Birchwood Nursery

By Christine Martindale

Birchwwod Nursery 1947
Hatfield Library
The Nursery in 1943
Illustrated Magazine Aug 14 1943
The Nursery in 1997 just before demolition

This nursery was situated on the corner of Birchwood Avenue and Chelwood Avenue Birchwood, Hatfield, and may well have been set up to look after very young children during WW2, enabling women to go back into work and help with the war effort.

The “Review This Weekend”, July 24th 1987, published an interview with Jean Rawling (née Dent). Jean, who lived in Birchwood, had worked at the Nursery for most of her working life, starting in 1942 straight from school. The then opening hours were 7am-7pm and Saturday mornings. The staff were required to wear a uniform.

In 1948, the County Council took over the Nursery. The buildings, which were meant to be temporary, stayed until the 1990s. In 1991, Hertfordshire County Council applied to close the Nursery and give planning consent for residential development. But it was not until 1996 that work started on a replacement nursery situated in the grounds of Salisbury Infants and Gascoyne Cecil Junior School in Birchwood Avenue.

This page was added on 07/12/2014.

Comments about this page

  • I attended the Nursery from Autumn 1957 until December 1959. At first mornings I had a green Bag on the scissors peg the afternoon kids had blue bags. The following September I went full time . Loved the caravan & the little camp beds . I had a strawberry as my peg marker & there was a strawberry on my blanket

    By Jyll Beckford (nee Marsh) (25/02/2020)
  • Hi I went to Birchwood Nursery in the early 60s. My mum had a child seat on the back of her bike and she used to cycle from Roe Hill Close to the nursery before going to work. Then my grand mother who lived in Burnside Close, used to pick me up. I don’t remember much….the building was beige and red, and I do remember the slide . Nice times.

    By David Seaton (24/10/2019)
  • Hi Debbie, yes I remember the little shop next to The Hopfields Pub, we lived in the ground floor flat in Talbot rd, next door in a council house was the family called the Flitneys one of the little kids set the house alight lol not funny but it was then as mrs flitney had all her kids line up on the path whilst she slapped each of their legs as no one would own up to who did it.
    I also remember going to sunday school in a prefab type building next to st michaels church, even went when I had chicken pox lol, loved getting my sunday biblical stamp, funny how I can remember all those things even though I was 4yrs old at nursery and only 7 -8 in Talbot rd,

    By jill (19/03/2018)
  • My goodness 1960’s I went to Birchwood Nursery school, also Cranbourne, Gascogne Cecil and Onslow. Opposite the nursery there was a shop called The Cooks. I think it was a little hardware shop. I remember the Co-op and the green grocers. Drapers the sweet shop next to the alley. I used to buy black jacks, sherburt Dibdabs and Jamboree bags. Not all at once. I lived in Talbot Rd and Farm Way. I loved the park at the far end of Longmead Rd. I too used to go scrumping. Do you remember the little shop next to the Hopfields pub? I remember badly scratching my arms rescuing a doll ( which I loved ) from a thorny bush near the park and riding my bike on what we used to call the Downs near the Jack Oldings toy factory.

    By Debbie (09/03/2018)
  • I went to Birchwood Nursery around that time. I remember out teacher used to read us a story before home time. If we were quite we were allowed to stroke her Bassett hound that would sit at her feet while she read to us. Also remember triangular toast and milk in small tetrahedron shaped carton on a winters morning. My coat peg had a picture of a fish as did my camp bed. We used to have to have a nap after lunch. I never could go to sleep. My name was Debra Riley

    By Debbie Beswick (09/03/2018)
  • oops me again, Does anyone remember a little boy called Richard Thornicroft he is the only child I can remember not sure if he went to the nursery though
    I was known as Patsy. I remember the Co op abt 1960 in BIRCHWOOD AVENUE AND the lovely little greengrocers where I wld buy three pennies worth of bruised fruit for school and go next door to the sweet shop for some pink prawn sweets black jacks and fruit salads loved the smell of that sweet shop and the ting a ling of the bell on the door. we sused to play with Jacks and a little ball or do skipping or go scrumping for apples. I used to visit an old lady in her prefab and we wld sit drinking hot chocolate the Shredded Wheat factory was down the road and if I saw a dog I was so scared I would walk miles around it to get back home
    MY BROTHER USED TO SIT AT HOME WITH HIS MATE Donovan PLAYING THEIR guitars Donovan went on to become a famous folk singer and my brother a fab executive top chef. not bad for poor kids eh proud of them
    by jill

    By jill (29/08/2017)
  • I went to the nursery from 1956 until I went to cranbourne, I remember the gypsy caravan that was in the gdn and we played in it, I refused to eat my greens as they made me reach and the teacher put me in the book c00orner so I ran home! she came for me on her bicycle with a basket on the front, I hid under my mums bed ! I also remember the canvas beds and stickers on the clothes pegs like a ship or umbrella always loved the gypsy caravan so my husband built me one .
    my mum did a moonlight flit from Hatfield and we all ended up in Brighton we lived in Talbot rd and also Aldykes and Corner fields, I played a lot in the REC
    I also remember the sunday school was next door to st michaels church jill nee shephard

    By jill (29/08/2017)
  • I went here before Cranbourne. I remember little beds with covers with pictures. My favourite bed had the anchor.

    By Heather Saxby (21/06/2017)
  • I went to this nursery in 1964 before starting at Cranborne infants. I remember the wooden slide; we used to hide underneath it. Think the Sunday school was held here too? On your birthday, they brought out a wooden board with candles on for you to blow out.

    By Trudi Obee (05/07/2012) (05/07/2012)

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