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About Hemel Hempstead

Hemel Hempstead



 

Hemel Hempstead is a large new town in Hertfordshirein the East of England, 24 miles (38.6 km) to the north west of London and part of the Greater London Urban Area. The population according to the2001 Census was 81,143, but now[when?] is estimated at around 90,000 byHertfordshire County Council.

Developed after World War II as a new town, it has existed as a settlement since the 8th century and was granted its town charter by King Henry VIII in 1539. It is part of the district (and borough since 1984) of Dacorum and theHemel Hempstead constituency.







History



Origin of the name


 

The settlement was called by the name Henamsted or Hean-Hempsted, i.e. High Hempstead, in Anglo-Saxon times and inWilliam the Conqueror's time by the name of Hemel-Amstede. The name is referred to in the Domesday Book as "Hamelamesede", but in later centuries it became Hamelhamsted, and, possibly, Hemlamstede.[2] In Old English, "-stead" or "-stede" simply meant a place, such as the site of a building or pasture, as in clearing in the woods, and this suffix is used in the names of other English places such as Hamstead and Berkhamsted.

Another opinion is that Hemel probably came from "Haemele" which was the name of the district in the 8th century and is most likely either the name of the land owner, or could mean "broken country".

The town is now known to residents as "Hemel" however before The Second World War locals called it "Hempstead".

The town has given its name to the town of Hempstead, New York. Immigrants from Hemel Hempstead migrated to the area which is now Hempstead, New York, including the surrounding areas such as Roosevelt, in the late 17th century.[

 

 

 

Early history

 

 

 
The Norman church of St Mary's(1140)



 

Remains of Roman villa farming settlements have been found at Boxmoor andGadebridge which span the entire period of Roman Britain. A well preserved Roman burial mound is located in Highfield.

The first recorded mention of the town is the grant of land at Hamaele by Offa, King of Essex, to the Saxon Bishop of London in AD 705. Hemel Hempstead on its present site is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as a vill, Hamelhamstede, with about 100 inhabitants. The parish church of St Mary's was built in 1140, and is recognised as one of the finest Norman parish churches in the county.The church features an unusual 200 feet (61 m) tall spire, added in the 12th century, one of Europe's tallest.

After the Norman conquest, Robert, Count of Mortain, the elder half-brother ofWilliam the Conqueror, was granted lands associated with Berkhamsted Castlewhich included Hemel Hempstead. The estates passed through several hands over the next few centuries including Thomas Becket in 1162. In 1290 John of England's grandson, the Earl of Cornwall, gave the manor to the religious order of theBonhommes when he endowed the monastery at Ashridge. The town remained part of the monastery's estates until the Reformation and break-up of Ashridge in 1539. In that same year, the town was granted a royal charter by Henry VIII to become a bailiwick with the right to hold a Thursday market and a fair on Corpus Christi Day. The first bailiff of Hemel Hempstead was William Stephyns (29 December 1539). Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn are reputed to have stayed in the town at this time.[8]

Unusually fine medieval wall paintings from the period between 1470 and 1500 were discovered in some cottages in Piccotts End, very close to Hemel Hempstead in 1953. This same building had been converted into the first cottage hospitalproviding free medical services by Sir Astley Cooper in 1827.

In 1581, a group of local people acquired lands – now referred to as Box Moor – from the Earl of Leicester to prevent theirenclosure. These were transferred to trustees in 1594. These have been used for public grazing and they are administered by the Box Moor Trust.



 

18th to mid-20th century



 

 
Hemel Hempstead Old Town



 

Hemel's position on the shortest route between London and the industrialMidlands put it on the Sparrows Herne Turnpike Road in 1762, the Grand Junction Canal in 1795 and the London and Birmingham Railway in 1837. However it remained principally an agricultural market town throughout the 19th century. In the last decades of that century development of houses and villas for London commuters began. The Midland Railway built a branch line, theHarpenden to Hemel Hempstead Railway, connecting to its mainline atHarpenden in 1877. Hemel steadily expanded, but only became a borough on 13 July 1898.

