Cuffley Industrial Heritage Society

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This is an area of Welwyn Garden City were I used to live and had an interest in. It is to the north east of the town and takes its name from a large house and grounds called Panshanger House slightly further to the east. The area was added to WGC during the 70's and 80's on the remaining land between the industrial estates and the River Mimram. Between the current Panshanger and the ex Panshanger house is a plateau which is an ex WW2 areodrom

1698 Thomas Savery, a Devon man, was the first to combine the force of steam and the pressure of the atmosphere. He was granted a patent in 1698 for "Raising water by the impellent force of fire". Savery's "engine" comprised a boiler and a receiver. Steam from the boiler filled the receiver. Cold water poured over the receiver condensed the steam causing a vacuum. Atmospheric pressure forced water up a suction pipe connected to the receiver, which became full of water. Steam from the boiler at pressure blew the water out of the receiver up a delivery pipe and also refilled the receiver with steam. The cycle was then repeated. Valves were fitted in pipes to control the steam and to prevent the water, which was being raised, from going the wrong way. In time the boiler became empty. To refill it with water meant drawing the fire and relieving the boiler of its pressure.

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Panshanger Areodrome

Started life in WWII as a "decoy aerodrome" with a hangers and facilities made by film set experts, complete with dummy aircraft, cars, smoking chimneys and deliberate 'black out leaks'. Those measures were aimed at diverting German bombers away from Hatfield with its large aircraft factory and other nearby industries. It was so successful, that many of our own pilots landed at Panshanger by mistake! In the early forties RAF Elementary Flight Training School was based in Panshanger and real buildings began to replace the canvas and scaffolding dummies. In the early fifties the RAF had pulled out and the aerodrome become a fairly active civilian facility

Panshanger House & Estate

The 400ha Panshanger Park lies north of Hertingfordbury and was designed in 1801 by landscape architect Humphrey Repton. More recent owners, the Desborough family, sold up by auction, in 1953. In 1954 the mansion was dismantled after a fire and the parkland purchased by a gravel company and is currently owned by Lafarge. Some windows and main doors from dismantled mansion were used in 1955 to build the Evangelical Church Hall in Fulling Mill Lane. Fortunately the "King of the Park" the Great Oak of Panshanger can be still found in what were formerly the Pleasure Gardens of Panshanger. The oak has a preservation order on it and it is said to be over 500 years old, possibly the oldest in England.

People Associated with the Park

William Atkinson, AWilliam Atkinson, Architect, - 1773-1839 Lancelot Brown, Garden/Landscape Designer - 1716-1783 Humphrey Repton, Garden/Landscape Designer - 1752-1818 John Adey Repton, Garden/Landscape Designer - 1775-1860 Samuel Wyatt, Architect, - 1737-1807

The remains of the house from 2000. Before the area was taken over by LaFarge it was possible to get into the restricted areas with the local manager. Remains of the main house

Remains of the conserveratory

Remains of the orangry

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