By the middle of the nineteenth century, most of Boreham Wood’s farmland consisted of enclosed fields surrounded by hedgerows. Many of the enclosed farm fields had been given names, such as ‘Straw Meadow’ and ‘Two Acre’, these were often shown on land sale maps of that era.
The two main local landowners were Lord Aldenham and the Earl of Strafford. The Church of England also had a significant holding, and they owned Whitehouse Farm.
Whitehouse Farm dated to the 18th century and originally spread over 200 acres. After the railway became established in the area, the population grew and as new industries were introduced more houses and roads were required, Drayton Road
being the first in Boreham Wood. Developers began buying plots of land, mainly off of Shenley Road
and Whitehouse Farm began to shrink. Road building off the north side of Shenley Road
reached by 1918 as far to the east as Clarendon Road
Between the wars, the founding of the film studios and work starting on the Laings estate off Elstree Way, resulted in large areas of farmland being lost. Even so, during World War Two, farms were utilised to their limit, with many other open spaces being put to agricultural use.
Postwar, the London County Council needed land to house London’s ‘population overspill’ and made a compulsory purchase of Laing’s land off Elstree Way, as well as farmland to the east
of Theobald Street
. Other farms which disappeared after this include Manor, Cranes, Oak, Bullbaiters (Bullhead) and Thrift. All of these are remembered with a road name. Among others that were lost were Tilehouse, Theobald, and Hilltop
By the 1950s, the Whitehouse estate was no longer farmed and had shrunk down to about four acres.