During the Second World War ninety high explosive bombs were dropped on the town by the Luftwaffe. The most notorious incident was on 10 May 1942 when a stick of bombs demolished houses at Nash Mills killing eight people. The nearby Dickinson factories which were used to produce munitions, were the target.






New town


After World War II, in 1946, the government designated Hemel Hempstead as the site of one of its proposed New Townsdesigned to house the population displaced by the London Blitz, since slums and bombsites were being cleared in London. On 4 February 1947, the Government purchased 5,910 acres (23.9 km2) of land and began work on the "New Town". The first new residents moved in during April 1949, and the town continued its planned expansion through to the end of the 1980s. Hemel grew to its present population of 80,000, with new developments enveloping the original town on all sides. The original part of Hemel is still known as the "Old Town".

 

 

 
Marlowes shopping centre and pedestrianised high street






Hemel Hempstead was announced as candidate No 3 for a New Town in July 1946, in accordance with the government's "policy for the decentralisation of persons and industry from London". Initially there was much resistance and hostility to the plan from locals, especially when it was revealed that any development would be carried out not by the local council but by a newly appointed government body, the Hemel Hempstead Development Corporation (later amalgamated with similar bodies to form the Commission for New Towns). However, following a public inquiry the following year, the town got the go-ahead. Hemel officially became a New Town on 4 February 1947.

The initial plans for the New Town were drawn up by architect Geoffrey Jellicoe. His view of Hemel Hempstead, he said, was "not a city in a garden, but a city in a park." However, the plans were not well received by most locals. Revised, and less radical plans were drawn up, and the first developments proceeded despite local protests in July 1948. The first area to be developed was Adeyfield. At this time the plans for a double "magic" roundabout at Moor End were first put forward, but in fact it was not until 1973 that the roundabout was opened as it was originally designed. The first houses erected as part of the New Town plan were in Longlands, Adeyfield, and went up in the spring of 1949. The first new residents moved in early 1950.

At this time, work started on building new factories and industrial areas, to avoid the town becoming a dormitory town. The first factory was erected in 1950 in Maylands Avenue. As building progressed with continuing local opposition, the town was becoming increasingly popular with those moving in from areas of north London. By the end of 1951, there was a waiting list of about 10,000 wishing to move to Hemel. The neighbourhoods of Bennett's End, Chaulden and Warner's End were started. The Queen paid a visit shortly after her accession in 1952, and laid a foundation stone for a new church in Adeyfield – one of her first public engagements as Queen. The shopping square she visited is named Queen's Square, and the nearby area has street names commemorating the then-recent conquest of Everest, such as Hilary and Tenzing Road. This conquest is also celebrated in the name of a pub in Warners End – the 'Top of the World'.




 

 
Riverside, extension to the Marlowes shopping precinct opened 2005






The redevelopment of the town centre was started in 1952, with a new centre based on Marlowes south of the old town. This was alongside a green area called the Water Gardens, designed by Jellicoe, formed by ponding back the River Gade. The old centre of the High Street was to remain largely undeveloped, though the market square closed and was replaced by a much larger one in the new centre. The former private estate of Gadebridge was opened up as a public park. New schools and roads were built to serve the expanding new neighbourhoods. New housing technology such as prefabrication started to be used from the mid-50s, and house building rates increased dramatically. Highfield was the next neighbourhood to be constructed. The M1 motorway opened to the east in 1959, and a new road connecting it to the town was opened.

By 1962, the redevelopment of the new town as originally envisaged was largely complete, though further expansion plans were then put forward. The nearby United States Air Force base of Bovingdon, which had served as the town's de factoairport, reverted to RAF use at this time, continuing as an active military airfield until 1971. A campus of West Herts College, the library, new Police station and the Pavilion (theatre and music venue) were all built during the 1960s. The town seemed to attract its fair share of celebrity openings, with shops and businesses opened by Frankie Vaughan, Benny Hill, Terry-Thomas, and the new cinema was opened by Hollywood star Lauren Bacall. The last of the originally-planned neighbourhoods, Grovehill, began construction in 1967. However, further neighbourhoods of Woodhall Farm and Fields Endwere later built as part of the extended plans.

