ALDRIDGE, Fishpool Street, St Albans, 19th century

April, 2003


St Michaels

St Albans

This page has been archived - no further updates  - see Mothballed Pages

Bev Shakespeare (ken_bev @t of New Zealand, posted an enquiry about Henry Drake Aldridge on the list and in responding I noticed that Aldridge family had been associated with a number of one-time public houses in Fishpool Street, St Albans, and I decided to investigate.

Information comes from the 1851 transcription and 1881 census CD, and Pigot's and Post Office/Kelly directories, with references to George Sanctuary's book on Fishpool Street

The Unicorn, Fishpool Street

The following comes from the 1851 census:

Aldridge, Elizabeth widow 45 Licenced Victualler Nazing, Essex
Aldridge, Henry son 20 Carrier St Albans
Aldridge, John son 16 Bakers Apprentice St Albans
Aldridge, William son 14   St Albans
Kitchener, William lodger 55 Blind Ampthill, Beds
Munt, Jesse lodger 23 Agricultural Labourer St Albans
Brandon, John lodger 21 Agricultural Labourer Unknown, Kent
Wiles, George lodger 25 Gardener St Albans
Lunnon, Joseph lodger 18 Agricultural Labourer St Albans
Munt, Elizabeth lodger 21 Hat Maker St Albans

The occupations of the lodgers (all unmarried) suggests that this was a common lodging house. The 1881 census shows a similar pattern of lodgers, the publican being John Chapman. This public house has now closed but is identified as 192-194 Fishpool Street in Gerald Sanctuary's Fishpool Street.

1826 Pigots Directory: Unicorn, Ts. Brewer, St Michael's

1834 Pigots Directory: Unicorn, John Aldridge, Fishpool Street

1851 Post Office Directory: Aldridge, Mrs Elizabeth, 'Unicorn', St Michael's

1866 Post Office Directory: Chapman, J., Unicorn, Fishpool Street.

Gerald Sanctuary reports that it closed in 1916.

August 2003

David Brewer (davidgbrewer @t of York writes that Thomas Brewer,  Inn Keeper of the Unicorn, is his ancestor. He is recorded at the Unicorn in Pigots directories of 1823 to 1829. His wife was Grace and the IGI (familysearch) shows that his son Alfred was christened in St Michael's church in 1824.

The Green Man, Fishpool Street

1823/4 Pigot's Directory: Green Man, J. Aldridge, Fishpool Street

1839 Pigots Directory: Green Man, Joseph Aldridge, Fishpool Street

1851 census:

Aldridge, Charlotte Head, Married 57 Publican's Wife Hoddesden
Aldridge, Charlotte Daughter 23   St Albans
Aldridge, Richard Son 21 Butcher St Albans
Aldridge, Joseph Son 21 Butcher St Albans
Bedford, Ann Servant 15 General Servant St Albans

1851 Post Office Directory: Aldridge, Joseph, 'Green Man', Fishpool Street

1855 Post Office Directory: Aldridge, George, pork butcher and beer retailer, Fishpool Street [Needs checking against other records]

1862 Post Office Directory: Houssell, Joseph, 'Green Man' Fishpool Street

[It was near the Abbey end of Fishpool Street, and is not mentioned by Gerald Sanctuary. This may be because it is listed as 2 Rome Land Hill (a continuation of Fishpool Street) in the 1882 Kelly's Directory. It is not listed in 1912]

82 & 160 Fishpool Street

1855 Post Office Directory: Aldridge, Henry, chandler's shop, Fishpool Street

1862 Post Office Directory: Aldridge, Henry, baker, Fishpool Street

1866 Post Office Directory: Aldridge, Henry, baker, Fishpool Street

[Street numbered by this date]

1870 Post Office Directory: Aldridge, Henry, baker, 82 Fishpool Street

1878 Post Office Directory: Aldridge, Hy Drake, baker, Fishpool Street

1881 census:

Aldridge, Henry Drake Head, married 50 Baker St Albans
Drake, Joseph Boarder, Unmarried 77 Retired Farmer Naazing

In 1882 H. D. Aldridge had a chestnut cob for sale - see Old news - Classified Ads 1882

