|Today, Hutton Street is still a narrow street near Fleet Street, but comprise modern office buildings|
instead of tightly grouped trading factories next to the Whitefriars Glass Works.
Hutton Street is tucked away behind the lower end of Fleet Street, near Ludgate in the City of London. Its association with the printing industry was long established and many nearby firms developed as jobbing printers for the hundreds of City firms. Thomas E Smith & Co was just one of them. Its footprint, like almost all back-street businesses, was typically small to reduce cost, but instead it grew upwards.
|Fleet Street is just beyond the top margin of this map.|
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|Smith's inserted a promotional supplement into the 1907 St Albans Pageant book which it printed.|
The Hutton Street premises is on the right and the expansive Fleet Works in Hatfield Road has
replaced the field sold to it by St Albans Grammar School.
1896 was also the year in which the Trustees of St Albans Grammar School gave serious consideration to the inadequacy of its existing accommodation and to the future of the School. The tithe map reveals that with Earl Verulam the body owned three fields along Hatfield Road. It was intended that the fields would be offered for development and the income used to create new buildings for the school.
|The Grubb periscope and telescope works occupied the building c1916 and left in 1925. One or|
two of the largest instruments were constructed in the open air at the back of the works.
|A 1950s view of the factory in the second phase of the Ballito era. The side road on the left|
is Sutton Road and in the foreground was the toll house nicknamed the Rats' Castle.
So we now know exactly where it was because locals have been calling it Fleetville ever since. And once you give a place a name people have reasons to be attracted to it. No sooner had Smith's walls gone up than Earl Spencer sold his St Peter's Farm to add to the earlier housing at Granville and Cavendish; and the trustees of Beaumonts Farm disposed of the first tranche of its land. Smith did not want his printing agency to be anywhere close to others; regrettably for him, that was not in his gift, and within a few years his factory and ville were surrounded by homes and workshops belonging to others. But it did give him plenty of employees living close by, and a hugely successful business.
The field on which the factory was built, bounded by the branch railway, Sutton Road and Hatfield Road, gave the district its life blood. T E Smith Printing Agency lasted until 1918 (although no work was likely to have been undertaken after 1916, the firm having lost almost all of its skilled employees during the war. Sir Howard Grubb & Sons Ltd were clandestinely moved in by the Government to continue its submarine periscope research before developing some of the world's major optical telescopes.
|An aerial of the expanded works with a multi-storey building. The bus is passing in Hatfield|
Road. The greyed-out section top right includes the adjacent timber yard run by W H Laver.
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|Aerial view today but it includes the former timber yard. No part of the original factory complex|
survives. Although the supermarket is substantial in size it is still smaller than the factory it
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Ballito moved out in 1967 and the site became home to Marconi Instruments for a few years before the site was cleared for supermarket use: first the Cooperative Society, then Safeway and currently Morrison's. We will return to this retailer next time as land has been added in recent times.