Seed Warehouse

Seed Warehouse from Mill Bridge

The Seed Warehouse houses the Mill Bridge Rooms which are owned by Hertford Town Council and can be hired by small groups for meetings.

The truth is that the Seed Warehouse is a Tardis.

You could almost walk past it, unaware of its existence down a narrow alleyway, squeezed between a newsagents and a fast food shop in Mill Bridge, almost opposite Castle Hall and next to the bus stop.

The Seed Warehouse stretches down that alleyway in Maidenhead Yard about a hundred yards or more to the left down to the River Lea.

The ground floor houses almost 90% of artefacts belonging to Hertford Museum. There is more here than in the Museum in Bull Plain. It is not open to the general public except on special ‘open days’.

On such an event take the opportunity to walk around and view things abut Hertford you didn’t know existed. My office was on the first floor and I always took advantage of those times when Museum staff were working in the stores to mooch around.

This was when I was Town Centre Manager. I had to relocate as the Museum needed space to house all the items in Bull Plain as well as staff and volunteer helpers, whilst the redevelopment of that building took place.

I was sad to leave. My office looked out over the Lea on to the Riverside decking of the Woolpack pub.

One of the tenants I introduced to the Seed Warehouse was City Water.

They worked from the top floor but before doing so cleared an inch of dust from the skirting boards and wooden beams, laid carpet, installed lighting, toilet blocks and a kitchen amongst many other improvements. The walls were re-painted heritage cream and the wooden beams stained dark brown.

The left hand photo shows kitchen mid-right and the dining area/IT space at the back. The right hand photo was taken a few yards back showing a small re-furbished office.

Unfortunately we didn’t think of taking a ‘before’ photo but here are two shots of how the top floor looked before furniture was in place.

The Directors tried to make the interior of the Seed Warehouse reflect the building’s past.

Over the front door a large reproduction of a photo taken when a World War Two bomb hit Mill Bridge was mounted against the wall with branches, an air raid siren and hopefully a defused bomb.

On the right as you walk in is a Roman corn drier preserved in a temperature controlled and air conditioned room and once again , only opened to visitors on special occasions.

There is a large antique photo enlarger set on the space by the stairs, rescued from the Museum stores.

All this may still be there. I haven’t been inside for a long time. You may ask what this is all about. Well, Chase New Homes have submitted amended plans for Bircherley Green.

They claim they are trying to re-create Hertford’s brewing past. The Seed Warehouse is but one building on the old maltings area and here were sited the wharves Chase mention.

However you will notice that these are not high rise buildings:

Adams & Co

The new plans as submitted by Chase maintain the previous height; ground floor commercial units and four floors above for apartments.

An artist impression looking south

The one interesting added feature is the false walkway between Buildings A and B. I am sure they are identical to those found in busier and more industrial locations such as the Thames where much of the barley and malt from Hertford was bound during the heady days in the nineteenth century. (see my article on Brewing in Hertford)

They do not fit too well here.

Bridges

There is not much more I can say about this planning application but to refer you to the page where you can view all the amended plans and documents and links to register your own comment:

Here is my own letter registering my objection.

The one thing I am beginning to hear more and more is that residents would have anything built rather than Bircherley Green left to rot any further.

The photos of the Seed Warehouse and Adams & co are from ‘Our Hertford and Ware’ chapter on Hertford’s Riverside Yards.

All my previous posts archived here:

By John Barber

John Barber was born in London at the height of the UK Post War baby boom. He had careers in Advertising, International Banking and the Wine Industry before becoming Town Centre Manager in his home town of Hertford. He has been writing professionally since 1996 when he began to contribute articles to magazines on social and local history. His first published book in 2002 was a non-fiction work entitled The Camden Town Murder, a hitherto unsolved murder case from 1907.