Arriving in Hertford
By Gavin Henderson
The first time I visited Hertford was in August 2005 when I was interviewed for my job at County Hall. It was a seasonably warm day and I arrived at Hertford North railway station, stupidly early, with only the vaguest idea of how to find the County Council Headquarters. I remember walking into the centre of town via St Andrews Street. I took an instant liking to the mix of late medieval and Georgian architecture of the place and thought “Yes. I could work and live in a place like this”. I had masses of time to kill before the interview so I stopped in the Wash for a cup of tea at the Glasshouse café. I sat there with my mug of tea and snickers bar stifled by my second best suit and the hot sun beating through the glass roof of the café. I’m sure my mouth was drier after the tea than before it.
I love the County Hall building. The design and the quality of the materials used are so much of the period. This photograph originated with the County Architect’s department and finally found its way to the archives in August 2006. The building looks quite new and the familiar trees and hedges have yet to be planted. Although pencil annotations on the back of the photograph date it to 1939 the presence of the ‘jelly-mould’ Morris Oxford, among the pre-war Austins and Standards, in the car park indicates that the picture can be no earlier than 1948. The six mile per hour speed limit is a charming period detail.