Power Flush Radlett

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Radlett is an affluent village in Hertfordshire, England, located on Watling Street between St Albans and Elstree. It has a population of 8,042. It is located in the council district of Hertsmere in the county’s south and is divided into two wards: Aldenham East and Aldenham West. It is situated within the M25 motorway.



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    HISTORY

    Pre-Roman era
    Radlett is located on the historic Watling Street, one of Britain’s oldest thoroughfares. Several archaeological finds of Mesolithic and Neolithic flints show that the Radlett area was inhabited during the Stone Age; the land was densely forested and remained so until the Middle Ages. In around 80BC, the Catuvellauni tribe settled in parts of Hertfordshire, near St Albans and Wheathamstead, though no trace of settlement has been found in or near Radlett. Radlett appears to be derived from the Old English rad-gelaete, which means “road junction,” and it is likely that the settlement grew at the point where the ancient route from Aldenham to Shenley crossed Watling Street.

    The Roman era
    During the Roman occupation of Verulamium, the area between Radlett and Brockley Hill was home to a number of major potteries that supplied not only the Roman capital but also the rest of the province. On Loom Lane, one of these potteries is known to have existed. Roman-era clay pits can still be found at the village’s southern end, near Cobden Hill and Tabard RFC. In addition, evidence of a Roman villa with a bath building, barn, and tile kiln dating from the 2nd to 4th centuries AD has been discovered in the area of Netherwylde Farm.

    Post-Roman era
    Wratten claims that the area was settled by the Saxons by the sixth century, and that a Saxon church was built on the site of Aldenham Church during King Offa’s reign. For the vast majority of recorded history, the land to the east of Watling Street was administered independently of that to the west.

    The Domesday survey of 1086 confirms that the Abbey of Westminster owned the majority of the land, though parts of Titeberst (land east of Watling Street) were claimed by St Albans. Geoffrey de Mandeville and Geoffrey de Bec were the two major tenants, and they leased a portion of their holdings to tenant farmers. The land was densely forested but gradually cleared for agricultural use throughout the mediaeval period, and the population lived in dispersed farm settlements adjacent to field strips or scattered around the periphery of common land, which made up a significant portion of the Parish’s southern and western areas.

    Gallows were erected in the thirteenth century by the Abbots of Westminster and St Albans ‘in a certain spot called Keneprowe’ (now Kemp Row) for trials held at Aldenham.

    Radlett appears to have been made up of two farms: Darnells (first mentioned in 1358) and Gills Hill on the west side of Watling Street, and the estates of Aldenham Lodge, Newberries, and Organ Hall on the east, as well as Newlands (first mentioned in 1291) and a few cottages. There are records of at least two other mediaeval moated homesteads in the Parish – Penne’s Place and Kendals – but there is scant physical evidence.

    Radelet was first mentioned in 1453, and it was usually spelled with a single T until the mid-nineteenth century. With the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, the parish disputes between St Albans Abbey and Westminster Abbey ceased to be viable, and the land was sold to generate revenue for the Crown.

    Modern epoch
    The town was the scene of the Radlett murder in 1823, an infamous crime that became the subject of numerous books and stage plays. The victim, William Weare, was murdered on Gills Hill Lane (later popularly known as Murder Lane), and the location became so well-known that it became a tourist attraction for a time.

    The Midland Railway was extended from Bedford to London in 1860, and a station at Radlett was built to connect it with the city.

    On December 8, 1865, the Ecclesiastical Parish of Radlett was formed from the eastern part of Aldenham, marking the beginning of the village’s modern history. Development could only begin when landowners sold off their land for this purpose, which began in the final decade of the nineteenth century with the sale of land to the west of Watling Street. The estate of Aldenham Lodge, to the north of Shenley Hill, was released for development in 1910, and the Newberries estate in 1935. The Newberries Mansion was demolished in the 1950s, and Aldenham Lodge was demolished in 1964.

    In 1929, Handley Page Ltd established a grass airfield just north of town for the production of aircraft. By 1939, Radlett Aerodrome had been upgraded to include three hard runways for the production of Handley Page Hampden and Handley Page Halifax bombers during WWII. Following the war, the airfield was used to manufacture Handley Page Hastings transport planes and Handley Page Hermes airliners. The SBAC held air shows here in 1946 and 1947 before moving them to Farnborough. The Handley Page Victor bomber prototype was built here, with the main runway being extended in 1952 to allow flight testing, and there is now a road named after it next to a DPD depot on this site. Handley Page declared bankruptcy in 1969, and the airport closed in 1970.

    Radlett was a stop on the 1948 Olympic Marathon route. It was an out-and-back course from Wembley’s Empire Stadium.

    Eddie Kidd, a stunt rider, jumped over 14 London Double Decker buses at Radlett Aerodrome in 1977.

    Since the introduction of the Metropolitan Green Belt in the 1950s, new development has been limited to infilling within the built-up area, limiting further outward growth beyond the then-existing limits of the village. Despite this, many new houses are still being built in former large gardens, and the population has risen to over 8,000 people.

    There was a large campaign in the village and surrounding areas in 2005 and 2006 to save the Fire Station, which opened 100 years ago.

    The campaign was a failure, and the station was shut down in October 2006. The campaign continued for a while after the fire station was closed, but it has now been demolished.

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