Altham Court

By Susan Hall

de Havilland Flats
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

This photo shows one of the three blocks of flats that were built in the 1930s opposite the de Havilland Company. This one is Altham Court.

The flats were demolished in the 1970s. 

This page was added on 14/11/2011.

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  • We lived in altham court from 1970 to 1973, we had 3 boys the flats were large as we were in the corner we then moved to st Audrey’s close now live in Spain

    By Mr&mrs keating (24/01/2024)
  • Sheila,

    Betty and Debbie (‘Dolly’), we’re my Dads first cousins. Betty remained in Hatfield in her lovely marionette on Bishops Rise all the rest of her life. She worked at Fine Fare ( remember that shop chain?) for a good few years among other places. She led a great life, travelling a lot – long before it became commonplace.

    Dolly won ‘Miss Dr Havilland’ in 1964 – did you know her then? I think it was 2 or 3 years later she emigrated to Boston in the USA where she married and had a daughter. She had lived there ever since.

    By Kevin O'Connor (16/05/2022)
  • My best friends Betty and Debbie Sugure they lived at Rodney Court top floor on the left of the budding we all worked at de Havilland in the 60s

    By Sheila Shears Greenall (25/01/2021)
  • I lived in a flat share with Des Knox in Haddon Court as a student at the Polytechnic in about 1977/8. A student housing cooperative had been set up by Robin and his girlfriend Sheena Mooney. So many of the condemned blocks had student occupants with free furniture regularly obtained from house clearances and many student community parties! Great times!

    By Barry Snelgrove (08/12/2020)
  • To view an image of Michael Andrew’s painting ‘Flats’ a depiction of Altham Court visit

    By Christine Martindale (15/01/2020)
  • Further to Carmen Gerano’s post in 2015 about Michael Andrews’ painting of Altham Court, titled simply ‘Flats’ and in the Arts Council Collection. In an essay in the Michael Andrews Tate catalogue, 2001, William Feaver writes: “Cycling up the Great North Road through Hatfield on his way to Digswell in 1958-9, he [Andrews] was drawn to some blocks of flats, a pre-war development with lapsed pretensions to chic. The lettering of the sign, Altham Court’, he noticed, had been eaten away. Flats’ 1959 is a location seen from the point of view of a passing cyclist, pedalling slowly, imagining himself a cameraman securing a travelling shot, hardly noticing the rebel spirits (bikers astride Lambrettas rather than Triumphs) intermittently revving up. A for Sale board came and went on the wasteground beside Altham Court fire escapes. ‘The bloody builders,’ Andrews complained to Jeffery Camp, ‘have levelled my entire middle distance’.”

    By Nicholas Sack (14/01/2020)
  • Does anyone remember Joy Catherine from number 22, Altham Court? Get in touch please.

    By Beverley (19/08/2019)
  • I remember going to a barbecue outside one of the buildings in the summer of 1983, just after finishing a degree course at the Polytechnic. There was still someone living at the Courts, probably the last person or one of the last people to do so, because by then all the buildings were uninhabited. They were due to be demolished, along with a number of houses along the nearby main road.

    By Tim Barrow (29/07/2019)
  • I remember Cumberland Court as the home of my boyfriend Colin Blunstone (yes he of Zombies fame) . We met there in the 50s to play tennis in the road outside the flats. We were 11 years old!

    By Helen Constance (Inwood) (02/07/2019)
  • My mother and father owned (I think) 2 or 3 flats in Rodney and Althan court, some of the men from de Havilland’s were lodgers. I was born in 1949 and spent 14 years there which I remember as a very happy time. I was into cowboys and Indians in those days so a ride on the milk cart pulled by a horse is a memory that has stayed with me for ever. My father worked at Hatfield Laundry.

    By Stephan Vyse (15/03/2019)
  • I lived at 17 Altham Court ’til I got married.

    By mavis wilkinson (09/06/2018)
  • My great uncle lived at 17 Rodney Court. He was a draughtsman at De Havilland for many years – Bill Ellwood. Would be delighted to hear if anyone remembers him. He died in the 1970s.

    By Jo Faulkner (28/01/2018)
  • I lived in Altham court from 1950 to 1963 at no.14 until I got married in 1963. My grandparents lived at no.20 and my Aunt  lived at Cumberland court.

    By elizabeth wood (21/08/2015)
  • The artist Michael Andrews made a painting of Altham Court in 1959, which is in the collection of the Arts Council of GB. You can see it online here:
    [Could someone supply the correct link? This one is broken – Ed.]

    By Carmen Gerano (31/07/2015)
  • Although I did not live here, I certainly knew of it because I had a girlfriend there (I believe it was Rodney Court). We were not allowed in the flat so spent our time on the stairs !!

    By David Irvine (25/01/2012)
  • I lived in the top flat, No. 15 under the word COURT, from 1940 to 1947. It had two bedrooms, an open fire, and hot water was supplied to all the thirty flats from an oil-fired boiler in the basement. At the rear were narrow balconies and external iron staircases to provide rear access and storage area for coal. As a child I sometimes climbed onto the roof, or descended into the basement, much to the annoyance of the resident caretaker, Mr Hudson. I believe the flats were built in the mid-thirties, and John Cunningham, the test pilot, lived in one of the blocks for a while. One of our immediate neighbours was John Scrope, another de Havilland flyer, who died in 1943 with John de Havilland in a collision between two Mosquitoes on a test flight near Hatfield. From our elevated position we sometimes saw a red glow in the sky in the direction of London – fires from bombing. One day the sky was filled with aircraft towing gliders which I think were on their way to Arnhem. We saw much flying activity from de Havillands and witnessed many maiden and test flights of new aircraft. There was also, in about 1943/4, a constant low whistling drone from the factory. No one seemed to know what it was and it was rudely known as ‘the whistling ****hole’ ! It was, in fact, the testing of the secret jet engine.

    By David Hills (12/01/2012)
  • There were four blocks of flats, Altham Court, Rodney Court, Cumberland Court and Haddon Court.

    By Frank Cox (14/12/2011)