1882 Kelly's Directory: Aldridge, Henry Drake, baker, 82, & Black Lion, Fishpool Street

1886 Kelly's Directory: Aldridge, Henry Drake, baker, 82 Fishpool Street

1890 Kelly's Directory: Aldridge, Henry Drake, baker, 82 Fishpool Street

1898 Kelly's Directory: Aldridge, Henry Drake, baker, 160 Fishpool Street

The move from 82 to 160 may have been due to redevelopment as Gerald Sanctuery writes "Next there is a terrace of Victorian cottages, Nos. 82-90, built with purple bricks, and standing high up from the pavement. They were built in the 1890s, and today change hands for sums of money which would have astonished people who lived in them only 30 years ago." [i.e. in 1955].

He says about No 160: "On the other side of the street, Nos. 158 to 168 are very old, and have 16th century overhangs. You will notice that some recent owners have added new doors and other pieces of street furniture. There is another Sun Insurance Company plate on No. 160. No. 166 has a Tudor arched doorway, but the door is of much more recent origin." The Insurance plate comes from the time when insurance companies employed firemen - to save their customers' houses from fire - and the plates identified houses to be saved!

No. 160 is a listed building.

Black Lion, Fishpool Street 

1866 Post Office Directory: Goodspeed, William, Black Lion, Fishpool Street

1878 Post Office Directory: Goodspeed, Elizabeth (Mrs), Black Lion, Fishpool Street

1881 census:

Aldridge, Harriett Head, married 52 Publican & Bakers Wife Polesworth, Warwickshire
Aldridge, Elizabeth Daughter 15   St Albans
Aldridge, William Son 13   St Albans
Finch, William Lodger, married 49 Agricultural Labourer St Albans
Slow, Sarah Lodger, married 30 Dressmaker Leverstock Green
Slow, William Lodger 10 Scholar Leverstock Green
Slow Emealia Lodger 6 Scholar Leverstock Green
Slow, George Lodger 4m   Stevenage
Higgins, Antony Lodger 66 Agricultural Labourer Mayo, Ireland

1882 Kelly's Directory: Aldridge, Henry Drake, baker, 82, & Black Lion, Fishpool Street

1886 Kelly's Directory: Slaughter, George, Black Lion P.H., Fishpool Street

This is No. 198 and was built in about 1700. It is first recorded as a public house in 1792. It is still open. It is listed in Hertfordshire Inns & Public Houses and is a listed building. It was the last house in Hertfordshire to be listed as a common lodging house.


The following definition of a common lodging house comes from the online 1911 Encyclopedia project.

COMMON LODGING-HOUSE, “a house, or part of a house, where persons of the poorer classes are received for gain, and in which they use one or more rooms in common with the rest of the inmates, who are not members of one family, whether for eating or sleeping” (Langdon v. Broadbent, 1877, 37 L.T. 434; Booth v. Ferrelt, 1890, 25 Q.B.D. 87). There is no statutory definition of the class of houses in England intended to be included in the expression “common lodging-house,” but the above definition is very generally accepted as embracing those houses which, under the Public Health and other Acts, must be registered and inspected. The provisions of the Public Health Act 1875 are that every urban and rural district council must keep registers showing the names and residences of the keepers of all common lodging-houses in their districts, the situation of every such house, and the number of lodgers authorized by them to be received therein. They may require the keeper to affix and keep undefaced and legible a notice with the words “registered common lodging-house” in some conspicuous place on the outside of the house, and may make by-laws fixing the number of lodgers, for the separation of the sexes, for promoting cleanliness and ventilation, for the giving of notices and the taking of precautions in case of any infectious disease, and generally for the well ordering of such houses. The keeper of a common lodging-house is required to limewash the walls and ceilings twice a year— in April and October—and to provide a proper water-supply. The whole of the house must be open at all times to the inspection of any officer of a council. The county of London (except the city) is under the Common Lodging Houses Acts 1851 and 1853, with the Sanitary Act 1866 and the Sanitary Law Amendment Act 1874. The administration of these acts was, from 1851 to 1894, in the hands of the chief commissioner of police, when it was transferred to the London County Council.

See also The Inns & Public Houses of St Albans  in the 19th Century

It would be interesting to know if there is a link with ALDRIDGE, Welwyn & Barnet, 1820-1882