Lemsford Mill - The Sherriff Family – memories of Eric Fowler Sherriff,
recorded by a relative gfgreenslade Taken from Ancestry 28/1/10. Eric died 11/1/10
The year was 1872. Wheat was Fifty-seven shillings per quarter. It had been another wet summer and poor harvest. The autumn was excessively wet with more than five inches of rain recorded in parts of the country. CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE
This eventually grew to the busy and thriving company of Sherriff & Sons Limited
That same year Arthur James Sherriff decided to leave Aylesbury with his growing family and break away from his forefathers' tradition of being governors of the jail. He chose Hatfield where he acquired the lease of Hatfield Brewery but disposed of it six years later keeping a small corn and coal business. This eventually grew to the busy and thriving company of Sherriff & Sons Limited which remained as a family company until it was taken over in t Eighties.
The Sherriff family were tenants of the Salisbury estate for many years. In 1896 the Marquis of Salisbury built Leaside, a substantial house at Mill Green, for Arthur (known as James) and his family of eleven children. Together with one hundred acres provided by the Salisbury estate, James rented more to satisfy his love of farming, particularly poultry.
In 1896 James moved the agricultural business to a tin shed in Hatfield Station yard
His interest in farming encouraged him to help revive the Hatfield Agricultural Show which was held on land opposite the old Hatfield Police Station.
In 1896 James moved the agricultural business to a tin shed in Hatfield Station yard where he subsequently built the granary and office on railway property near Hatfield Station on the Great North Road. It was from here that truckloads of agricultural goods were transported by rail.
The road around Potters Bar was notoriously rough (especially Stagg Hill) and it was a bumpy ride for horse, cart and driver to move animal feed from the rail sidings at Hatfield to North London.
Through his farming connections Arthur met Elizabeth Crawford, a farmer's daughter from North Mymms.
TThe story is told of one particular drayman who having accepted the traditional tip of a pint of beer at one too many of the customers' promises, was known to 'nod off in the cart leaving the well-trained horse to find its own way back to Hatfield!
The horse water trough, now on view outside Mill Green Museum, stood outside the granary opposite The Red Lion Hotel until recent years. It was important to horses and cattle travelling the Great North Road; a busy thoroughfare from London to the North.
Arthur James Junior (known as Arthur) was born in 1876 and he and his brother Walter joined their father in the family business. Through his farming connections Arthur met Elizabeth Crawford, a farmer's daughter from North Mymms. He married in 1907 and had five sons. Arthur James. Leslie, Geoffrey, Eric and George. Two of the sons, Leslie and Eric, went into the business whilst James and Geoffrey became farmers.
In 1950 the decision was taken to sell the coal business
After nearly six years in World War Two, George returned and moved to Buckinghamshire and became a chartered auctioneer. In 1950 the decision was taken to sell the coal business. Previously coal and corn had gone together as the coal was used for steam engines used for ploughing and threshing. But the advent of the modem tractor had ended the farmers' reliance on Coal and Sherriff & Sons decided to concentrate their resources on their agricultural merchant's business.
Many people will recall the fleet of green Sherriff & Sons Lorries travelling round the Countryside collecting grain and delivering Animal feeds. Sherriff & Sons Limited remained in Hatfield both as a garden shop and agricultural Business until it moved in the eighties to larger premises in Royston. In the early days a mill was built north of Hatfield alongside the railway and in 1955 the company was able to purchase the nearby Burleigh Mead House (which had been built originally by the Marquis of Salisbury for his family doctor) to use as Offices.
Looking at a photograph of the waterwheel at Lemsford he recalls how frightening it seemed to him as a small child
Eric, the surviving member of the family, remembers happy childhood days spent at the Mill House, Lemsford, not far from Hatfield, where his parents moved after leaving Leaside.
"The house was in a wonderful position a large garden, lawn tennis court and Croquet lawn. We used to love playing in his new home. The orchard and vegetable garden," he remembers fondly. "The Sherriff family have always loved poultry and all three of my own children still keep them. Our father was keen on showing and we had over a hundred Aylesbury ducks, ancones, leghorns, light Sussex and Rhode Island reds.
Looking at a photograph of the waterwheel at Lemsford he recalls how frightening it seemed to him as a small child, especially after he fell into the Millrace and was saved by his brother Jim! "We five boys were born in the Mill House. I'll never forget as a young boy having my appendix out on the kitchen table by a surgeon brought down from London especially for the operation! "The Mill House was one of the earliest houses in the area to have electricity which we were fortunate enough to be able to generate with power provided by the waterwheel," Eric recalls. Lord Brocket, landlord of the mill and Mill house, decided to build a farmhouse at Cromer Hyde Farm for the Sherriff family. Sadly Arthur died in 1938, when he was only sixty-two, soon after moving into his new home.
The sons bought Gosmore
His widow, Elizabeth, moved out of Cromer Hyde and the sons bought Gosmore for her, the house opposite Lemsford Church, which had been used by the local nurse as a clinic. Elizabeth Sherriff lived there for many years until her death in 1969. Cromer Hyde House kept its connections with the Sherriffs, for Geoffrey and his family were tenants there for many more years.
Eric leafs through the photographs and cuttings in his collection. Now, nearly in his ninetieth year, Eric has seen many changes. He picks up the original programme 1st the first production of Journey's End which he saw when he was thirteen. It starred a young aspiring actor - Laurence Olivier.
"This play was written by my father's cousin, R. C. Sherriff, when he was a young insurance clerk. He was the literary one in the family and I enjoyed seeing, ‘Journey’s End’ again last year in London." Eric closes his notebook and says: "One hundred and thirty three years in the Welwyn and Hatfield area. What would my grandfathers say if he could see it now?" Read about the Williams who moved into the Mill in 1943
From Tony Lock & Kathy Cook re Ramblers Holidays move to the Mill - 2006 was a special year for Ramblers Holidays in two ways. , Read More
Firstly, we're very proud of an organisation which has been in existence for 60 years and which, through the operation of our walking holidays, has given so much pleasure to countless thousands of holidaymakers over the years. We're working hard to maintain standards of excellence so we can celebrate many more years of providing such holiday experiences. Secondly, our anniversary year has seen us move offices into the wonderful location of Lemsford Mill and the village in which it stands.
Our holidays started in the early post-war years when travel was still something of an adventure and many of our friends from those early years can recall hair-raising experiences! The travel business has endured many ups and downs since those days but we're delighted that our company has been growing successfully for many years now. During our 60 years the company has had several homes. Based originally in London, we moved to Welwyn Garden City in the early 1970s and now to Lemsford where we hope to reside for many a long year in such a strong and welcoming community. We would like to thank so many people who have contributed so much to the success of our organisation over the years and our recent move to Lemsford. They are too numerous to mention here but our gratitude is heartfelt. We're delighted that you've been able to join with us and participate in our celebrations today and trust that you've had a memorable experience. We would like to thank you for your interest Read More