1939 - 1947 Richard A Yates was Vicar of Holy Trinity. He was the first inhabitant of the present Rectory. The Rev. Yates was originally trained for the ministry at Cuddendon College. After a spell as curate of St. Lawrence's, Catford, he had gone to South Africa where he ended up as Priest-in-charge- in Walvis Bay. Serving the war years as Vicar of Holy Trinity, the Rev. Yates returned to South Africa in 1947. [Cha. News. May 1995] See also entries for December 16th 1938 and January 13th & 20th 1939.
1939/1940 - A new central heating system was installed in Holy Trinity Church. The solid fuel boiler was installed in a new cellar. Holy Trinity also received the gift of light from the Brock family (of Firework fame), when electricity was installed in memory of the late Arthur Brock. Previously the church had been lit with candles, and later with oil lamps which hung from the arches.[ S2 p.5 ] See entry for 9th November 1939 [HTLG 59] (See HT ARCHive page section on Heat & Light)
January 8th 1939 – There was a Toy Service at Holy Trinity. [ Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times January 13th 1939]
12th January 1939 – The new Committee for the Parish Hall was elected azt the AGM: Mrs Lleat, Mrs C Brigginshaw, Mrs D Warby, Mrs T Latchford, Mrs S Smith, Messrs W Ayre (Chairmans), J A Marston, C Brigginshaw, A. Sears, J Rance, J Dyson, E Newland, F Goddard, A Dell, J Bristoe, G Smith, & J G Leat (Secretary). The following sub-committees were appointed: Dance, Billiards, Whist & Tennis with Mrs Brigginshaw as Caretaker. [L.G.10]
January 13th 1939 – It was reported that the Rev RA Yates, lately Vicar of Hepworth Huddersfield, had accepted the job as Vicar of Leverstock Green – he was to be instituted on 20th January. [Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times January 13th 1939]
Friday 20th January 1939 - The Rev Richard Alexander Yates was instituted as Vicar of Leverstock Green by the Archdeacon of St. Albans Ven H A Skelton, Bishop designate of Bedford. The Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times carried a photograph of the new Vicar.[Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times 27th January 1939]
Friday 27th January 1939 - “A Social was held in the Village Hall ….under the auspices of the Village Club when nearly 100 people were present. Vocal items were given by Mr W Ayre, Mrs Leat, Miss Chatley and Thomas W. Low. Four children also sang: Madge Parkins, Kate Lee, Pat Chatley. & Edna Dell. Mr Leat was Master of Ceremonies for the dancing and during the evening the Vicar and Mrs. Yates were present.” [Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times 3rd Feb 1939]
Monday 20th February 1939 – At a meeting of the Herts County Council it was agreed to make a grant to Hemel Hempstead Borough Council of 25% of the cost of acquiring 6.05 acres of land in Leverstock Green for the purposes of a playing field. The cost of acquiring and preparing the site was £1,010. [Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times 24th February 1939]
March 10th 1939 – The Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times reported on the will of Percy Webster (See entry for November 16th 1938 and webpage on the Websters) The equivalent gross value of the estate in modern times (2001) would be £2,085,327.78. The estate duty equivalent in 2002 would have been £217,698.94 (using 1939 regulations), and the £5000 left in trust for Graham Webster would have been worth £252,119.57 in 1939 [ http://www.eh.net/hmit/ppowerbp/ ]
“Mr Percy Webster, of “Sibley’s Orchard” Leverstock Green, and 17, Queen Street Mayfair, W, an authority on clocks and a dealer in silver, jewellery, furniture and other works of art, who died on November 16th 1938 aged 76, left estate to the Gross value of £41,355 18s 7d with net personality £20,739 18s 7d. Estate duty £4,317 7s 6d. Probate has been granted to his son Malcolm Robert Webster, clockmaker, and his daughter, Isabel Ladie Webster, both of 17 Queen Street Mayfair, and his son Bernard Percy Webster, of 20 Hanover Square W., solicitor. He leaves £5,000 upon trust for his son Graham John Webster, for life, with remainder to his children, and the residue of his property to Isabel Ladie, Malcolm Robert and Bernard Percy Webster.” [Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times 10th March 1939]
The Leverstock Green Baptist Chapel lost a loyal friend and worker by the death on Sunday of Mr. George Wilkins, of “Sunnyside” Leverstock Green. He was aged 78, and had been in failing health for some time, but his end was unexpected.
Mr. Wilkins had been connected with the chapel for over 60 years. Son of a Leverstock Green family, he was actively interested in the Sunday School for fifty-four years, and was made an elder of the Baptist Church. He was for many years Sunday School superintendent.
Mr Wilkin’s sole interest was in the church. He leaves three sons and two daughters, all of whom are married and live in the district.
The Rev C C Dawson conducted the funeral service at Leverstock Green Chapel yesterday and the interment in the churchyard. Mr W T Dean Hemel Hempstead was at the organ and played “Jesu Lover of My Soul” and “There is a Land of Pure Delight”
The family mourners were Mr. W Wilkins, Mr. & Mrs H Wilkins, and Mrs. F Wilkins (sons and daughter daughter’s in law); Mr & Mrs C Rogers and Mr & Mrs L R Seabrook (sons in law and daughters). Mr C Wilkins, Mr L Wilkins, Mr. J Ivory, and Mrs Ivory (grand-daughter), Mr S. Gurney and Mrs Gurney (grand-daughter) Mr H Wilkins, Miss W, Wilkins and Miss N Wilkins.
