a small market town

By Llinos Thomas

White Horse Street
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
A view of Hitchin Street, c1910.
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

The small market town of Baldock was founded by the Knights Templar in 1140. The town is said to be called after Baldac, the Medieval name for Baghdad. The Templars had hoped to conquer Baghdad during the Crusades.

The brewing industry created much of the wealth that enabled the many Georgian buildings of the town to be built. Its malts were considered to be amongst England’s finest and were exported to London in considerable quantities. Numerous breweries also sprang up in the town to serve not only the local population, but also the growing volume of traffic on the Great North Road. Baldock was a major stopping place between London and the north of England and many of the old coaching Inns still survive today.  Up to the 1880’s the Old White Horse on Whitehorse Street was a meeting place for Victorian artistic and literary people such as the painter Millais and the cartoonist Leech.

Baldock was the home of the Full-Fashioned Hosiery Company  who later became the Kayser Bondor ladies stocking factory. The factory temporarily produced parachutes during World War II. Its Art Deco facade still stands and was converted to a Tesco supermarket in the late 1980s.

The Rose and Crown public house can be seen in the foreground of the postcard of White Horse Street which was a noted stopping place for the Baldock Cycling Touring Club.

This page was added on 20/05/2009.

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  • Hi..A follow up to my message some four year’s ago .Bert Bysouth was my great uncle . My grandmother was Florence. Bysouth . Florence married Percy Kingsley and moved down to Croydon and then to Mead. Vale near Redhill . Percy worked for the Monotype Co in Salford’s just off the A23 . Percy died in 1950 of a stroke rip . Percy had brothers 3 I think one died of ww1 wounds and a sister called Evelyn. The Kingsley’s were farm bailiffs in the Royston area . My g grandfather who ran the farm was James. Kingsley who passed away in 1940. He was known as little Jimmy .. Back to Bysouths when the wheelwrights close down my father’s first cousin David Bysouth took all the machinery to Heathfield and commenced making wheel again The Co recently made me new wheel’s for my 1903 motorcar .. David Bysouth is my second cousin . His farther is my great uncle Philip Bysouth . I used to see them on my visits to Mead Vale Redhill . Oh there was David’s sister Margaret ( Aunt Margaret) Bysouth ?? Take care 🇬🇧🇬🇧🙋

    By Brian. Michael. Kingsley . (05/04/2022)
  • The World War II War effort required the Kayser Bondor company to be used by The Cosmos Radio Valve company. It was never used for parachute production, that was based in Letchworth. The Cosmos Valve Co. is referenced the in BBC archives of interviews with women that worked at the factory. Phyllis from Wymondham, recalls working at the Cosmos. Other employees were Geraldine Pearman from Bassingbourn and Ruby Taylor from Litlington along with many more young women from all over the country, who played their part in the war effort. Unmarried girls had to to work in either factories or as land army girls.

    By Eileen H. (25/12/2021)
  • Bert Bysouth, my grand father, had no sons only daughters. His work shop was on park street and backed onto the schools netball court. Nowhere near kaysors.

    By Frances Sanderson-Bates (27/01/2021)
  • I am Berts Bysouth Great Grand nephew, Im not sure where the workshop was but I have his workshop sign.

    Anthony B

    By ANTHONY BYSOUTH (01/02/2020)
  • As a child I can well remember Bysouths wheelwrights workshop. I went to school with one of the sons, I cannot remember his first name. But I used to enjoy going to the workshop and watching how they would fit a iron rim to cartwheels. The work shop was located on Park Street.

    By Adrian King (12/12/2019)
  • Came upto Baldock a few days ago . My grans brother was Bert Bysouth wheelwright . Unable to locate the site / workshop of House the family lived in Do remember it was along a very narrow lane and backed into the Keyser work’s ( now Tesco) .it did not help as it was getting dark .regards Brian. Kingsley .

    By Brian Michael. Kingsley (21/09/2019)
  • I used to love visting my nan in Baldock in the mid 60’s. She lived in a caravan park there with farm fields all around it, very different to where I lived. Her husband my step grandad Arthur Green was a security guard at Kayser Bonder ( that’s how it sounded – don’t know how it was spelt) I loved going into the little shops for our knitting wool and I remember getting her to buy fish fingers because there were free picutres of the Beatles in it.

    By Sue Spiller (09/10/2010)