Fosters Farm (The Aubreys Hotel)
Orignally, this was Fosters Farm. It is a 16th and 17th century timber framed building, a farmhouse and a barn. It had a tile roof and there were four bays, constructed in the late 16th century. The chamfer, stopped beams to the ground floor left, suggest that this part of the building was a dwelling. The rear walls exhibit some close studwork.
In 1851 at the time of the Census fosters is recorded as having between 140 and 150 acres.
The house to the left was built in the 1920’s in a mock Tudor style and was called The Aubreys. It was built by the Dunn family, who were London hat makers, with links to the straw hat makers of Luton.
The company was founded by Mr Dunn in 1886, a Quaker, who began selling hats on the streets of Birmingham and developed a string of high street stores, totalling 200, forty years later. He also held the franchise to sell hats in Harrods. Mr Dunn was a modern thinker. He was the first man in Britain to own a combine harvester. Before he died in 1939 he also opened a vegetarian hotel. Before he died, he set up a trust to own and run the company by a workers co-operative. A selection of his hats 1900 – 1920’s.
During The War, The Aubrey’s was used for a short time as a holiday centre for children from Bethnal Green. During this time there was a very well-known warden called Miss Ivy Street – she definitely run the place, with her warm personality. She was very popular with the people of Redbourn. When she died she was buried in St Mary’s Church in Redbourn.
The Aubrey Cup was donated to the Hertfordshire Football Association by Mr. Arthur Dunn. One of the conditions of the donation was that the Cup Final should be played in the Silk Mill Meadow. The Redbourn Team, played in the 1934 Final.
In the 1960s the property was developed into a hotel. It was well known for its outdoor pool which was always busy in the summer months with local families. During the 70s and 80s Aubrey Park used to host medieval themed parties in the original restaurant called ‘The Osler’s’.