Blog Archives

Dancing on Ice moves to Bovingdon

The latest series of the figure skate show will move from Elstree studios to Bovingdon Airfield – a location featured in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – in a revival of the comeback series

In an exclusive with The Sun, an ITV source said that the move is an ‘ambitious plan’, but ‘bosses want to make sure they have free rein over how it [the stage] will look.’

‘Bovingdon is a great space and its filming history helps give the show some extra sparkle.’

However, this is not the first time the show has moved to a different location – viewers saw an exclusive set in the sixth series as Dancing On Ice moved from Elstree to Shepperton Studios in 2011.

The 10th series of Dancing On Ice is set to return to TV in January next year.

DANCING ON ICE – THE TOUR – Free audience tickets

Bovingdon Horticultural Society

Chairman’s report for 2016

Once again welcome to the AGM. The Society has completed a successful year with our full range of activities – Shows, Talks, Outings, Plant Sale, Winter Social Evening and for the first time a Summer Social.

The Society’s Shows are our major effort and continue to be supported by a strong following of exhibitors who achieve an extremely high standard. The Show Secretaries’ Reports provide fuller details of each show in a later agenda item. With the proceeds of the Winter Social in 2015 we purchased new display stands for use in the Shows for paintings, photographs, quilts and notices.

‘Single garage with padlock; eaves roof for additional storage. In quiet residential location in Bovingdon. £40/month. Short term or long term let. Immediately available.
Contact: Beata 07831333478.’


Our talk in February was given by Christine North on “Topiary”. This included a practical demonstration of the art and was attended by 18 people. The second talk took place in March when Graham Pavey gave us some ideas for “Vertical Gardening”, with a similar attendance.

There were 2 outings in 2016 and a third had to be abandoned. On 18th May David Kirk of the Box Moor Trust led a group of 28 around the Bovingdon Brick Works. It turned out to be a fine evening and much was learned about the wildlife on our door step. The Second visit was to Rod Pengelly’s garden in Chalfont St Giles in June. Rod’s small garden is filled with 350 rose bushes for exhibition and another 150 on trial. It was amazing to see what he has accomplished and we thank him for inviting us and passing on his tips.

The Society put up 34 baskets in the High Street, 1 more than in the previous year. The winners, as judged by Vic Coe were Fyfes, second the Memorial Hall and in third place Seaways; the presentations were made at the Autumn Show.

The Village Gates continue to be maintained by some of our members – Sue Miller, Doreen Woods, Gillian Johansson, and Lindsey Coates and we thank them for their efforts to enhance the village.

‘Bovingdon Bomber’ Cycle Circuit!

‘Bovingdon Bomber’ Cycle Circuit!

The Hemel Hempstead Cycling Club is pleased to announce The ‘Bovingdon Bomber’ Cycle Circuit! Courtesy of Drift Limits, we now have the use of a new 1km, traffic-free circuit for criterium racing and training events at Bovingdon Airfield, Hertfordshire.

We run a series of regular mid-week evening criterium races under British Cycling rules which started in May and we will also be using the circuit for specific coaching, development and training activities for both adults and children. Watch this space for more news!

This is a fantastic facility and we want to make maximum use of it for the benefit of our own club members, other local clubs and the Dacorum community in general.

Our thanks to Drift Limits and Runways Farm for making this possible.

The Hemel Hempstead Cycling Club run the Bovingdon Bomber Criterium series at it’s club track – the popular Bomber Circuit. The series is governed by British Cycling and all races are Regional C+ events with full BC points and cash prizes.


If coming by car then access is from A41 only. You need to leave the A41 at the Services (McDonalds) junction (signposted Bourne End Mills Ind Estate) and head up Upper Bourne End Lane which is off the northbound slip road.

Access by bike is through the industrial area up Bourne End Lane off the London Road in Bourne End. Head right when you get to the top of Upper Bourne End Lane. There is no access through the main Bovingdon Market entrance.

Public Access

Please note, there is no public access to the circuit outside of organised events.

The Bovingdon Bug

The Bovingdon Bug

An extract from ‘Graham Young, the St. Albans Poisoner’

By Johnny Sharp –

As it turned out, the new recruit at John Hadland Ltd. had no need to avail himself of the substances available on site. He had already been to London armed with the same fake ID of “M.E. Evans” that he had used as a teenager, and bought a new batch of “antimony potassium tartrate” (the full name by which he insisted on calling it) and thallium from a West End chemist. Within days of starting work at Bovingdon, the new boy happily accepted the job of making tea for his workmates.

The first colleague Young made friends with was 41-year-old Ron Hewitt, who was soon to leave the firm but had stayed on for a few weeks to show the new boy the ropes so he could take over his job.

Two older members of staff, 59-year-old storeroom manager Bob Egle and 60-year-old stock supervisor Fred Biggs, also befriended Young, lending him cigarettes and money for his bus fare. However, after a time Egle began to spend periods off work ill. Around the same time, Ron Hewitt developed diarrhea, sharp stomach pains and a burning sensation in the throat after drinking a cup of tea fetched by Young. The symptoms lasted a few days, but doctors could only suggest food poisoning or gastric flu. When he was well enough to return to work, though, the symptoms promptly returned, invariably after drinking tea. Over the next three weeks he suffered no fewer than twelve bouts of this mysterious illness.

