In 1929, the farmland between Abbots Langley and Bedmond was acquired by A Wander Ltd to provide fresh eggs, milk and barley for the Ovaltine Factory in Kings Langley.
New buildings were constructed which emulated the style of the farm built by Louis XVI for his queen Marie Antoinette.
The new buildings in Abbots Langley comprised the Model Poultry Farm, where 50,000 White Leghorn pullets were reared to lay eggs, and the Model Dairy Farm which boasted a prize-winning dairy herd of Jersey cows.
The cows were milked by hand in the circular milking parlour and were trained to press a button with their muzzles for running water to appear in their bowls.
Bricks made of cork lined the floors which were easy to sluice clean and also prevented injuries. Slurry was drained through gullies in the floor and pumped into tanks to be treated.
The poultry farm is now an office complex occupied by RES and the dairy farm has been converted into residential apartments.
The converted milking parlour was renamed Antoinette Court, a tribute to a queen whose fantasy farm at Hameau de la Reine (the Queen’s Hamlet) was resented by her starving subjects but whose aesthetic architectural legacy survives to this day in the grounds of Chateau de Versailles and more recently in the countryside of Abbots Langley.
For more information about the history of Abbots Langley go to the local history society’s website: www.allhs.org.uk
Picture courtesy of Pamela Rawlings