Like other first generation new towns, Hemel is divided into residential neighbourhoods, each with their own "village centre" with shops, pubs and services. Each neighbourhood is designed around a few major feeder roads with many smaller cul-de-sacs and crescents, intended to minimise traffic and noise nuisance. In keeping with the optimism of the early postwar years, much of the town features modernist architecture with many unusual and experimental designs for housing. Not all of these have stood the test of time. A significant issue was how to choose names for all the new roads. Many areas of the new town used themes e.g. fields, birds, rivers, poets, explorers, leaders, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Buncefield fire in December 2005



 

In 1974, the government abolished the Borough of Hemel Hempstead and the town was incorporated into Dacorum District Council along with Tring and Berkhamsted. The first chairman of that council was chairman John Johnson (1913–1977). In the 1980s, Dacorum District Council successfully lobbied to be recognised as the successor for the Royal Charter establishing the Borough of Hemel Hempstead and thus regained the Mayor and its Aldermen and became Dacorum Borough Council. The political atmosphere of the town has changed significantly. Once a Labour Partystronghold, the town has seen an increase in Conservative Party voting in recent years, and the current Member of Parliament, Mike Penning, is Conservative.

At the 2001 census, Hemel Hempstead was the most populated urban area inHertfordshire, narrowly more populated than its traditionally "larger" rival, Watford.

In December 2005 a series of explosions and fires at Buncefield oil depot was regarded as the largest in peace-time Europe.





 

 

Geography

 
Aerial view of Hemel Hempstead



 

Hemel Hempstead grew up in a shallow chalkland valley at the confluence of the rivers Gade and Bulbourne, 27 miles (43 km) north-west of central London. The New Town expansion took place up the valley sides and on to the plateau above the original Old Town.

To the north and west lie mixed farm and woodland with scattered villages, part of the Chiltern Hills. To the west lies Berkhamsted. The River Bulbourne flows along the south-western edge of the town through Boxmoor. To the south lies Watford and the beginnings of the Greater London conurbation. To the east lies St Albans, a historic cathedral and market town and now like Hemel Hempstead, part of the London commuter belt. Possibly the best view of Hemel Hempstead in its physical setting is from the top of Roughdown Common, a chalk hill to the south of the town, at TL 049 055.

Neighbourhoods


 

Post-war 1950s housing typical of Hemel Hempstead New Town. Kiln Ground, Bennetts End.




 

The grand design for Hemel Hempstead newtown saw each new district centred around a parade or square of shops called a neighborhood centre. Other districts existed before the newtown as suburbs, villages and industrial centres and were incorporated into the town.

 

 





Developments since the new town


 

 
Apsley Lock Marina on the Grand Union Canal, Hemel Hempstead




 

Jarman Fields was previously agricultural land. The developments, including that of the adjacent McDonalds restaurant were built on land originally donated to the town for recreational purposes. Land had also been reserved for a hotel, but still remains derelict. Replacement open space was created to the east of the town, near Leverstock Green, Longdean Park and Nash Mills.

The first phase of recreational facilities, which opened in 1978, was the Loco Motion Skate Park. Subsequently, it became a dry ski slope with a small nursery (Jack & Jills) next to it. Both areas were removed to make way for The Snow Centre which opened in 2009. A Tesco superstore was built in 1994, which was later expanded into a Tesco Extra and was the first to be built with natural light let in. The Leisure World complex opened in 1995. The Odeon Cinemas complex had eight film screens and is currently operated by Empire Cinemas.

