A portrait of Prospect Road in 1911

Prospect Road first appears in the 1871 census so some of the houses in the road must have been built in the late 1860s and early 1870s. It was originally a cul de sac and ended before St Julians Road. Prospect Road as we know it today was completed when the rest of the road joined on to Cottonmill Lane in 1930.
In 1911, the houses numbered from 1-57 on the river side and 2-52 on the railway side. There is an interesting mix of residents from those living on independent means to working class labourers with many middle class occupations in between. Many of the houses were quite large ranging from seven to eleven rooms. There are several four roomed properties housing larger families.

Among the occupations there are several railway clerks, probably employed in the Abbey Station; several laundresses who worked at the Sanitary Laundry in Belmont Hill; some working in the seed business, obviously Ryder’s Seeds on Holywell Hill; and even a Post Office telephone operator. The Mercer family, chronometer manufacturers, were still living in Prospect Road at this time at numbers 14 and 18.

Residents living in Prospect Road on the night of the census:
1 George Peters a house painter plus wife Hannah son Herbert a brewer’s clerk, son Percy a draper’s warehouse clerk plus four daughters: Lily, Georgia, Edwina and Daisy who were all dressmakers. Boarder Constance Heath was an apprentice dressmaker. 7 rooms.
3 Gilmore Forester a traveller in the paper trade plus wife Annie and daughter. 7 rooms.
5 Arthur Perkins a bootmaker and wife Lucy plus three daughters Lucy, Ethel and Ida who were schoolteachers and a son Arthur a railway clerk. Two other children still at school. Emily Perkins, Arthur’s sister a draper’s assistant was living there. 9 rooms.
9 James Ball and wife Drusilla plus children: Drusilla, Florence, Sidney, Percy and Gerald who were all railway clerks. 11 rooms.
11 Lilian Hurlock and her two sons Cecil and Hodsell plus a servant Margaret Taylor. 9 rooms.
17 Caroline Haines a public house licensed victualler, her brother William Roper a hosiery salesman, daughter Maud Dawes and servant Jane Franklin, plus Charles Wageman a visitor from the USA who was a piano dealer and importer. 8 rooms.
19 George Jennens a retired seaman plus wife Beatrice and sons John an under manager of a tool works and Oliver a draughtsman.
21 Henry Thomas a railway clerk plus wife Emily and son Dick an insurance clerk.
23 George Curry a sergeant major in the cavalry plus wife and family. 7 rooms.
29 Emily, Laura and Ada Howard three spinster sisters who were laundresses. Charles Stapleton a printer boarded there. 6 rooms.
31 Frederick Ashby a carman and his wife Anne a charwoman and young son. 4 rooms.
33 Philip Taylor a labourer plus wife Mary. 4 rooms.
35 Alfred Disher an odd job man plus sister, Emily. 4 rooms.
37 Charles Martin a bricklayer plus wife Ada and daughter. 4 rooms.
39 Elizabeth Ann Grey a laundress and boarder Mary Ann also a laundress.
41 Herbert Vials a plumber plus Ada his wife a straw hat machinist and two children. 5 rooms.
43 Charles Walklate gas fitter St Albans Gas Company plus wife Edith and daughter. Boarder Alice Stringer a laundry ironer at the Sanitary Laundry. 5 rooms.
45 Mary Buggins living on private means with Frances Burger a visitor and Catherine Ford niece. 6 rooms.
47 George Worley dairy man milk round with his wife Florence and brother, James. 4 rooms.
49 Frederick Peek watercress labourer with wife Jane. 4 rooms.
51 Charles Hayward chronometer assembler with wife Amy and Edith daughter who was a dressmaker. 4 rooms.
53 William Powell jobbing gardener with wife Mary, daughters Florence assistant in seed business, Alice a laundress and Mary a dressmaker and son Albert an unemployed gardener plus two more schoolchildren. 4 rooms.
55 Elizabeth Garland widow living in 4 rooms.
57 (Woburn Cottage) Elizabeth Sparrow widow, son Henry carpenter and joiner, son George grocer’s assistant, daughter Anne and son William both assistants in seeds warehouse plus two more children. 7 rooms.
2 Becket Lindley a wood buyer plus Mary his wife and two children and Mary Parker domestic servant. 8 rooms.
4 Lilian Timpson widow and daughter Dorothy with servant Martha Boyer. 10 rooms.
6 Robert Mason gas fitter plus wife Jane. 5 rooms.
8 Albert Hester collector in Gas Company plus Emma wife. 5 rooms.
10 Charles Gostick law clerk plus wife Mary, sons Arthur, another law clerk, Peter chronometer finisher and Gillman a coach builder. Also daughter Anne. 7 rooms.
12 William Wates-Leavins excursion clerk plus Eliza his wife. 6 rooms.
14 Mary Mercer widow plus son William chartered accountant and servant Fanny Moules. 10 rooms.
18 Frank Mercer chronometer manufacturer plus wife Gertrude and daughter. Edith Atkins servant. 7 rooms.
28 William H Treen Portland cement retired plus wife Jane and two children. 7 rooms.
30 (Crombie Villa) Henry Travers chronometer maker retired wife Sarah and Constance Baker head teacher HCC. 8 rooms.
36 Thomas Hester brewery clerk plus Louisa his wife, son Charles railway clerk, daughter Gladys telephone operator post office.
38 William George brass finisher wife Ada and daughter, plus boarder Sidney Hawking a butcher 4 rooms
40 Harriet Godman widow plus three children and boarders Albert Gillespie coachman and Herbert Curtis railway clerk. 5 rooms.
42 Arthur Edward Pinnock carpenter Silk Mill plus wife Ada and six children. 4 rooms.
44 Henry Pratt bricklayer’s labourer plus wife Jane and daughter and son Bert a house painter. 4 rooms.
46 Arthur Reynolds straw hat machine blocker with wife Anne and niece Ada straw hat finisher. 4 rooms.
48 William Malyon jobbing gardener with wife Martha, son John foreman in straw hat factory and daughter Daisy a dressmaker plus three more children. 4 rooms.
50 John Briggs bricklayer plus Ada his wife two children and mother-in-law. 4 rooms.
52 Albert Godman carpenter and undertaker Elisabeth his wife, daughter Elizabeth dressmaker son-in-law William Hinder Pangbourn florist and Alice his wife.

