Bush Hall

By David Gildea

I remember living in Bush Hall Cottage as it was then known, I think about 1954-56. I went to the private school in Bush Hall for a while. Across the lane was an old house occupied  by Mr & Mrs Titmuss. I spent a lot of time over there; it was an old water-driven mill as I recall built over the River Lea. I used to fish behind the mill in the river. Oh, what happy memories. That mill is never mentioned now in all that I read about Hatfield and I wonder why.

I know the house that I lived in was renovated, as I visited it in 1989 to see Mrs Titmuss and my old school, which by then was a hotel. I swear the hotel still had some of the same beds used for boarders upstairs in the cheap rooms!

I was only in Hatfield for a few years but it left a lasting impression. I was a choirboy at St Etheldreda’s Church and, after I left the private school, I went to the old school behind the Church. I think Mr Padget was the headmaster. When my father died suddenly, my mother moved me to Sussex and then to Liverpool, where I lived until emigrating to Canada, but I still have fond memories of Hatfield and especially the Mill Green area.

This page was added on 25/01/2012.

Comments about this page

  • I was at the prep school between 1961 and 1963 when news of the sheer awfulness of the academic standards finally reached my father! He perhaps could have worked out it was an odd little school when we visited it to find the boys raking hay in the fields.. I remember chilly classrooms with open fires, a teacher telling us that we might all be nuked in the Cuba missile crisis, the kindness of Mr Hutchinson (I was pleased to see a note above from his wife Monika), playing on the WW1 tank by the drive. I live in Scotland now and my train passes the edge of Bush Hall grounds, a small oasis among hideous development and overspill. It is sad to see the beautiful building being ruined.

    By Charles W (08/01/2021)
  • My family and I moved into Turbine Cottage (that’s what it is called now) this summer. It is the smaller of the two buildings at the end of the cul-de-sac across the way, east of the hotel. The larger house has a lovely family living there, it is called Bush Hall House now. The river used to run under the cottage weir room but it has not done so for a few years, I’m told the sluice gate is damaged upstream. The river still flows at the back of the orchard garden and there is a lovely pond that butts against the back of the cottage. There are sizeable carp and ducks, a kingfisher and robins a’plenty. The apples are delicious, we’ll be making a crumble this evening.
    The hotel has undergone external refurbishment and a large hotel group has taken it on and aim to have it running again next year. The plans are online and I saw artists impressions of how it will look – personally, not impressed – https://golliferlangston.co.uk/bush-hall-hatfield-extensions/ .
    We all feel very lucky to live here.

    By Rudy (04/10/2019)
  • Interesting to read all these comments. Somewhere buried deep, I have a letter on the original crested paper listing all the boys parents and their address and phone numbers.
    I too remember the above names and many more some of which are: David Solly, ( later changed to Marsh), Charles Batten, Jeremy Evans, Graham Kletz, Stephen Godshaw, Paul Vingoe, Tommy Tinner.
    They were happy days, although we didn’t actually learn a great deal!!

    By Rick Avern (13/02/2019)
  • I lived in the stable cottage behind Bush Hall School from 1957 to 1963 as my late first husband Michael Hutchinson was teaching there. Three of our children were born there and I certainly remember Mr and Mrs Titmus. Mr Titmus looked after our furniture removal when we left after the school’s closure. For some time I had acted as the matron to the boarders and remember quite a few of the boys’ names: Pieter and Nicholas Dixon, Malcolm and Melvyn Caton, David Crouch, David Goss, Robert Stephen Thurgood, brothers Willoughby, several Wright brothers/cousins (called Wright Major, Wright Minor and Wright Minimus), Sheriff and others.

    By Monika Butler (19/10/2018)
  • To Neil Toplis: been out of touch with this site for a while, just saw your reply. Your grandmother, Mrs Titmuss, used to babysit me on occasion; she was a wonderful lady. I had the great pleasure of writing to her many times after I had moved to Canada and, in 1989, had the great pleasure of meeting her again and introducing her to my family. It was something I will never forget.

    By David R Gildea (28/09/2016)
  • Hi everyone, I was looking for anything about Bush Hall as a private school. Because I was sent there about 1962-3. I have a lot of interesting memories of the place! For instance, I used to ask my parents if I could board at the weekend because we had so much fun in the grounds. The headmaster was having an affair with the French teacher who often left the class to meet up with her. We crept out of class and caught them! Many more more memories if anyone out there interested?

    By Rick Newton (19/08/2015)
  • Hi, my old email address is no longer valid, the new one is. Chrisangus1950@Gmail.com. I remember Mrs. Titmuss very well she used to give me some of her elderberry wine to taste and biscuits when I called round from across the road. A kind lady.

    By Christopher Angus (07/03/2014)
  • Hi David The old house you refer to is called Turbine House and Mr & Mrs Titmuss were my Grand Parents, although the house belonged to Lord Salisbury and was given to them to live in as they had both worked on the estate. I loved staying with my Grandparents in that mill and catching ‘tidlers’ as we called them in our fishing net

    By Neil Toplis (28/12/2013)
  • Hi David, so surprised to see your comments about Bush Hall! I too lived in the cottage you call Bush Hall cottage, though I never knew it had a name. I am a little hazy on dates but I was at the school from its inception as it was run by my family. Prior to living in the cottage I lived in two other places on the property. one being the gate house or lodge now long since knocked down, I have lovely memories of fishing for roach on the bend in the river behind the Titmus Mill. I have a lot of bad memories from my childhood as well, so again like you my time there definately shaped my life to a large extent. Though I guess that is true for many of us .If you or any one else would like to contact me about our time there please contact me at cangus@live.co.uk. All the very best, Chris Angus.PS I rember being scared of that shelter in the back garden, its still there as far as I know, now with huge trees growing on top of it, so it must be really old.

    By Chris Angus (25/04/2012)

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