Area Guide: There’s more to Park Street than you might expect
- Credit: Archant
Park Street is a small area of Hertfordshire in the parish of St Stephen.
Running alongside the River Ver in the City and District of St Albans, Park Street falls within the Metropolitan Green Belt.
It is approximately two-and-a-half miles by road from St Albans via Watling Street (the old Roman road from London to Chester and Holyhead) and then a post-Roman offshoot, St Stephen’s Hill, into the medieval city centre.
The surrounding area is host to a number of idyllic lakes and forested nature walks, which make for a wonderful area to stroll through, and excellent for dog walkers.
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The lakes, once the Moor Mill Pits, located between Park Street and Frogmore, are considered great for fishing. This has led to a great deal of interest among the angling community for their considerable and diverse aquatic wildlife.
The area has a BP petrol station which also contains a Marks & Spencer food store and on Park Street Lane is Park Street Guns.
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A small shopping parade can be found within a short walk at How Wood, comprised of a supermarket, hairdresser, butcher, baker, estate agent, newsagent, pharmacy and florist.
There is a village hall which opened in 1936 and serves as the polling station of the area, plus Park Street Baptist Church on Penn Road.
Park Street is also home to a recreation ground and sports fields, Park Street Village FC and a cricket ground/pavilion.
Park Street railway station is the first station after St Albans Abbey on the St Albans branch line. The train service on this line is known locally as the ‘Abbey Flyer’.
The Park Street & Frogmore Society was formed to promote interest in local history and nature, covering the three villages of Park Street, Frogmore and Colney Street.
Park Street is of late and initially disparate medieval origin. After the Norman Conquest, the area was known as ‘Parke Street’, and formed part of the land grant given to St Albans monastery in 793 AD. The street’s mill - ‘Le Parkmulle’ (Park Street Mill) was first referred to in the 12th Century. The mill, which was converted into offices in the 1980s, was once used for grinding flour, and also supplied the Abbey with eels reared and trapped in the surrounding ponds. The mill still forms a very prominent feature in the centre of Park Street, and provides a pleasant backdrop to the war memorial garden to the north of the village.
The railway bridge near Sycamore Drive was demolished around 1948 after being damaged by a giant propeller being delivered to the Handley Page aircraft works, whose runway was in use until the mid-1960s for the maintenance and testing of the V bomber fleet.
Park Street has two primary schools, Park Street Church of England Primary School and How Wood Primary School, both of which are rated ‘good’ by Ofsted. The nearest secondary school is the Marlborough Science Academy, which is also rated ‘good’.
By the 14th Century, Park Street was home to one of the largest and richest manors in the area, supplying large quantities of corn to the Abbey. There are still many buildings in the area of architectural/historic interest.
The oldest buildings surviving appear to be numbers 61-63 (originally a single early 15th Century late Medieval hall house) and number 68 (a 16th Century timber framed building with the remains of a jettied front). The rest of the area’s architectural heritage traces back to the brick-built early Victorian era - though Toll Cottage on Bury Dell is dated as a 17th Century property.
Today it boasts several side streets from its main thoroughfare, such as Oliver Close, Sycamore Drive and The Beeches.
Homes currently for sale include a £1.9m, five bedroom chalet style bungalow on Penn Road, with its own heated outdoor swimming pool, and a £865,000 five-bed detached house on Park Street Lane, with a homely wooden aesthetic.
Pubs and takeaways
Sizzle House and The Oriental serve as the local takeaways, and there are two pubs: The Falcon and The Overdraught
There were seven other pubs in the area until the early 1970s.
The Lamb was situated opposite the entrance to the Handley Page aircraft factory. Once the factory closed the last landlord couldn’t make a living and, so the story goes, he and his wife closed the pub, locked themselves in and drank the place dry before being ordered out by the brewery.