MEETINGS held in 2019 and 2020


16th January 2019


A414 strategy – bypass for Hertford? - talk then discussion


Derrick Ashley, County Councillor, Executive Member for Environment, Planning & Transport


The County Council was consulting on a potential Hertford bypass until 25 February 2019. It was looking at this option as part of a wider strategy to upgrade the capacity of the A414, with a southern route as the preferred option.  The issue of whether or not to have this bypass is still a ‘live’ one among decision-makers, and Councillor Ashley was keen to hear how people in Hertford respond to this proposal - the meeting was open to the public. A report of the meeting, and the views of the committee, can be found on the HOME page of this website.


6th March 2019


Portrait of a Hertford marriage: the Cowpers at the Castle


Clare Gittings, historian


This talk with slides was based on the extensive diaries that Sarah, Lady Cowper, kept in the early eighteenth century. The voices that emerge, often raised in argument, are recognisably all too human. Our lecturer is Clare Gittings, who gives talks to a wide range of local groups. 


24th April2019


AGM: Committee and Treasurer's Reports, Election of Officers, followed by:


Discussion led by panel: Hertford’s last 50 years: for better or for worse?


A panel of speakers with knowledge or experience of different aspects of Hertford life will give their views on the changes that have affected the town, and we will then have a more general discussion, enabling every to offer their person views. One good reason for focusing on the last half century is that the Civic Society is 50 years old in 2019, and our discussion might help us to reflect on our future, and the town’s.


8th May 2019


Essex coach trip: Templar barns, Coggeshall and winery


First: two of the most amazing medieval barns in Europe, at Cressing. They are like wooden cathedrals (built by the Templars), though they do need some explanation. We had a guided tour of the barns, plus farm and walled Tudor garden. Second: in the middle part of the day a visit to Coggeshall, one of the most delightful old villages in the County.  Plenty of places for lunch. These include Paycocke’s House, ‘one of the most attractive half-timbered houses in England’ (Pevsner), more of which has recently been opened up; a National Trust house and garden, it comes complete with coffee shop. Aside from lunch, there was enough time to visit at least one historic place, perhaps Grange Barn (National Trust, you can picnic here in wet weather, joint ticket with Paycocke’s House) or the church where many Paycockes are buried.


Third: at the end the day a visit to Bardfield winery. Just outside the beautiful village of Great Bardfield (favoured by such 20th century artists as Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious), there is a winery even lovelier than Dedham Vale – complete with a Grade 1 listed Tudor barn (Anne of Cleves retired to the manor here after her marriage to Henry VIII was annulled). There will be an opportunity taste some of the wines, all organic. Alternatively, cups of tea or coffee.  


Sunday 30 June 2019


Summer party, near Port Hill, Hertford


This was the Civic Society’s birthday bash, as were 50 years old in 2019. We were fortunate to have been invited back to hallowed ground on the side of Port Hill, where founder Alan Melville lived and where, lower down the hill, Jane and Harold Chaplin were our main hosts. We had the run of a pair of linked gardens on a series of different levels. There is even a terrace with a seat presented to the Melvilles at the Society’s 20th anniversary. This seat rests on paving graced with delightful hand-cut lettering which reads, in conclusion, ‘Enchanting garden where the sun smiles on a hundred delicate friendships’. Perhaps that says it all, though there is also an eco-house under construction, which we were able to inspect. And there was of course be some music (Brendan Dowse jazz singer/pianist), given we were  the guests of a very musical household.  




What is wanted for Bircherley Green?








Click here to play Event Video

Read the ideas for the town here, and for Bircherley Green here, both of which are summarised here


20 November 2019


Achieving the best contemporary architecture in and around East Herts,


Andrew Goodman, local architect


Andrew has a strong interest in sustainable design. In Hertford, his recent projects in the public eye include the foyer extension to Hertford Methodist Church in Ware Road and the St Andrew’s Centre for the church of that name. He talked about leading examples of contemporary architecture locally, and about some of the difficulties faced by architects in this area, in creating good modern buildings.   




Wednesday 22 January 2020 – 8.00 p.m.

Hertfordshire County Council have adopted a Local Transport Plan and an A414 Corridor Strategy. An important feature of both is the idea of “Sustainable Travel Towns” - in key towns along the A414 corridor and across Hertfordshire as a whole. “Comprehensive packages of schemes and behaviour change initiatives aimed at achieving a significant modal shift to non-car modes and reduction in single occupancy car use” are to be prioritised.
“Such packages could feature improved cycling, walking and passenger transport infrastructure and service levels, in combination with initiatives such as travel planning and marketing.”
“The detailed criteria for any settlement being included in the Sustainable Travel Towns programme will be subject to further local discussion to ensure that they have the support of key stakeholders and the wider community.”

Hertford Civic Society, in partnership with the Town Council, East Herts Council and other organisations, is seeking to help enable Hertford to become a “Sustainable Travel Town”.
Stephen Joseph, expert in /campaigner for sustainable transport at the national level, will talk about lessons that can be learned from other places.
We need improvements of this kind in Hertford - so do come to hear the suggestions of an outside expert, and to join in the discussion.



See slides. Hear the speaker clearly


Speakers' slides:  click here





‘Few counties are as interesting as Herts’: revising Pevsner’s Hertfordshire
Lecture, Wednesday 18 November
Initially, James Bettley will tell the story of how Nikolaus Pevsner came to write the Buildings of England series, which has continued to evolve and be revised. Our lecturer was responsible for the new edition (the third one) of the Hertfordshire volume, published in 2019.  He explains the process of bringing this volume up to date, and talks about the wealth of exciting buildings in the county. He is a veteran of this process, having also revised the Suffolk ‘Pevsner’. A good communicator, he is High Sheriff of Essex for 2019-20.



Malcolm Ramsay: malcolm.ramsay789@btinternet.com; tel 01992 500002 (no ansafone); Dunkirks Farmhouse Southside, Queens Rd, Hertford SG13 8BJ.