Number 25, where William Longmire the builder and contractor is supposed to have lived, does not appear so probably unoccupied. There are several other gaps. He appears in the 1891 census for Prospect Road with his sister Elizabeth. Henry Travers came from a well-known chronometer making family. His father worked for Thomas Mercer and came to St Albans when Mercer moved to St Albans. Henry ‘s two other brothers also worked for the company.


  1. Pete Webb

    At no 29 Prosepect Road – Emily, Laura and Ada Howard three spinster sisters who were laundresses. Charles Stapleton a printer boarded there. 6 rooms. (1911 census)
    They were 3 maiden aunts (father’s sisters) to my Grandmother.
    Any information welcome

    • Pete Webb

      Further to the above post – My Grandmother’s grandfather William HOWARD was a labourer in the nearby gasworks in the 1881 census, with five children from 6 to 16 and in the 1901 census at the same address aged 83 with three daughters (aged 27 – 36) His wife Mary Ann (nee COLLINS) was born in Rochester, Kent circa 1831 and no longer at the address. They had 7 children of which Frederick William HOWARD was my great grandfather. Frederick William was born in St Albans in 1862. William HOWARD is not listed in Kelly’s directory for St Albans in 1901 but he is listed by 1909 with a laundry at 29 Prospect Road. Family tradition is that he set the laundry up in the garden to ensure an income for three spinster daughters (Emily, Laura and Ada). They were still listed at the address in the early 1930s (1932 & 1934 Kellys directory) but not there in 1935. It seems likely the remaining family moved to 91 Hatfield Road where Miss A HOWARD appears as a dressmaker and a Wm HOWARD there as a jeweller. Any information and especially photos would be very welcome.


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