There then followed a list of additional mourners and the wreaths given. [Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times Friday April 21st 1939]
Sunday 16th April 1939 - Death of George Wilkins. The Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times reported:
Mr & Mrs George Wilkins on the occassion of their Golden Wedding in 1933. Mrs Wilkins died in November 1935
Friday April 21st 1939 – The Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times carried two further stories concerning firstly the suicide of a local man, and secondly the trial of a Leverstock Green rsident for ill-treating a horse.
LEVERSTOCK GREEN MAN’S SUICIDE
DEPRESSIONS DUE TO WAR WOUND
FOUND DEAD IN A LANE
A Leverstock Green wife who saw her husband set out upon his favourite walk from which he never returned – later being found with his throat cut –gave evidence as inquest heard at Hemel Hempstead on Tuesday before Mr S.S. Johnstone (Deputy Coroner).
She was Mrs Ethel Stewart, of 7 Blacksmith’s Row, upon whose 63 year old husband, Henry the inquest was held.
Medical evidence was given by Dr. J. C. Gregory, who said Mr. Stewart was a patient of his, having had treatment for a war wound in the leg, which it was thought was tubercular. Death was due to loss of blood brought about by the cutting of the throat. The wounds were self-inflicted.
George Maxwell of Wood Crescent Hemel Hempstead, who discovered the body, said he was walking along Pointers Lane at Leverstock Green about 10.15 a.m. on Saturday when he saw, lying by a gate the body of a man. There was blood on the right hand and on the face. He immediately reported the matter to the Police. Health Not Very Good
Deceased’s wife gave evidence to the effect that her husband’s health was not very good, although on Thursday last- the day he had been discharged from Hemel Hempstead House – he seemed much brighter. On Saturday he rose at 8.30. Witness made him a cup of tea and he sat down by the fire to have a smoke. Witness went upstairs and from the window saw him go out and down Pointer’s Lane which was his favourite walk. She never saw him alive again.
Answering the Deputy Coroner, Witness aid her husband was once a shepherd. Once previo udedece
ased had tried to take his own life with poison.
PC F Goddard of Leverstock Green said he found an extensive wound in the neck., and between the right hand and the body was a single-bladed pocket knife. Witness knew the deceased personally, he often appeared to be in a depressed state.
The Deputy Coroner returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence and added the deceased “Committed suicide while the balance of his mind was disturbed.”
He said that Stewart obviously suffered from fits of depression due, no doubt, to the unfortunate war-wound in his leg. [Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times 21st April 1939]
A further several column inches were given over to the details of a summons for ill-treating a horse owned by a Leverstock Green farmer. The Headlines read:
LEVERSTOCK GREEN FARMER AND
George Lambourne of Apsley and William Bothwell of Westwick Farm were summoned concerning the Horse at the St. Albans Divisional sessions on Saturday April 15th 1939. William Bothwell employed Lambourne on his farm. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges. Evidence was given by the local Police Constable (PC Goddard), Inspector Slater of the RSPCA and Mr George Elmes a vet from St. Albans. Lambourne was fined 5s and Bothwell £3 with £2 2s costs. Bothwell was given 14 days to appeal. [Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times 21st April 1939]
June,1939 - A Conference was organised by Hemel Borough in order to make suitable arrangements for the educating of evacuee children who were to be billeted in the Borough. Amongst others,. Leverstock Green Junior and Infant Schools were told to operate a two-shift system. Under this system, resident children would use the school facilities in the morning, and evacuee children would use them in the afternoon, alternating the times each week. Other accommodation would have to be found for the children not using the school facilities either in the morning or the afternoon, as teachers were to remain responsible for their children throughout the day. When school resumed (presumably in September ) , village children were to use the school from 8.45 to 12.15, and London children from 1.30 to 4.30. The following week the arrangement was to be reversed. [S19 p.63 ]
July 1939 -. Local school children were being prepared for expected gas attacks and issued with gas masks. The children of Leverstock Green were able to test these in a Home Office Gas van which toured the area. [S19 p.63]
The Leverstock Green Cricket Club was disbanded and not reformed until 1948/49. [ S102]
August 1939 – Mary Egerton Lee, wife (pos widow) of Dr Lee of Logandene, presented a hut to the Vicar and Churchwardens “ for the use of the Boys and Young Men of the Parish to be retained by you and your successors in office on their behalf and so that it can be used and enjoyed soley by them at all times henceforth for such purposes as may be required, they on their part have undertaken to the future tpo maintain the Hut in good order, repair and condition and at the same time bearing and dischargiung all outgoings of whatever nature the same may cost in relation to the hut.” – [HTLG 76]
Friday August 4th 1939 – The Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times recorded the marriage at Holy Trinity of Miss Winifred Maud Biswell, daughter of the late Mr. H. Biswell & Mrs Biswell of 18 Curtis Road Leverstock Green, to Mr. Harry Fox of Sheffield. The reception was held in the Village (Parish) Hall. [Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times 4th August 1939]
August 24th, 1939 -. Teaching staff were brought back from holiday and told to prepare for the evacuation and reception of school children. [S19]
August 30th, 1939 -. Ministry of Health warned local authorities to be ready at 24 hour notice to receive evacuee children. [S19]
September 1st, 1939 -. Evacuation scheme came into force. Blackout regulations came into force. [S19]
THE LEVERSTOCK GREEN CHRONICLE
A detailed history of one village in Hertfordshire UK.
