Books on Hertfordshire

Hatfield: A Pictorial History

Sue Kirby and Richard Busby

Philimore, 1995
ISBN 0 85033 996 0

Hardback, pages not numbered but 177 photos/illustrations & maps on end papers

This is another of Philimore's excellent series of Town books, with a good introduction and plenty of photographs, many from early in the 20th century, and each with a good brief text description, as the examples show. There is a good coverage of both the town and the surrounding hamlets, and there are many groups with names. Unfortunately there is no index of names, which makes it hard to quickly identify people and places mentioned in the pictures.

Hatfield Fire Brigade, c 1898, Mr J Hollingworth is holding the horses steady. The other men are, from left to right, W J Richardson; the driver, G Warren; W. A. Corrnish, Captain T Christian, George Elliott, B Patterson and J J Burgess. The spectating boy is T B Sharp.

The Eight Bells, formerly the Five Bells, on the corner of Park Street and Fore Street. Charles Dickens, who came to Hatfield as a newspaper reporter to cover the fire which killed the 1st Marchioness of Salisbury, included it in Oliver Twist.  The book's villain, Bill Sykes, calls there for a drink following his murder of Nancy. Since this photograph was taken by the postcard company Valentine in the early 1900s, the pub has taken over the adjoining shop premises.

A useful additional feature are the end papers, which are maps showing farm names from 1824, and the town centre (with names and trades) in the 1780s and circa 1900. [I believe these come from the almost impossible to get Hatfield and Its People.]

Part of 1790s reconstructed map of Hatfield

St Etheldreda's church in 1803

There is a web page for Hatfield

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Page updated August 2006