On 9th September, 1911, the Hemel Hempstead Gazette published an article on Hemel Hempstead's first directory, which appeared in Peter Barfoot and John Wilkes' Universal British Directory of trades, commerce and manufacture, ..." This was published in about 1797 but the Gazette dates it as 1792. The Gazette reproduces the text of the directory and comments:
I have checked the names with the lists of inscriptions compiled by Mr R T Andrews [A number of the surnames show variations in spelling and I have grave doubts concerning the accuracy of several of the Christian names] and where possible give dates of death and age in a footnote.
The list printed in the Gazette is reproduced on the following pages. together with notes to explain the occupations mentioned.
Town description, Gentry, etc.
Notes on Occupations
The order of traders in the original was only approximately in alphabetical order, but has been sorted into precise order here.
The (F) stands for "Freeholder".
The dates of death and ages given by Mr Andrews have been added alongside the directory entry Some have been checked against the National Burial Index and agreement noted. The identity of Mr R.T. Andrews is not known, but in 1908 there was a Thomas Andrews, greengrocer, at 128 [later 225], Marlowes. The whereabouts of his memorial inscription transcript is also unknown.
The Directory mentions 11 taverns by name and there are two unnamed Inns. The two inns are almost certainly the Kings Arms (41 High Street) and the Rose and Crown (19 High Street) both of which are still operating. The Bell (51 High Street) and the White Hart (30/32 High Street) are also still in business. The Boot (9 High Street), Cock (23 High Street), Half Moon (24 High Street), Royal Oak (107 High Street) and Swan (29 High Street) now find other uses. The Six Bells was nearby, on Bury Road, near where the roundabout on the Leighton Buzzard Road had now been built. The Queen's Head was at Cornerhall, about a mile south of the High Street, while the second Swan was probably the one in Boxmoor. The Green Dragon is a mystery - it could be the Green Dragon, Flaunden, listed under Hemel Hempstead in the 1839 Pigot's directory, (which listed a number of taverns in the surrounding villages) but it is hard to see why it was included when the Bell at Two Waters, an important staging post on the main Sparrows Herne turnpike road, was not included.
Notes are provided on the occupations mentioned. Where appropriate or helpful these are exact quotations from Ann Fisher's "An Accurate new Spelling Dictionary, and Expositor of the English Language" Third Edition, published London & Newcastle, 1777. Other definitions are based on entries an edition of Dr Webster's Unabridged Dictionary published in about 1870, unless another source is given.
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