September 12th 1939 – The funeral of Edith Grass of Vauxhaul Road took place at Leverstock Green Church. Edith was aged 56 and would appear to have been resident at Napsbury (Mental) Hospital, St. Albans at the time of her death. [DCHT Undertakers records]
October,1939. The double shift system was still operating in Leverstock Green Junior and Infants, who alternated with Scawfell Shoreditch Junior and Infants. [S19]
20th October 1939 – The minutes of the Parish Hall Trust, held that evening at the Vicarage reported:
9th November 1939 - A Full Faculty was granted Holy Trinity Church to 1)install electric lighting in place of the existing oil lamps 2) to install low pressure hot water radiator system or heating in place of the existing coke stove 3) to remove the organ from the East end of the North Aisle of he West end of the North Aisle and to install an electric organ blower; to make new choir seats at the West end of the Nave and 4) to remove one seat at the front of the South side of the nave and two seats at the front of the North side of the Nave and to form new seat fronts AND GENERALLY to do and perform all such other acts matters and things as it may be necessary to perform …in accordance with the plans and specifications deposited…. The official copy of the above shows the estimated cost of the above to be £580 of which £300 had already been promised – the balance to come from private subscriptions. [HTLG 59]
Work on planning the installation of the heating and lighting system had been undertaken since approval was given by Arthur Brocks Co earlier in the summer. From the dates on the architects drawings it would seem that the work was perhaps not carried out until 1940 or even later. Various evidence is contradictory as to the exact date of installation, which can perhaps only be confirmed if the report which I understood to have been written in the Herts Advertiser & St. Albans Times can be ascertained. I was informed in c. 1996 by Beryl Carrington that she recalled attending the service which officially “opened” the lighting etc. with her Father who reported on it for the paper. Beryl herself later became a reported for the newspaper. Microfilm of the newspaper during the war years was not available, and I have as yet to research the hardcopies at the newspaper library at Colindale. If anyone has more information about the exact date of installation of the heating and lighting please contact me, but as far as I can judge it would seem work began at the end of 1939, and may not have been complete until the following summer of 1940.
Use of Hall as School The hall committee reported that the Hall was being used as a School for evacuee children at a rent of £3 per week. The chairman pointed out that a clause in the Trust Deed expressly forbade the Trustees using the hall for school purposes, but it was realised that in the present National emergency the competent authority had powers under the Civil Defence Act to requisition the hall for any purpose deemed necessary. The Secretary was instructed to write to the Town Clerk of Hemel Hempstead and obtain from him a written demand for the use of the Hall, in order to safeguard the legal position of the Trustees. [L.G. 1]
Friday 8th December 1939 – “A small but good humoured audience gathered in the Village Hall at Leverstock Green ……, to hear Mr H D Barbour, of Leverstock Green give an address under the title of “Stop This War”. A full write-up of the speeches given and views expressed were reported in the Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times. The end of the report stated that: “In closing the meeting Mr. Barbour said “The police tried to stop this meeting. I was informed last evening by a special constable that it was forbidden. I took the precaution this morning of communicating with the Chief Constable of Herts and he informed me that the meeting could be held provided there is no breach of the peace or any likelihood of it.” [Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times Dec 15th 1939]
Friday 8th December 1939 – Reported in the Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times under the Headline BLACKOUT OFFENCES – Irene Ambrus of Grenville Hall, Grenville Place, London SW was summoned for failing to obscure a light at “Little Heath”, Greenacres Leverstock Green on October 26th. PC Goddard said the house was unattended, a light was on, and the curtains not drawn. With the assistance of Sgt. Ayre of the Special Constables, he nailed a sack over the window. On November 1st a man attended on the defendants behalf to extinguish the light. ….When the witness saw the defendant she said: “When I left the house I must have accidentally switched o the light.” Mrs Ambrus was fined £1 plus costs. [Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times 8th Dec 1939]
Saturday 9th December 1939 – The wedding of Mary Isabella Little & Edgar John Reginald Booth. Was solemnised at St. Michael’s Church St. Albans. Mary was the daughter of Mr & Mrs G D Little of Westwick Hall Leverstock Green , and Edgar the son of Mr R Booth of Butlers farm St. Albans. The paper noted that; ”The bride and bridegroom are members of well known farming families in the district and are familiar figures in the hunting field.” The paper also carried a photograph of the bride and groom. [Hertfordshire Advertiser & St. Albans Times December 15th 1939]