Hadlands Phototronic

After leaving the company Hewitt had no further symptoms, while Bob Egle also recovered after a holiday. However, the day after returning to work, Egle’s fingers went numb, and he couldn’t move without agonizing pain. By the time he was taken to hospital, numbness had spread through his body until he was virtually paralyzed, and unable to speak. To the horror of his workmates, he died 10 days later, on July 7, 1971. The cause of death was officially bronchial pneumonia arising from an unusual type of polyneuritis known as the “Guillan-Barre syndrome.”

“It’s very sad,” said Graham to colleagues, “that Bob should have come through the terrors of Dunkirk (a crucial battle of World War Two) only to fall victim to some strange virus.” Such was Young’s very vocal concern, he was chosen to accompany the firm’s managing director to the cremation.

In the weeks following Egle’s death, the staff at Bovingdon tried to put the tragic incident behind them. Yet the rather work-shy young storeroom assistant insisted on continually musing about possible medical causes for Bob Egle’s bizarre symptoms. Then in September 1971 Fred Biggs also began to suffer the same symptoms. And he wasn’t the only one.

Young’s fellow storeroom worker Jethro Batt, 39, was made a cup of coffee by Graham one evening, but threw it away complaining it tasted bitter. “What’s the matter?” asked Young. “D’you think I’m trying to poison you?” 20 minutes later Batt vomited and felt intense pain in his legs. Fellow staff members Peter Buck and David Tilson also suffered. In the case of Batt and Tilson, their hair fell out, leaving the latter, as doctors described him, “looking like a three-quarter plucked chicken.” Young had administered various doses of different poisons among his workmates, designed to confuse doctors looking for a common cause of the complaints. These manifested themselves in a number of unlikely ways. A receptionist, Mrs. Diana Smart, complained of suffering from foul smelling feet for months, while Buck and Tilson were rendered impotent for some weeks after their initial illness. “I was going around with several girls at the time,” Tilson later related in court, “and I became useless in bed.”

Their ailments were put down to some kind of virus in the local area, which became known as “the Bovingdon Bug.” By unfortunate coincidence, a stomach bug had spread among the village children on a couple of occasions in the preceding months. Many workers speculated, just as the residents of Neasden had a decade before, that a contaminated water supply might be the cause. Others suspected radioactivity from experiments in a nearby airfield could be the culprit.

If this was the same virus that had spread among the village’s children, it had certainly assumed a virulent new form. After briefly recovering from his first experience of Young’s unique approach to coffee-making, Jethro Batt fell ill again, and after a few days he was in such pain he later said he contemplated suicide. He remained in hospital for some weeks.

Fred Biggs’ condition was the worst of the new outbreak. His condition deteriorated to the point where his skin began to peel off, and the pain was such that he could not stand the weight of a bed sheet on his body.

Even that was not serious enough for Young’s liking, it appears. “‘F’ (Fred) is responding to treatment,” he was later discovered to have written in his diary. “He is being obstinately difficult. If he survives a third week he will live. I am most annoyed.”

Young’s pessimism was misplaced. On November 19 death finally came to Fred Biggs, as merciful release.

Read more »

Top Twelve Films shot on Bovingdon Airfield

Top Twelve Films shot on Bovingdon Airfield
In the 1960/70s, Bovingdon was used in the production of four World War II films, The War Lover (1962); 633 Squadron (1964) Hanover Street (1979) and Mosquito Squadron (1969). Although flying ceased at the airfield in 1969, it was also used to film parts of the flying car scenes in the James Bond film ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’ starring Roger Moore, when the palm trees fold down as it takes off. The site was also used in the 2016 Star Wars spinoff film Rogue One, representing the planet Scarif.
On television it served as the location for at least one black and white episode of The Avengers “The Hour That Never Was”, starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg featuring Gerald Harper and Roy Kinnear as well as the 1980 Blake’s 7 episode The Harvest of Kairos as the surface of the planet Kairos. An airstrip at the airfield is also reputed to have been used in the opening credits of the 1967 television series The Prisoner in which Patrick McGoohan is seen driving a Lotus Super Seven car past the camera at speed. It has continued to be used in various TV shows up to the present day.


The War Lover (1962)
The War Lover a British black-and-white war film directed by Philip Leacock and written by Howard Koch loosely based on the 1959 novel, The War Lover by John Hersey, altering the names of characters and events but retaining its basic framework. It stars Steve McQueen, Robert Wagner, Shirley Anne Field, Ed Bishop and features a young Michael Crawford.
Plot: In 1943, Captain Buzz Rickson (Steve McQueen) is an arrogant pilot in command of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber nicknamed The Body. While stationed in England during World War II, one of the bombing missions is aborted because clouds obscure all potential targets, but Rickson ignores the order to turn around and dives under the clouds. He completes the mission, at the cost of one of the bombers in his squadron and its entire crew. Rickson revels in the fighting and destruction; when he is assigned to drop propaganda leaflets on a later mission, he makes his displeasure felt by buzzing the airfield. His commanding officer tolerates his repeated insubordination because he is the best pilot in the bomber group. Even so, when he asks the flight surgeon his opinion, the latter is uncertain whether Rickson is a hero or a psychopath. However Rickson’s crew, especially his co-pilot, First Lieutenant Ed Bolland (Robert Wagner), trust his great flying skill.

Read more on all the top twelve films on Bovingdon Airfield.