In addition to the cinema inside Leisure World there is an ice rink (Planet Ice, originally Silver Blades) and a Pizza Hut. It also included Toddlerworld (play area) until it was closed. Other facilities that were opened included, a water park (Aqua Splash),ten pin bowling (Hotshots), a Burger King, a small bar with snooker and pool tables and a large arcade next to it, and night clubs (Lava and Ignite, previously Visage & Ethos). They closed in 2011 except Aquasplash and Hotshots. This was due to their parent Luminar Leisure going into administration. Aquasplash closed in early 2014 to make way for new developments.

In 2012 plans were submitted by the landlords Capital & Regional to redevelop the site. It proposed a collection of family friendly cafes & restaurants, with Aquasplash closing down, with a brand new play area, gym, and bowling alley with the ice rink and cinema. The Leisure World complex would be demolished as soon as the new unnamed project is completed. This was expected to begin construction in summer 2012 and be completed in early spring 2013. However, no developments took place for a couple of years. The ice rink was also proposed to close, a move seen as controversial by many locals. But after a lengthy campaign from activists, the ice rink was saved. Finally, in July 2014, demolishment of the old nightclubs and the Aquasplash began. The restaurants soon to be residing at Jarman Park include Nando's, Coast To Coast, Chiquito, Frankie And Benny's and Hungry Horse. The new complex is expected to be open for December 2014. The ice rink, Pizza Hut and cinema continue to run whilst construction goes on.

There is also an athletics track used by the local sports group Sportspace that opened in 1996, with a small children's play park next to it. It is also used by local schools for sports days. The most recent facilities, which opened in July 2011, is an extreme sports centre called XC, which contains a skate park, caving, climbing walls, high ropes, a café and counselling rooms for young people. It is co-run by Youth Connexions and Sportspace, and was built on land for a small park.

The former John Dickinson Stationery mills site, straddling the canal at Apsley, was redeveloped with two retail parks, aSainsbury's supermarket, 3 low rise office blocks, housing, a mooring basin, and a hotel. A further office block was also built. Some buildings have been retained for their historic interest and to provide a home for the Paper Museum.

An indoor shopping mall was developed adjacent to the south end of the Marlowes retail area in 1990, and in 2005 the Riverside development designed by Bernard Engle Architects was opened, effectively extending the main shopping precinct towards the Plough roundabout. The new centre includes several outlets for national retailers including Debenhams,Starbucks, Waterstones, and more. These two developments have moved the "centre of gravity" of the retail centre away from the north end of Marlowes has become an area for secondary outlets. Further extensive redevelopment of the northern end of Marlowes was also given the green light in 2007 and has now been completed.

Isle of Man-based residential developer Dandara have redeveloped the old Kodak headquarters into an exclusive block of flats, with a new bridge to go with it.

Since the 2005 Buncefield fire the former Maylands Avenue factory estate, badly affected by the fire, has been rebranded as Maylands Business Park and a 40-tonne sculpture by Jose Zavala called Phoenix Gateway placed on the first roundabout off the M1 to symbolise its renewal.

The now disused mill site at Nash Mills has been redeveloped to build housing and community facilities, it retains some historic buildings and uses various watercourses as amenities.



 

 

Commerce, industry and agriculture


 

Historical

 
Hemel Hempstead Old Town, with the spire of St Mary's Church, founded in 1140.




 

Historically, the area was agricultural and was noted for its rich cereal production. The agricultural journalist William Cobbett noted of Hemel Hempstead in 1822 that "..the land along here is very fine: a red tenacious flinty loam upon a bed of chalk at a yard or two beneath, which, in my opinion, is the very best corn land that we have in England."By the eighteenth century the grain market in Hemel was one of the largest in the country. In 1797 there were 11 watermills working in the vicinity of the town.

The chalk on which Hemel is largely built has had commercial value and has been mined and exploited to improve farmland and for building from the eighteenth century. In the Highbarns area, now residential, there was a collapse in 2007 of a section of old chalk workings and geological studies have been undertaken to show the extent of these workings.

In the nineteenth century, Hemel was a noted brickmaking, paper manufacturing and straw-plaiting centre. In later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Hemel was also a noted watercress growing area, supplying 1/16 of the country's national demand – following development of the New Town, the watercress growing moved to nearby Berkhamsted and Tring. The cress beds were redeveloped as the modern-day Water Gardens.

