"GRANT'S HEMEL PAGE." Hemel Hempstead by GrantBoone
Hemel Hempstead Travel Guide: 56 reviews and 204 photos
This is the place that I still think of as my home town as I lived here nearly all my life. I moved to London in 1996 , but still come 'home' a few times a year to visit family or have a night out with old friends in some of the many pubs in the town. Why visit Hemel? Well you have the choice of bustling town life or beautiful countryside alongside each other.Hemel is also near the motorway and railway for easy access to London, but not too close!!
It really is a nice place to live or even visit.
SOME HEMEL FACTS .......
Hemel is famous for its "Magic Roundabout" (officially called the Moor End roundabout, or "The Plough Roundabout" from a former adjacent public house), an interchange at the end of the town centre (Moor End), where traffic from six routes meet. Traffic is able to circulate in both directions around what appears to be a main central roundabout (and formerly was such), with the normal rules applying at each of the six mini-roundabouts encircling this central reservation. It was the first such circulation system in Britain.
Hemel claims to have the first purpose built multi-storey car park in Britain. Built in 1960 into the side of a hill in the Marlowes shopping district, it features a giant humorous mosaic map of the area by the artist Rowland Emett.
The new town centre contains many sculptures by notable artists from the 1950s including a 1955 stone mural by sculptor Alfred Gerrard entitled Stages in the Development of Man . There is also the Rock & Rollers sculpture, which once resided outside Bank Court but has been moved to the water gardens, Water Play, a fountain, a 3D map of 1940s Hemel, and the The Residents' Rainbow, a concrete and glass rainbow sculpture in the Marlowes that has become an unofficial war memorial. The new town centre is laid out alongside landscaped gardens and water features formed from the River Gade known as the Watergardens designed by G.A. Jellicoe. The Watergardens is home to many ducks, which have been known to cause major delays on the surrounding roads. The main shopping street, Marlowes, was pedestrianised in the early 1990s.
Hemel also was home of one of the first community based television stations West Herts TV which later became Channel 10.
For many years the lower end of Marlowes featured a distinctive office building built as a bridge-like structure straddling the main road. This building was erected on the site of an earlier railway viaduct carrying the Hemel to Harpenden railway, known as The Nickey Line. When the new town was constructed, this part of the railway was no longer in use and the viaduct demolished. The Nickey Line is currently used for walking. The office building, occupied by BP, was designed to create a similar skyline and effect as the viaduct. In the early 1980s it was discovered that the building was subsiding dangerously and it was subsequently vacated and demolished. Adjacent to BP buildings was a unique double-helix public car park. The lower end of Marlowes was redeveloped into the Riverside shopping complex, which opened on 27 October 2005. Retailers taking residence at the Riverside complex, include Debenhams and H&M (previously HMV).
A few metres away, overlooking the 'Magic Roundabout', is Hemel's tallest building; the 22-storey Kodak building. Built as the Kodak company's UK HQ the tower was vacated in 2005. It was then temporarily reoccupied in 2006 after the Buncefield explosion destroyed Kodak's other Hemel offices. It is now being converted into 434 apartment homes.
The Heathrow airport holding area known as the Bovingdon stack lies just west of the town. On a clear day, at peak times, several circling aircraft can be visible in the sky.
The national headquarters of the Boys' Brigade is located at Felden Lodge, near Hemel.
As early as 1539 there had been a market on this site and in that year King Henry VIII created a charter for Hemel Hempstead which allowed more building work.More workshops, inns and a new market were built making Market street as it was then known ,to be the focus of the whole town. The road is now known as the Old High Street. The more modern shopping area is a southern continuation of the High Street known as The Marlowes .
- In a nutshell:If you are staying in London,Come and visit Hemel for a while
When the Town centre was re-designed in the early sixties , the Water Gardens was built to run alongside the main... more travel advice
I have a soft spot for this place as I was brought up not far from here .My sister also had her wedding doo here!! more travel advice
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