|The sink hole in High Street Green, Hemel Hempstead, 2017|
|Oatridge Gardens, 2014|
Two years ago I gave a posted "Forgotten" St Albans Brick Pit Rediscovered, followed a year later by What lies under Bernards Heath - and posted the slides of my talk "Brick Pits and other old holes" on the main web site.
The notes for the talk also included brief details of another hole that appeared in Oatridge Gardens, Hemel Hempstead, in 2014. which was also due to building on the site of a former brick pit which had been infilled - almost certainly with local town rubbish. See Hemel Hempstead sinkhole ‘may have been caused by building homes on former clay pit’ and Sinkhole latest: Landlord defends decision to build Hemel Hempstead homes on former clay pit. The later reference included the following
A life-long Hemel Hempstead householder has fuelled speculation that the sinkhole near his home may have been caused by building on former clay pits and chalk mines. Noel Swinford, 78, said they lined Wood Lane End between its junction with Briery Way, where he now lives, and Maylands Avenue. He said he used to play in them as a child. He said: “There must have been 50 or 60 of them holes along that road and them houses should never have been built there. “There were also big mines underneath there, where they mined the chalk. “I have lived here all my life, for 79 years nearly, and used to play in that area when I was a kid. I remember seeing trucks of chalk being taken out of the mines – that would have been in the late 1940s. “It was not an operational brickworks then – it was just used for taking out chalk.”
Another hole, 14 metres deep, appeared in nearby High Street Green in May this year and current estimated suggest that the road may be closed for about 5 months - Sinkhole in Hemel Hempstead may leave road shut for another two month. The new hole is in the road north of the Saracen's Head on the 1897 OS map, while Oatridge Gardens is in the area of the brickworks shown to the east of the Saracens Head. The depth of the hole suggest that, like some of the other collapses, the problem could be due to a very deep well or a shaft into a chalk mine.
See also The Leverstock Green Brickfields