Book tells story of Sopwell area of St Albans

THE RIVER Ver is the link which runs between Jacqui Banfield-Taylor’s new book and a celebration of the good things about living in the Sopwell area of St Albans.

For the river flows through Sopwell on its way to its confluence and Sopwell: A History and Collection of Memories, makes frequent reference to its role in the development of the area.

The new book stems from a decision by the Sopwell Residents Association (SRA) in 2009 to celebrate and promote the good things about living in their locality.

Initially it focused on the green spaces but the project soon mushroomed to incorporate the history of a previously neglected part of St Albans.

It has become a vessel for a mixture of formal history and informal recollections which follow the landscape and built environment of Sopwell through the gradual change from relative rural isolation in medieval times to the rapid development of pre and post-war estates.

Written by Sandy Norman, a member of the Sopwell Residents Association, plenty of research has gone into the history, sourced from the likes of parish records and tithe maps.

It features such well-known landmarks as the Nunnery Ruins and the Holy Well as well as details of farms, factories, mills, the watercress beds and everything from big houses to small cottages. For those of a more grisly bent, there are tales of arson and murder as well.

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The book is also fully illustrated with some images published for the first time.

It costs �15 and is on sale from Waterstones in St Peter’s Street and the Tourist and Information Centre at the Town Hall. It can also be obtained directly from SRA c/o 23 Tavistock Avenue, St Albans.