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overdraught

Park Street, Hertfordshire

Park Street is a village in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

Location

Park Street is situated approximately 2½ miles south of St Albans along the Watling Street, the old Roman road from London to Chester and Holyhead. It lies south of the A405 North Orbital Road and on Watling Street. To the south-east is Frogmore and Colney Street, to the south-west and on the other side of the M25 is Bricket Wood, to the west is How Wood and to the north-west is Chiswell Green.

To the east and south-east of the village lies the disused Handley Page aerodrome. This is currently (2007) being exploited for gravel extraction by Lafarge Aggregates. The land is involved in a local dispute about a Rail Freight Terminal planned to be built on a vast area of land, which includes plans to refresh the village.

The A405, A414, A5183 (formerly A5, Watling Street) and the M10 motorway join at Park Street Roundabout. This was featured for many years in the road signs section of the Highway Code.

Railway station

Park Street railway station is the first station after St Albans Abbey on the St Albans Branch Line. The train service on this line is known locally as the 'Abbey Flyer'. The railway was built in 1858 as a branch line from the London & Birmingham Railway, and Park Street station has been on its current site since 1890. Before being moved to its current position, on Watling Street, it was situated just near Hyde Lane off Park Street Lane, near the current How Wood station.

There was another railway line, built in 1866, which linked the above London and North Western Railway branch line to St Albans, to the newly constructed Midland Railway's main line from Bedford to St Pancras, at Napsbury. It was not a passenger line, just a goods line; it was not in use for very long and was closed by 1910. This line was called the Park Street Branch and was operated by the Midland Railway. Beyond the bridge over the River Ver this line crossed what became the Handley Page aircraft factory runway. This runway was in use until the mid 1960s for the maintenance and testing of the (nuclear) V bomber fleet.

The bridge over the road near Sycamore Drive was demolished between 1910 and 1950 (date as yet unknown) after being damaged by a giant propellor being delivered to the Handley Page aircraft works. It is still possible to see some of the bridge brickwork here which is just by 'The Overdraught' pub. The Railway Bridge over the River Ver at the back of Sycamore Drive still survives, but this is no longer accessible to the public. This bridge is very high compared to the small amount of water that now runs under it. The bridge over the Recreation Ground path was demolished in the late 1960s.

Schools

Park Street has two primary schools, Park Street Church of England Primary School and How Wood Primary School

The nearest secondary school is Marlborough School, near the 'King Harry' public house in St Albans.

Public houses

There are three pubs in the village: 'The Falcon', 'The Overdraught' and 'The Red Lion'. Park Street Football Club, although not a pub, also has a bar.

There used to be five other pubs in the Park Street/Frogmore/Colney Street area: 'The Swan' in Park Street closed in 2008. 'The Red Cow', which closed 2001/02, and 'The Lamb', which closed in the early 1970s, were both in Frogmore. In Colney Street there used to be three pubs: 'The Black Horse' which was demolished in 2003; The George and Dragon which closed in the early 1990s; and The Jolly Farmer, only a few doors away from the George and Dragon, which closed in the 1930s.

'The Overdraught' used to be called 'The White Horse'.

Until the early 1970s, 'The Lamb' was situated opposite the entrance to Handley Page aircraft factory. Once the factory closed the last landlord couldn't make a living and, so legend has it, he and his wife closed the pub, locked themselves in and drank the pub dry before being ordered out by the brewery.

Shops

Park Street (excluding How Wood) is quite well served by shops.

As you enter Park Street from the north, from the roundabout on the A405, there is a BP petrol station which also contains a Marks & Spencer Format shop. Further along the road, under the railway bridge and on the left, is a Sub Post-Office. Further along still, past the Mill and near the traffic lights, is a newsagents and convenience store run by the same man who also owns the Off-Licence on the opposite side of the road. To the right, in Park Street Lane, is Park Street Guns gunshop

Other businesses in Park Street include the MOT Test Centre opposite the Gun Shop, Park Street Tyres, which is between 'The Red Lion' pub and Frogmore Homes Park. BT also have an exchange just opposite this.

Parks

Park Street has three parks: the Recreation Ground on Park Street Lane, Mayflower Road, and Frogmore Lakes, to the south of the village just past the gravel pits, which is popular for fishing.

Landmarks

The main landmark in the village is a Mill, which was converted into offices in 1984. During the conversion an old World War II bomb was found in the "Old Smithy's" garden.

There is also a Village Hall, which is situated in Oliver Close. Built in the 1920s, it is now a bit dilapidated, and for a few years now locals have been campaigning and speculating about building a new Village Hall. This is the local polling station.

Next door to Park Street Football Club is a cricket pavilion.

Frogmore Church was called Frogmore Abbey back in 1900-1910 (ish) in order to make it sound grander. People would travel by charabanc from the Bricket Wood amusement parks to see it, and it was featured on many postcards under the heading of "Frogmore Abbey".

There is also a Baptist Church, situated on Penn Road, just before you enter the How Wood Estate.

Fairhaven Flats were built in the 1960s; but before the flats were built a double-cavity walled house stood on the site, also called Fairhaven. This was the first double-cavity walled house in the village and was built, lived in and owned by a man called Mr Tansley, who also owned a shop, since turned into offices. The shop was commonly known by the locals as "Duck Yer Nuts", as the doorway was very short and you needed to duck your head to save it from being hit.

Park Street on screen

The James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies is the most famous film associated with Park Street. It was partly filmed at the Film Studios opposite Frogmore Caravan Park on Watling Street.
These studios were later used by a German TV Shopping Channel but they went bankrupt in 2002/2003, and the studios and factories have now been demolished (February 2008) and the site has been developed as housing.

The Gun Shop in Park Street Lane was briefly featured in a Michael Winner film Dirty Weekend.

The public toilets were also shown briefly in the On The Buses film.

Part of an episode of BBC's drama Silent Witness was filmed in one of the flats near the newsagents.

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