Edge Grove History

Our history was written about by Jan Adams in ‘Around Radlett’, the quarterly magazine of Aldenham Parish Council (Winter 2015).

"The earliest mention of Edge Grove seems to be in around 1236, when the Abbot of Westminster granted one acre of land at Hemphegge Grove to Symon, Chaplain of Aldenham Village.

It seems that the present house did not exist in any form until about 1740. In 1733, a Mr John Skey bought the whole site. He demolished several existing tenement properties and proceeded to build the main block of the present house. The house was known as Hem Hill Grove. John lived there with his wife, until his death in 1779. The estate was left to one of his three sons, Colonel Boughey Skey, who then sold it to a Mr Thomas Hake in c1782 to c1790; the precise date being uncertain.

Hake is said to have made many improvements to the house and grounds. Hake did not live there for very long and sold Hedge Grove or Edge Grove (both names being in use until the end of the last century) to Sir John Nicoll, or Nicholls in 1795. From 1795, several names arise, whether they be owners, leaseholders or those who rented; Fawcett, Thellusson, Marsden, Wm Nicholls, Rendlesham, Barnett. Several of these names have long associations with land and property in and around the Radlett area. Under the Aldenham Enclosure Act of 1801, seven acres of common land called Hedge Grove Green were enclosed and added to the original one acre site.

In 1884, Charles Barnett leased the property; he was responsible for many changes; building the pantries, panelling three bedrooms and the ball room, also building the block now known as Little North Dormitory and Mr Pratt’s study. In 1912, the property was sold to the banker, John Pierpoint Morgan, who owned Wall Hall. In turn, he rented it to a Mr Richard Bennett who spent about £90,000 on the house.

He added numerous wings and by so doing, converted it into the school we know today. The Clock Tower was erected in 1912, as the bell date shows with the wording ‘This clock was fixed by Alick Turner, 6 February 1912.’ The last tenant of the house was a Mr Vincent Cartwright Vickers who rented it from Pierpoint Morgan. In 1935, Vickers left the property and Edge Grove Preparatory School came into existence.

This article has been taken from notes written by Mr Harry Hart in 1969, with kind permission of his daughter, Liz Cornelissen. In his final paragraph he writes “Edge Grove has a long history. Large extensions are planned which will alter, in part, the well-loved features of today. It will certainly be very different from the day when, Symon, Chaplain of Aldenham Village, was granted a one acre of land at Hemphegge Grove in the year 1236.” Jan Adams Edge Grove School is certainly in fine shape as it has now entered its eightieth year in September. We introduced girls in the school in 2001 and our purpose-built pre-Prep building was opened in 1997 (it was formerly St Christopher’s in Radlett which then moved onto our site and became Hart House, now known as Pre Prep).

Edge Grove has an interesting past and our long history means that tradition plays its part in shaping our character. We have maintained many of our core values and it is these values that provide a strong foundation on which we are building our future."

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