20 November 2019, Wednesday, 8 pm start


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 will talk about leading examples of contemporary architecture locally, and about some of the difficulties faced by architects in this area, in creating good modern buildings.   


Evening meetings are usually held in the Roman Catholic Church Hall, 23 St John's Street, Hertford SG14 1RX, starting at 8 pm.  Tea, coffee, and biscuits are available before the start.  Non-members may attend but are asked to pay £2 at the door. 



FURTHER EVENTS  We hope to have another event towards the end of 2019 (or, failing that, in early 2020), focusing on Bircherley Green. It would be good to hear about the progress of this huge development. Assuming this event takes place, we will use email (for those whose addresses we know) and flyers in the library and other public places, to inform everybody.




MEETINGS IN 2019 which have already taken place


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 elsewhere on this site..


 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 April, Wednesday, 8 pm start


Brief 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, Wednesday, 9.00 am to 6.30 pm


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, from 12.45 pm


Summer party, near Port Hill, Hertford


This was the Civic Society’s birthday bash, as we will be 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 will be the guests of a very musical household. Plentiful free parking just over the road at Hartham.


The tickets were be priced at £10 providing that they are purchased more than two days in advance (thereafter £12.50, and no admission without a pre-reserved ticket). 






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