Arriving in Hertford

County Hall, Hertford, c. 1950
Hertfordshire County Council: Architect's Department
County Hall
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.

This page was added on 17/01/2011.

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  • County Hall was built from 1935 & was completed in 1939.
    I don’t know about Morris cars, but the building is definitely Art Deco & not past-War.

    By Deryyck (29/04/2019)
  • Felt there was a chance for a slightly longer item on the general Leahoe/Wallfields estate. How in the mid-1870s the Sworders were living in Wallfields and Dr G Elin took on Leahoe and built Leahoe House which moved on through the hands of the Convent of the Handmaidens of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who also ran a hospital in Wallfields during WW1, until the estate was sold on for the purpose of building County Hall

    By Corin Jones (20/04/2017)
  • More photos of County Hall as it was was here

    By Nick Gough (14/04/2017)