Hertford in 1973 - The Bus Station, Fore Street & Railway Street
by Bryan Little
Then & Now
I am a relative newcomer to Hertford …1971; not born & breed in these parts. I am an out-comer/in-comer from Edmonton on the outskirts of Greater London. These photographs were taken circa 1973. I had acquired a new camera and I wanted to try out its capabilities.
This is how I remember the bus station at the time; a large, rambling open space with nary a bus in site. The bus stops in the centre consisted of scaffolding poles with a flat roof; no sides. They offered no protection from driving rain. As I remember, the buildings around the outside were a higility-pigility collection of old brick-built structures. The wasteland in the foreground was close to the entrance of the arcade which joined Bull Plain to the bus station.
Fore Street has not changed very much in the intervening years, since most of the frontages are listed buildings. The photograph was taken in front of the offices of Breeze & Wyles, solicitors. The Dimsdale Arms, on the left-hand side, used to be a public house. The Shire Hall overshadowed life in the centre of Hertford and the Corn Exchange was a dominating feature of Fore Street. Gaveds (on the right-hand side) was an electrical outlet store and Cousins & Sons was a furniture shop in those days. This part of Fore Street was (and still is) a one-way street. Finding a parking place was never a problem in those days. Look at the style of the cars; very different to those that park there now.
This photograph was taken from the wall of the Christ’s Hospital School looking down Railway Street. Notice that this was a one-way street at the time, as indicated by the arrows on the road. The Quaker Meeting Hall was on the left-hand side. In the distance in the centre is the crossroads which was controlled by a set of traffic lights. On the corners were a gardening, DIY & pet shop, an off- licence called The Punch Bowl and Pearce’s the bakers. Cars were allowed through the road from Parliament Square. In fact, there was a small place for parking cars outside Graveson’s, the only department store in town. Coming back on the right-hand side, were the car is parked in front of a set of scaffolding railings. This delimits the gap between two buildings, which was used for market stalls on Saturday as well as part of the bus station. Talking of markets, there was a covered market along Market Street, to the rear of the Corn Exchange. Closer on the right-hand side was a set of shop, one painted blue. This was one of the town’s fish & chip shop. Warren Place is the closest building on the right-hand side.