding’), but like many of the more sought-after schools in St Albans it is always oversubscribed.
St Albans and Hatfield train stations are both a short drive away, as are the A1(M) and M25. Regular buses connect Jersey Farm to St Albans, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City.
From Evans Farm to Jersey Farm
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 work commenced in 1977. The Queen Anne farmhouse, which became the site of St Brelades Place, was to have been the centrepiece 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.