Heath Drive, Potters Bar.

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Janet Reid is interested in exploring the origins of a distinctive part of Heath Drive. Can anyone assist with Janet’s queries and perhaps add further information? Please respond via the 'Contact Us' link.

The Square, Heath Drive

The houses were built in about 1919 – 1921 by German prisoners of war.

( living where?)
( how were they viewed by the local population?)

They are built of breezeblock. Was this new technology? Was there a shortage of bricks?)

They had slate roofs    (slate still on no 8)

Some were 3 bedroom and some 4, depending on whether a dividing wall was built.
They had a coal shed and a walk-in pantry.

The foundations of numbers 8 and 10 – the first to be built – were very shallow.
No. 10 was underpinned in the 1970s, and no. 8 had subsidence problems in 2000.
The builders realised the foundations were inadequate, and increased them for the later houses.   Nos 20 and 22 are on a concrete raft.

The houses were designed without porches.   The front doors hit the stairs when opened,  and porches were added !     They were all originally the hollow design seen at no. 8, but in the 1960s and 70s many were altered to pitched roofs when the hollow design leaked.

The houses had Crittall windows, which were an early standard metal window frame produced for a Government housing scheme.   A few houses still have these.

The houses were provided with gas lighting and gas for cooking, and a butler sink.
A flue from the kitchen had an Ascot gas water heater (original ?)
One wall of the kitchen had a large dresser.

There were fireplaces in two rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs.

Electricity became available in the 1920s.
(From a power station near Hudsons garage ? )

On the even side, until the 1950s, the grass was a full size tennis court with full net surrounds.

On the odd side, there was trellis work along the pavement edge, and flower beds all round the lawn.

A stream ran down the boundary with The Avenue gardens.  Most residents filled this in in the 1960s.  Now the gardens just get waterlogged.

Drains are a mystery.  In the 1960/70s the Council had no record of the route of the drains.    Nos 12 – 18 were prone to flooding.  This was particularly bad in the summer of 1973.     In the 1980/90s a huge storm water tank was installed under the road, to cope with a downpour and then discharge it in a controlled fashion into the drains.

27th September 2015.

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