Moving to Hemel Hempstead in 1956
By Ted Gammon
My first encounter with Hertfordshire was in October 1956. I had just been demobbed after a three-year spell with the Royal Artillery, as I opted to sign on for an extra year when I went for my National Service Induction Interview. Being a ‘regular’ must pay better than four bob a day. It did, and I never regretted it – but that’s another story.
I was visiting my future brother-in-law, who lived in Hemel Hempstead
He, and his new wife, had a nice little three bedroom terraced house in Bennetts End and as I was due to marry his kid sister on June 1st 1957, I needed somewhere to live. He suggested I contact the Development Corporation – as it was known then – as the were giving preference to ex-servicemen looking for accommodation. He did and it worked for him. I applied immediately and was granted an interview a week later where I was told that I would qualify, providing I lived and worked in Hemel for a minimum of three months. Accommodation was not a problem, I already had ‘family’ in the area and he had a spare bedroom. Employment however, was another matter.
There were only two major employers in the area, ‘The Brush’ and ‘The Mill’, namely G.B. Kent and John Dickinson. Didn’t fancy glue and bristle, so I chose the ‘Mill’ and started work as a warehouse supervisor at £8 – 16 – 6d for a fifty hour week.
On February 12th 1957, my twenty-second birthday, I attended an interview with the Development Corporation Housing Dept and asked:
“What kind of house would you like?” – On March 1st I paid my first weeks’ rent of £1-12-6d – including rates on a brand new three bedroomed house and a garden the size of a football field, in Towers Road Adeyfield, my home for the next twenty one years.