Cuts and Alleyways: A nostalgic St Albans Walk – Part 1


A Nostalgic St Albans Walk

Prompted by a chance remark about how the City had changed since our childhood (the library is a pub, the college flats, “they’ve” knocked down the bus garage and the “Mile House”!) I decided today to return to my birthplace and take a reminiscent walk around St Albans. (And also to indulge in a bit of further training for my “Gratitude Walk” in September).



I travelled over by train and after leaving the station immediately came across the old prison, now the St Albans Registry Office, where I was married nine years ago.  Most will remember this as the old Council Refuse Department and today the entrance and grounds look very well kept.  Years ago, I only used to watch “Porridge” to catch a glimpse of the prison gates closing, delighted to see somewhere so near to home on TV.



I walked past what was the old Gaumont (now disappeared), where I remember seeing “The Aristocats” twice and found myself in Clarence Park.  I have lovely memories of going “down the Park” with my Dad and plucking up the courage to shout out “City, City” from the terraces.  Pity the old Oak Tree has gone.  I remember sunny days playing tennis and getting let out of the FE College early and lounging on the grass eating crisps.  It was gratifying to see it all so well kept.


st-albans-city-f-cSt Peters Area St Albans


After leaving Clarence Park, rather than walk up Hatfield Road, I took an alleyway (the first of many cuts and alleyways on this walk) into the backway of St Peter’s.  Such a beautiful Church and grounds.  My parents married here and were members of St Peters Fellowship in the 1950s and I was christened here.





I used to be fascinated by the almshouses opposite the Church as a child, imagining what it would be like living in such a small cottage all on one floor and how ancient the residents must be!  I know realise that they were probably not many years older than I will soon be!

Church Street area, St Albans

I suppose because I have so many happy memories of my Nana I am very fond of the Dalton Street area.  “Number 25″ where my mum grew up is still there (my dad’s autobiography says he did his courting in the passageway!”), opposite the “Cut”. (looks pretty narrow to me!)

a-st-albans-walk-number-nine  As is number 9, with the same creeping plant and tiles out the front which used to fascinate me when I was young. Looking down at the ground I could hear someone tinkling away on a piano somewhere nearby and felt myself transported back over 50 years.




Turning left I headed up Catherine Street towards the City Centre but cut down Telford Way (mainly habit because I always remember cutting through the noisy, smelly cattle market!)

St Peters Street, St Albans


The shop fronts and signs may have changed along St Peters Street but take a  look higher and the prosperous elegant building fronts still remain.


Despite the adverts for modern paperbacks and lottery tickets W H Smith’s still maintains a dignified air.



Part 2 of my walk continues here.  The final photo to the first part of this three part post was taken in the 1950s.  Where in St Peter’s Street is it, I wonder?



(Labels have been left off of some of these photos on purpose as the blog was posted as a challenge on a St Albans website. If anyone requires details of where the photos were taken please contact me at

For further walks around the St Albans area please see:

“Cuts and Alleyways: A Nostalgic St Albans Walk, Part 2

“Cuts and Alleyways: A Nostalgic St Albans Walk, Part 3”

“The Alban Way: A good walk for muddy winter days

For more walking posts please subscribe to my blog at  or to my Facebook Page:  Jackie McAll “About the Journey”


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Joan Johnson says:

    Lovely nostalgic photos, Jackie. Brought back memories of my childhood in St Albans. The last photo, taken in St Peter’s Street, shows the gates which used to lead up to the cattle market.


    1. Jackie McAll says:

      Ah, thanks for that Joan. The photo is of my Mum and Auntie, I think coming back from work in the library at Smiths. Were you in St Albans at that time?


      1. Joan Johnson says:

        I was born in St Albans in 1946 and lived there until my marriage in 1966. Moved to Cornwall in 1971 but still miss my ‘home town’.


      2. jackie says:

        Ah, yes I understand that. I still have a “yearning”. I live in Bedfordshire now. Cornwall is a wonderful place to live though. And this nostalgia site is great!


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