Sightseeing in Hertford

This is a sight you vey rarely see on Folly Island. No cars!

Old Hall Street traffic free

I don’t think anyone has ever seen Old Hall Street completely free of traffic. It is not a mirage or a clever bit of Photoshopping.

Residents of Folly Island were asked to park elsewhere on Tuesday February 16 (photo taken at 9.56am) so that a full street cleansing operation could be completed. Always happy to oblige.

April is the cruellest month

T S Eliot was wrong. February isn’t too great either.

I bought my daughter some perfume as a Christmas present from Paul Martin Perfumery in Maidenhead Street.

Paul Martin Perfumery

I often pop in to say hello and was shocked to be told that they had been there for 40 years and that the shop would be closing. Here is the proof. So sad – another long standing trader gone. I often remarked to various traders: soon, you’ll be the last man standing. That time is getting closer.

Empty properties along Railway Street

Sorry about the scaffolding lorry but Clock Cards as was, out of picture – now painted a delicate shade of Flamingo pink.

Another four shops closed and empty awaiting building work to install apartments above. As I have often remarked on this blog the area from Old Cross, Maidenhead Street and Railway Street was always designated in the East Herts Local Plan as being for A1 Prime Retail. What happened.

Awaiting tenants

Turn the corner into Market Street and the retail unit that was briefly Adoro has now been renovated but as yet no tenant. As everyone has remarked how wonderful the ironwork and glass panels are; and much talk about who was Gilbertson & Page. A little bit of Hertford history uncovered; I hope it will be incorporated into the new unit.

Then opposite another body blow.

Barclays Bank

Barclays Bank will close on February 25th. No one likes Banks and few people actually go inside one anymore but it will be another hole in the retail landscape.

Even more surprising photo .. bollards

New bollards in Railway Street (courtesy

Story here from

In 2005 and 2007 I compiled a database of all Hertford town centre retail, office and light industrial units. The empty percentage was about 3% well below the national average. We are catching up the rest of the country.

February is the cruellest month.

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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.