Fore Street, Hertford

I do not send Christmas cards. All those people I would wish to send a card I see during the course of a normal week and wish them a ‘Merry Christmas ‘ when I do. You can now buy 20 cards and sometimes more from many High Street retailers but the cost of a first class stamp is now more than 60 pence thereby making the postage far greater than the message.

I still receive plenty of cards from people who care to maintain the tradition. I am always grateful to receive a card from my local County, District and Town Councillor Peter Ruffles. The card is printed from one of his own photographs of Hertford in years gone by. I treasure these cards.

This year the card was of Railway Street circa 1960 (top right) but what really caught my eye was the large white painted wall alongside the market that advertised ‘John Barber’. I am sure there was no motive behind the choice of this card but I am not the John Barber in question.

There used to be an even larger impression of my name above the shop on the corner of Old Cross but this has now been painted over and a local solicitor signed in my place. Actually the name belongs to John Barber (Hertford) Ltd who was and still is a local agricultural supplier of feeds and seeds but not based in the town any more.

I am grateful to Rod Lewis (formerly of Hertford Graphics, St Andrew Street) for posting this photo of the old fascia ( right) where John Barber used to be and is now The Women’s Society in St Andrew Street, and before that Wiggingtons.

This morning one of the local estate agents pushed through a postcard offering their services and on the front was a black and white photograph of Fore Street in Hertford taken in 1922.

Last year Peter sent his ‘congregation’ a card with a photo of Fore Street taken in 1962. I added one taken from exactly the same spot but in 2010. All three are re-printed (right) and if you look closely enough you will find that the clock on the side of Shire Hall is almost the same time on each photo.

Not much has really changed in Fore Street; Shire Hall was rebuilt in 1989 and the style of transport has changed. Many of the shops have changed hands and in 1922 you can just make out the name ‘Dimsdale’. This was the Dimsdale Arms and now Pizza Express.

Fore Street 1922 – you can just see the figure of Ceres, Goddess of the Harvest on the top of the Corn Exchange (right). This was removed during the second world war as a potential hazard in case of bombing. The time is 11.55am.

Fore Street 1962 – the time is 11.30am and car parking is free.

Fore Street 2010 – taken at 11.30 am but by 2011 there was no such thing as free parking in Hertford’s car parks.

Railway Street c1960
Railway Street c1960
John Barber at Old Cross
John Barber at Old Cross
John Barber signage at The Women's Society
John Barber signage at The Women’s Society
Fore Street 1922
Fore Street 1922
Fore Street 1935
Fore Street 1935
Fore Street 1962
Fore Street 1962
Fore STreet 2010
Fore Street 2010