Why I like living in Riverside Road – Barry Bateman

BATEMANBJBarry moved to St Albans from Crouch End in May 1988. He chose to live in Riverside Road in Sopwell. Riverside Road started off as Longmire Road and had a bad reputation as a poor area. Nowadays it is seen as an upmarket place to live. Barry explains why he likes it there. He talks about his neighbours, eating places and the nearby amenities and green spaces.

Interview date: 29 July 2013. Interviewer: Linda Bateman.




  1. John King

    Have just listened intently to Barry Bateman recall his memories of his years in Riverside Road.
    I lived in Longmire Road from when I was born 1941 until we left for New Greens in 1952/3.
    My memories are not as people generally speak of the road in those days. Yes times were hard for mostly all but they were for a youngster, full of fun and interest.
    I lived at no. 26 which was the third house from the golf course end overlooking the watercress beds, we in those days had a communal entrance at the side of the first cottage in which lived the Smiths, then the Dunhams, an elderly couple who had a cellar all racked out for vegetables which they grew in their garden, and I particularly remember that Mrs Dunham was a great first-aider! I could list all the neighbours but it would bore you all.
    All the toilets were outside, tin baths hung outside by the waterbutts, the mangle was outside, the garden was accessed by a metal runged ladder set in the wall and from the garden you could walk the wooden walkway round the watercress beds, if Mr Pinnock didn’t see you, although as we grew older i recall helping pick at times when they were busy.
    We all knew each other in the street and I recall a shop at the end of the road, on the watercress beds side just before the alleyway to St Peters School which was called (not correct spelling) Schrogels an old lady ran it who was from abroad and I always remember being instructed not to sell me matches! I remember Mr Robinson and Mr Willis who both wore leather gaitors and would sit under the railway bridge on the way to the golf course on old wooden boxes and smoke their clay pipes and sing us what I suppose were folk songs. Two lovely old gentlemen who we all liked and listened to, what a change from today.
    Too much to recall here but a lovely place to have grown up.

  2. John King

    Further to my last posting of growing up in Longmire I must mention the Ver which played a large part in my childhood.
    We would walk to the bridge and into the railway end of the golf course, walk parallel to the railway line to the bridge and the Ver, I have memories of a sluice of some kind and maybe watercress beds on this side as well, here we would go tad-polling and newting.
    You could then follow the river along the golf course side all the way to the mill, I can recall swimming but also recall quite a strong current. The dredger was often on the river and would be moored up overnight and we would have great times aboard!
    One of the most foolish things I recall was walking the path through the golf course to Milehouse Lane/ Cottonmill Lane to the railway bridge, climbing the embankment and placing pennies on the line one track, hiding behind the parapet, then searching the track for our pennies and halfpennies. ‘Don’t do this yourselves children!’
    Great friends in those days were Jimmy Hunt from Old London Road, sadly no longer with us, Terry Martin and Derrick Dudy from Longmire.

  3. John King

    Have just listened to interview with Anne Wares about Ramsbury Road. I lived in Longmire from birth 1941-1952. I can remember three shops in the area, Schrogels in Longmire, Robinsons at top of Cornwall on corner of Ramsbury and one other at junction of road that ran down to station.
    I remember that the one where there are now new apartments at the top near London road was at one time owned by one of the Compton brothers of cricket fame, this was in the 50s when I was an apprentice at Staples Press across the road where I was sent to by the lunches for the journeymen printers most days.
    Those three shops served the needs of the local community at that time.
    I remember the greengrocer came round by horse and cart,

  4. David Lightfoot

    Just listened to Barry Batemans memories/etc.
    I was just wondering if he remembers me.We used to play music/guitars/whatever.
    Lived in Tottenham/Went to work in Scotland.
    I would like to just say”Hello” to him,if possible;he is a good man!
    Can anybody help!
    Thanks in advance

    • Barry Bateman

      I’m in shock. Me ol’ mate Dave. Is it really you? I have often wondered how you were and indeed where you were. We must get together. So much has happened to us both I am sure. So many lifetimes have passed since we last met. Please email me so we can catch up. This is monumental.

    • Barry Bateman

      Apologies Dave, if you have already got my earlier reply but I am never sure whether sending stuff via my iPad always works. Anyway, it would really be great to be in touch again. There are just so many things to talk about. Hope you are well and still playing. I never stopped, thanks to you and always look back with very happy memories. Hope we can catch up soon.
      Take care dear thing,
      Barry ( Saz)


Leave a comment

  • (will not be published)