1884 – Rustic beginnings

Imagine a gently sloping grassy field strewn with cowpats, weeds and broken branches, on the left side of what is now the Shenley Hill end of Williams Way. An old lodge house stands on today’s junction of the two roads, and half a mile away along the stately drive lies the Newberries mansion and its outhouses.

All around are fields and trees, acres of them, stretching down a long steep slope to the London Midland Railway below, which arrows its way through the Radlett valley. Dotted here and there are the big houses whose owners daily commute to London on the steam trains. In between are much smaller dwellings rented by farming folk who make up the bulk of the population – about 360 souls in all.

Everything has humble beginnings. In 1884 that field became Radlett Cricket Club for the next 37 years – a period which saw steady growth in the size of the village, four years of bitter war which stopped everything, and then the resurrection of the club, which subsequently moved to Porters Park in 1928 and then to Cobden Hill in 1938.

Five local men – including the vicar, the schoolmaster and two wealthy land-owners – were the force behind Radlett’s beginnings. They got permission from Sir Francis Head, owner of Newberries, to use his field off Shenley Hill.

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