Joseph Cranstone's engineering company was founded in 1798, and was responsible for much of the early street lighting in the town as well as it first gasworks. It became the Hemel Hempstead Engineering Company and stayed in business untilWorld War II . In 1867 Cranstone's son built a steam powered coach which he drove to London, but which was destroyed in a crash on the return journey. A local Boxmoor pub commemorates the event.

In 1803 the first automatic papermaking machinery was developed in Hemel by the Fourdrinier brothers at Frogmore. Paper making expanded in the vicinity in the early nineteenth century and grew into the huge John Dickinson mills in the twentieth.

A traditional employer in the area was also Brock's, manufacturer of fireworks. The factory was a significant employer since well before World War II, and remained in production until the mid-1970s. The present-day neighbourhood of Woodhall farm was subsequently built on the site.

From 1967 to 1983, it was home to one of the most remarkable newspaper experiments of recent times, when the Thomson Organisation launched the Hemel Hempstead Evening Post-Echo. This comprised two evening papers – the Evening Echoand the Evening Post – and was based at a modern headquarters in Mark Road which had previously been used as a hot water bottle factory. The dual operation was conceived by Lord Thomson of Fleet to take on the Northcliffe and Beaverbrook domination of the London evening paper market and tap into what he saw as a major source of consumer advertising.

The papers were remarkable not only for technological innovation but also journalistic excellence. Both the Evening Echoand Evening Post won design awards during the late 1960s and early 1970s, but it was the Evening Echo that took the major writing honours, with John Marquis being voted Provincial Journalist of the Year in 1974 and Melanie Phillips being named Young Journalist of the Year in 1975.

Many outstanding journalists worked on both papers during their heyday, with several going on to be editors and leading Fleet Street figures. Unfortunately, the operation fell victim to the freesheet revolution of the 1980s, the titles closing in 1983 with the loss of 470 jobs.

Significant historic local firms:

Present day





 

 
The Phoenix Gateway sculpture at the entrance to Maylands Business Park commemorates theBuncefield fire.


 

Hemel Hempstead has a mixture of heavy and light engineering companies and has attracted a significant number of information technology and telecommunications sector companies helped by its proximity to London and the UK motorway network. However, (and again in common with many new towns) it has a much narrower business base than established centres, particularly Watford and St Albans.

Significant firms with a local presence include:

Transport

 

 


 
Hemel Hempstead railway station is on the West Coast Main Line, on the western edge of the town.


 

In 1798 the construction of the Grand Junction Canal reached Hemel Hempstead. Now part of the Grand Union Canal, it is a popular route for narrowboat pleasure craft and is maintained by the Canal & River Trust.

Hemel Hempstead railway station is located a mile south of the town centre inBoxmoor. It is on the West Coast Main Line and there are frequent services between London Euston and the Midlands operated by London Midland, with additional direct services to South Croydon via the West London Line operated by Southern.

A railway station previously existed in the town centre, known as the Midland Station, on the former Nickey Line to Harpenden. This station closed to passenger services in 1947 (along with the line) and it was demolished in 1969.

The Hemel Hempstead bus station is situated in Waterhouse Street. In 2013 Dacorum Council announced that the bus station will be demolished and replaced with a new bus interchange next to the Marlowes Shopping Centre on Bridge Street. The project is due to be completed by September 2014.

In the 1990s the A41 dual carriageway was built to the south and west of the town across the upland chalk plateau. Hemel Hempstead is also linked to the M1 motorway to the east and the M25 is a few miles to the south.

The A414 road begins in Hemel Hempstead and forms a largely dual carriageway route east west through the county of Hertfordshire to Maldon in Essex.

The A41, the West Coast railway line and the canal all follow the course of the River Bulbourne river valley.




