Meanwhile there has been some research carried out at Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) at Hertford, on the subject of Valuation Office Surveys – Land Tax Maps to you and me – which were created from 1910. The subject may not appear to be riveting, but a huge amount of helpful data can be extracted from this key resource.
|Beresford Road homes built on land once owned by |
Messrs Placeham, Moody and Ryder.
For local historians, of course, this information is irrelevant. What appeals to us is the range of maps produced, and the field books which act as reference books for the numbers written on the maps, one number for each plot of land.
The Camp estate was formed from the southern section of Beaumonts Farm, which was sold by the trustees of the late Thomas Kinder in 1899. This was acquired by the partnership of Arthur Ekins and Francis Giffen, who laid out the roads, consisting of Cambridge, Camp View, Ely, College, Royston, Wellington and Beresford, the southern boundary being Camp Lane (now Camp Road). Individual plots or blocks of plots were then sold on to investors, developers or directly to small house builders.
One decade after the sale it is clear that the whole of the estate had been sold on and the Ekins/Giffen partnership in this area was able to be wound up. The maps therefore show no references to these two men, but among the large blocks of yet-to-be-developed street-side land were the names of familiar citizens of the time. Among them were another partnership. Three men invested some of their resources in purchasing sizeable blocks both here and on Alfred Nicholson's land north of Cambridge Road. They were F C Placeham of Marlborough Road, J G Moody of London Road and S Ryder of Marlborough House. Yes, that's right, St Albans' own Samuel Ryder.
|The triangle of land at the junction of Camp Road and|
Camp View Road belonged to T W Gear, who also
owned a shop (the first white-fronted building on the right).
The field books tell us the owners and their addresses, the land values, and for plots already developed, the occupiers of the properties. Where occupiers are not shown, even though the buildings are shown on the map, we can assume the structures to be only recently finished and therefore not yet occupied.
Such information helps the local historian, as well as everyone who lives here, to understand more about how the ownership of the land on which their home sits, changed through time.