The Mill Pitts
Sand was dug out of this pit and a convoy of lorries took it to Henlow Aggregates were it was sorted and refined. The lorry drivers used to take us kids to the Sand works on the main road to Henlow and back for a ride . I remember getting thrown all over the place on the very rough tracks. Old man Carlisle would soon come and chase you off of the Sandies if you strayed off the footpath . But we still used to swim in there when we could get away will it. The kids used to say that he shot at us in the late 50’s early sixties , but I’m not sure about that . Ducks and Coots used to nest there on the little sandy islands.The Sandies was situated after the second Mill pitts bridge as if you were walking towards Henlow Camp.It is all filled in now. I was told that the Sandies was actually brimming with fish in the 70’s when some locals stocked it with fish.
Arlesey Pitts . or the Blue and the Green Lagoon.
I have a whole blogg on Arlesey Cement Works which is integral to the Blue Lagoon and the Green Pit. This company made these pits by digging out trucks of clay with a steam excavator , then cable pulling them down to the Cement Works. My great Granddad big Jim Allen , my grandad Herbert Allen , and Great Uncle Ranjisinghi Allen worked there until it closed in the 30’s.My Aunty Jean Allen (Hazel) Crawley used to ride up to the Blue Lagoon on the empty clay trucks after taking Ranji his lunch down the Cement works. I recently interviewed her when I was writing a blogg about Great Uncle Ranji Allen. She told some great stories about the Sunday Angel weekday devil.Fred Vass also told me if there was an empty Cement Works truck left on the tracks , the local boys used to take turns riding in it while the others pushed it up and down the tracks to Arlesey Pitt. The clay was dug out of the green Pitt by hand and they were lots of Arlesey Pitt workers locked in the Picking position unable to straighten their backs.When I was a boy loads of village people used to swim in there. I swam across at least half a dozen times. There used to be a really warm section of water and it was lovely swimming in that , then you would come across an ice cold section , I think this could have caused much stronger swimmers than me to be drowned up there. I only used to almost float then hardly use any energy at all to propel myself across when it was dead calm on red hot days. I used to get a mate to come across with me on my lilo incase I got cramp. Loads of Young Americans from Chicksands used to swim up there. They arrived in the MGB sports car with loads of cans of beer. They threw the beer in the Pit to keep cool the stripped off and started swimming. We were too young to drink in those days 1967.
Portland Silo , Old Cement Works
During war the site which included the Old Cement Works was used for munitions Storage and an Italian Prisoner of War Camp.This included an Old Silo , and when the old silo was finally dismantled for development the bomb disposal squad was called in to make the area safe. I think the railway Lines between Hitchin and Arlesey Counties was shut for days. The ordinance was taken to the Lagoons to destroy and frequent explosions could be heard from the village. It took three months to make the area safe. The site was developed for industrial units and was called the Portland Industrial Estate. The area where the silo stood has since been renamed The Crossways Estate.During the War the Army used the Pitt as a firing range. Targets were put on rafts in the water.
The wife Carol Lombari
The Blue Pond
This was really good for fishing , even I used to be able to pull fish out of there. This was situated in the middle of the village over the tip and when you got to the brickyard you went down the track to the left of it , parallel to the Railway lines. It had some steep banks and I remember a young girl sliding in , she went under 3 times before an older boy Jim Bowskill (JUBILEE CRESCENT)held the other end of his fishing rod over her. She managed to grab it , and they pulled her out. I don’t know if she ever told her mum how she got wet. I’m sure I used to go potato picking with my mum in the fields around there. Course this is filled in as well now. I remember Don Clegg “Tuby” being the tractor driver. When I John Hayes was a lad Tubby Cleg used to work for Farmer Webb,John used to work in the farm with Dennis Hughes on Saturdays and Tubby used to let them plough with the tractor. They also used to clean out the pigs and go muck spreading as well. The farmer that had these fields could have been Lionel Walker , Jim Webb or Wilson. There were loads of farmers in those days. I have another blogg about working on the land in Arlesey from the 40’s onwards.