 

Sport



 

A wide range of sports and physical activities are catered for within the town and its immediate locality. Most sports facilities in the town, and the wider borough, are provided through Sportspace (the operating name of Dacorum Sports Trust). They have operated several facilities including a Sports Centre, Swimming Pools and Running Track previously run by Dacorum Borough Council and others sited at schools, since April 2004. Dacorum Sports Trust is a non-profit company limited by guarantee and a registered charity managed by a Board of Trustees. Surpluses (profits) are reinvested into sports facilities.

Hemel Hempstead Town Football Club dates back to 1885 and now play in the Conference South. Nicknamed The Tudors, they play at Vauxhall Road in the Adeyfield area of the town; this was the site of the former sports club for the employees ofBrocks Fireworks. There are, of course, many amateur sides throughout the town.

Camelot Rugby Club is a rugby union club founded in 1919 and play in London 2 North West, a seventh tier league in theEnglish rugby union league system. The club's home ground is at Chaulden Lane, Chaulden.

In rugby league, Hemel Stags, founded in 1981, were admitted to the third tier Championship 1 in the 2013 season and now operate as a semi-professional club. In addition, rugby league is played at every senior school in the town.

Hemel Hempstead Town Cricket Club, founded in 1850, has a pitch and practice facilities at Heath Park, near the town centre. The Boxmoor Cricket Club, founded in 1857, have a ground nearby on Blackbirds Moor. At Leverstock Green, there is the eponymously named Leverstock Green Cricket Club.

A large multiple roomed indoor laser tag arena called Quasar has been located in the Marlowes since 1994.[20]

Hemel Hempstead has an indoor Snow Centre, a real snow indoor sports venue which, opened in April 2009, and offers a range of indoor snow based sports and activities.






 

 
Playing bowls at Gadebridge Park




 

Dacorum Athletic Club is based at Jarmans Park. Hemel Hempstead Bowls Club has its greens at Gadebridge Park.

Gadebridge Park also has an outdoor skatepark that was designed and supplied by local extreme sports fanatics "Hemel Skates" after earning ₤65,000 through fundraising.

Leverstock Green Tennis Club provides courts and coaching for members and other courts are available in public parks. There are private indoor facilities at Hemel Indoor Tennis Centre at Abbot's Hill School, Nash Mills.

The local authority (Dacorum Borough Council) provides the infrastructure for several of the sports mentioned above. In addition, there is a sports centre at Boxmoor and shared public facilities at a number of secondary schools, provided via Sportspace. These provide multi-purpose courts (badminton, basketball, etc.), gymnasia and swimming pools. There are also private, member only gymnasia.

There are two 18-hole golf courses just outside the south western edge of the town. One is in the grounds of Shendish Manor and the other, Little Hay is off Box Lane, on Box Moor Trust land. There was also a nine hole course (Boxmoor) also located on Box Lane. This closed in July 2011, and is now overgrown, mainly used for people walking their dogs.

Wildcards Roller Hockey Club was established in 1996 and is a non-profit making organisation run by volunteers to enable people to play Inline Hockey in Hertfordshire.

Jarman Park had a ten pin bowling alley, ice skating, and a swimming pool with slides until they closed at the end of 2013. The only 2 facilities left in Jarman Park are the XC an extreme sport centre with indoor skate boarding, rock climbing, bowls and potholing facilities. Close to Jarman Park is The Snow Centre the UK's largest indoor ski slope.

Hemel Hempstead has several swimming clubs the most notable of which is Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club, the town also has FIFOLITS Swimming club and also boasts a swimming squad Dacorum Borough Swimming Squad which brings together the best swimmers in the Borough.





 

Schools

 

There are six state maintained secondary schools in the town:

There are also independent (fee-paying) schools in, or adjacent, to the town:

In addition there is a West Herts College Campus based in the town centre.

In 2006, the local education authority has judged that there are too many primary school places in the town and has published proposals to reduce them. The options involved school amalgamations and closures. A list of schools taking children of primary age is at Primary schools in Dacorum.

 

 

 

 

 

Art and photograph gallery



 

For a full list of public art works see List of public art in Hemel Hempstead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemel_Hempstead


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