Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bricket Wood in pictures

A pictorial guide to my employer's best kept secret. Bricket Wood is an hour away from London, in the county of Hertfordshire, in the town of St. Alban's. A small, typical English village almost. Its such a pleasure to get away from the big concrete edifices of the city, and this place is as good a getaway as it gets. All around, you find green fields, grazing giant-size cattle, horses and happy people. And the pubs have the most wonderful names. 'The bat and the ball', 'Hare and hounds', 'The Blacksmith's arms', 'The Whiteheart tap' and 'The merry minstrel', just to name a few. Narrow, small streets intertwine themselves all through the town, almost taking you on journey to a time long gone. If not long gone, then simpler for sure.

The bank's training college in Bricket Wood, was actually the estate of the stately Yule family. Before that it was part of a Roman settlement around 40-60 AD. It then grew in importance for the next few hundred years till the black plague caused all the settlers to relocate. The Yule family bought it in 1900 and patronised it as an estate as well as to entertain Lady Yule's film friends and to breed horses. HSBC purchased the property in 1994 and it has been used as the Group training college ever since. The old buildings are still retained in almost their original splendour, with the Hanstead House being the pick of the lot. While many cottages line various parts of the training campus, the Hexagon Bar and the adjoining building exudes the most old world charm, with their dated but exquisite wooden panelling and high ceilings. The campus contains a football ground, a cricket pitch and a Community recreational premises, which the other residents of the area can also use. Another highlight for me is the beautiful lake on the premises, complete with its family of swans. A sight to behold on a bright summer's day. The pictures should tell their own story.

Trivia on the campus -

- The river Thames used to run by the sight, till the glacier 'Anglian' rerouted it.
- Gladys Yule built a pet cemetery on the estate, which still exists.
- Hanstead House's garden has a mulberry bush which is 400 yrs old!
- Hanstead House once had its own private zoo. Bears were a-roaming...
- Nearly 85 films made by the British National Films company were premiered at Hanstead House.
- Sir David Yule was the richest man in the Empire when he died in 1928.
- Reports exist of sightings of the ghost of Lady Gladys Yule!




Cogito said...

Looks like an awesome place !

santosh said...

sooper pics sir! am really jealous! ;-)

stuti said...

so we know what you were upto, when you were not in class.....what with the number of pub/bar names you rattled off!

franjy said...

I've got the right surname but I don't think I'm related..what a shame...i wouldn't mind owning a house like that

Anonymous said...

Well-Your'e right about it being a beautiful and special place.But maybe you had one too many in the first pub? ;0 ) haven't got any of those pub names right! We have 'the black boy' the 'fox and hounds' the 'old fox' 'the gate' and 'Moor Mill' which is a restaurant and bar.
Hope you still come and visit here regularly-it is all particularly pretty at the moment with the snow dusted on the trees in the woods.
And yes-the people are very friendly here-me being one of them! :D

Anonymous said...

What a shame that at the moment we are facing the prospects of having 170 houses and flats built on this wonderful pretty area:-(

Anonymous said...

An American cult based in Edmond Oklahoma (Philadelphia Church of God) is purchasing the Hanstead House in order to start a college dedicated to cult leader Herbert W Armstrong. The Armstrong cult owned the former Ambassador College that was in the property and closed it in 1974. HSBC then bought the property.

This is a dangerous cult that has destroyed many lives because of suicide, it has broken up families and marriages. It is virulently anti-gay and is also very much against mixed race marriages and is a strong proponent of British Isrealism. It also claims that it is the only true chruch on the face of the earth and that its criminally convicted leader is Elijah the prophet.

The citizens of Bricket Wood should be alarmed at their presence in their midst.

A quick search of the web will find all kinds of information about this outwardly benign appearing cult, but its hidden secrets are far more deadly!

Anonymous said...

To be honest I do'nt think the ghost is of the late Lady Yule.I've seen this ghost and its attire was certainly of centuries ago.It was interesting to read of the pubs mentioned,could it be that the author is ref to St.Albans and some of its narrow streets.The photos are very good as is the other information,also that of Anonymous.Probably like me was brought up in the area.Sadly the Fox and Hounds is a private dwelling now.Bricket Wood is still a beautiful place to those that know it.