Hertford in 1973 - The Bus Station, Fore Street & Railway Street

by Bryan Little

The Bus Station, c1973
Fore Street, c1973
Railway Street, c1973

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.

Bus Station
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
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.

Railway Street
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.

This page was added on 15/05/2010.

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  • If I remember rightly the Salvation Army Hall on the bus station was originally designated a ” Ragged School”

    By Nigel Lee (12/11/2021)
  • I remember a fabric shop which was at the back of Gravesons, it was owned by a Jewish family. I was about 11 or 12, when I regularly bought material to make blouses and skirts. The son was very good looking, but I was a little too young. I don’t remember the year, but it must have been 1949/1950. I wonder where they all are now.

    By Sylvia Bazell (14/02/2021)
  • I remember the ‘slipper’ baths at the bus station, in the days before we had indoor sanitation my dad, my brother and I would go there for our weekly bath! Different times.

    By Bob Connelly (01/01/2021)
  • Hi Lynneveryone
    Remember Janet tearooms well. My mother used to treat our little ones ..in their 40s now!!

    By Liz Harris (15/10/2018)
  • Does anyone remember LaBoutique. Now Loch Fynne.?

    By Liz Harris (26/10/2017)
  • Ah yes, I remember the 715. I grew up in Cheshunt, and we used to get the 715 to Hertford sometimes (it was faster than the 310) and occasionally down into London. Guildford was an exotic, far-off place at the end of the route, though, which I never went to.

    By Nicholas Blatchley (18/10/2017)
  • And the 715 bus used to go from Hertford to Guildford in the 1950s and 1960s. I live near Guildford now but in those days I didn’t have a clue where it was !!!

    By JennyCarpenter (08/10/2017)
  • Does anyone remember Janet Tearooms? I think it is the Shah and Shah Indian now.

    By Lynne (27/11/2013)
  • Does anyone remember the Salvation Army Hall that used to be near the bus station? If it was still there in 1973, looking at the photograph of the bus station, I think it could be the building on the right with a blue car parked in front of it?

    By Jenny Carpenter (28/07/2013)
  • My Nan and Grandad used to own the fish and chip shop at 53 Railway Street when it was called Tovells, before that it was owned by my Great Grandparents and it was called Dodsons. My Grandfather retired and moved to Ramsgate in the mid 1960s.

    By Jenny Carpenter (18/06/2013)
  • If I remember correctly the old bus station had old bath houses . I spent loads of time waiting for the 395 back to ware

    By Rosie (02/04/2012)