Harpenden news reports. 2021/2020

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My wife and I were privileged to have a private viewing of the panels in February this year. They are incredibly beautiful and still in remarkable condition for their age.

A single image can change the face of History

Portrait imagery was the key aspect of the programme. Images whether painted or photographed could have an incredibly powerful influence on the population. Examples featuring Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, and Margaret Thatcher were used to demonstrate this power. Clever or deceptive dependent on your personal position.

Saving the Cottages for the Nation

The current owner, Ms Murphy, from Hertford, explained that she and business partner Alison Wright bought two adjoining cottages, which house the mural between them, specifically to find a way for the paintings to be brought into public ownership.

"The panels should be in the care of the nation - we are committed to finding a way of doing it."

"They are so rare that the paintings must be preserved for both present and future generations, as a sign of those past beliefs and turbulent times," he said.

"We have been pursuing this aim for a number of years and have now launched a public appeal as the only way to preserve them for posterity."

The owner added that if the money couldn't be raised, they would have to apply for a change of use to residential.

Hopefully Simon Schama’s programme will awaken the local Herts authorities to take action now.

Ron Taylor. Editor. Harpendia.com

Hemel’s hidden treasure featured by Simon Schama on BBC TV’s ‘The Face of Britain’ Wed Sept 30

Simon Schama visited Piccott’s End Cottages to show an important aspect of the history of British portraiture, revealing some beautiful and compelling images that demonstrate their eternal power.

Defacing religious paintings

The cottages in Hemel were a resting place for Pilgrims on their journey from Ashridge to nearby St Albans Abbey in the 1530’s. The interior wall panels had been painted extensively with religious murals reflecting imagery of the Christ, the Virgin Mary, and Saints. Scenes include Jesus's baptism, St Catherine of Alexandria, St Peter and St Margaret. During the Reformation the faces of Jesus, Mary and the Saints were obliterated (defaced- see below) to make the images powerless in the sight of anyone who visited the cottages. At some time post Reformation the panels were covered by linen and NOT seen again until 1953.


Lots of information is available via the SADC consultation web site. You have to be registered and then trawl through the hundreds of comments made by commercial organisations and residents. Additionally several ‘gems’ of information were shown (briefly) at The Harpenden Society public meeting on Feb 4 at Rothamsted Conference Centre. My reports starting today (March 2) will be revealed during the coming weeks.

The maps below show the Legal and General proposals for 500 homes and  a new primary school.

How did this expensive proposal or ‘Masterplan’ become a ‘live’ option. Find out in more revelations soon. Ron Taylor. Editor.


Residents will be encouraged to walk and cycle via the routes on the map which are going to be improved.

So what happens with all the new cars being added to already congested roads?

The 500 homes development above is not sacrosanct .

A survey has revealed a large number of small scale sites around Harpenden that could be utilised. Another developer has plans for a 50 home site.


Legal & General have huge land interests in NW Harpenden and south Beds (see map below) They have submitted their concepts to SADC (See part letter below) for the yellow area on the map with detailed plans later on this page.


1,000 plus homes could be built by Cen Beds to cope with Luton Housing shortfall in the PINK area of the map-almost in Harpenden, ON LAND OWNED BY LEGAL & GENERAL. READ THE EMAIL BELOW (EXTRACTS) TO SADC EXPLAINING THEIR REQUIREMENTS

How can the 948 Sports Foundation help Harpenden schools. associations, clubs and individuals?

Read the article below.

ABOVE left:Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” painted by Picasso in 1907, depicting five ladies from a brothel, which was an important artistic turning point for him away from naturalistic art and conventions of perspective and a single viewpoint, and towards geometrical faceting that characterised his exploration of Cubism later on. RIGHT: HAC members drawing and painting a clothed life model on 20.2.20

In a change from the usual practical art workshops, last week Harpenden Arts Club members sat back in the Southdown Room at the Harpenden Public Halls and enjoyed a fascinating presentation and talk by Valerie Brown on the life and some of the works of Pablo Picasso. Valerie is a member of the Harpenden Arts Club who is very knowledgeable about certain artists and has a great speaking style. As an introduction to what the Harpenden Arts Club was all about, this was enjoyed by visitors who just wanted to dip their toes in before throwing themselves into the practical side of creating art with the club in their Thursday evening workshops.

Picasso was a prolific artist and produced thousands of paintings, sculptures, drawings and etchings in his long lifetime (1881 – 1973). He achieved great fame and fortune, and was at the forefront of many movements in art including Analytical Cubism, Synthetic Cubism and Surrealism. Whilst being an original, imaginative, classically trained artist, Picasso was primarily a social commentator on his time and events, and produced many thought-provoking works.

The audience of around 30 people were led through the various periods in Picasso’s life looking at examples of his work, whilst the personal and political influences on Picasso were explained by Valerie, with some fascinating anecdotes. A very enjoyable and informative evening!

So far this season, members of the Harpenden Arts Club have enjoyed some exciting art workshops. Visiting demonstrators have tutored on such subjects as painting in an Impressionist style, Botanical Art, portrait painting, semi-abstract painting, and landscape painting in pastels. In addition, the club organises regular life drawing sessions with clothed and unclothed models, and more experienced members lead some of the weekly workshops in specific areas of their own expertise to share artistic knowledge and techniques. The club is led by a strong, enthusiastic committee, supported by many willing helpers, and membership is expanding. Visitors have commented on how relaxed and friendly they have found the club, which welcomes new adult members, whatever their level of skill and expertise, who would like to explore their creative side. Visitors can come along to up to three meetings for just £3 each on the door to see what it is like, whilst basic membership of the club is only £25p.a. which covers 25 – 30 Thursday evening workshops and demonstrations per year, and other benefits besides. Full details can be found on their website www.harpendenartsclub.org.uk, along with many photos and reviews of recent meetings for interest, and details of future events.

So if you love art, be inspired – try out the Harpenden Arts Club!

March 2. Where can you learn all about the World’s great artists?

Where can you learn about life drawing and painting?

In Harpenden of course, at Harpenden Arts Club.

April 20. Harpenden based charity Jumbulance helps with the South East Coast Ambulance service as part of its Covid-19 response.

SECAmb has commissioned the charity to provide a Jumbulance vehicle which  has been adapted further to meet its specification to assist SECAmb with multiple patient transfers between hospitals.

A Jumbulance is a medically-equipped coach vehicle, which is fitted with stretchers, to give those with disabilities and severe illnesses, and other significantly dependent individuals, the opportunity to travel in safety and comfort across the UK and Europe.

The SECAmb adaptations include the fitting of a bulkhead aluminium frame to protect the driver, updating stretchers to Trust specification, sealing off all fabric surfaces so they can be easily wiped clean and for improved infection control, fitting a piped oxygen system and installing clinical waste bins and hand gel dispensers.

The charity will provide drivers for the vehicle, who have undergone additional training, while the vehicle will be crewed by critical care paramedics. The vehicle, which will be used in the coming weeks as required, will be able to transport up to five stretchered patients at a time – avoiding multiple trips by different ambulance crews.

SECAmb Associate Director of Operations (Resilience), Ian Shaw said: “I am pleased that we have been able to work with the Jumbulance Trust and commission the charity to help with our Covid-19 response and prepare for the potential increase in demand. The role of these vehicles is usually very different and we are pleased that we have been able to adapt one of their vehicles to help with our response. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in this important collective work to help patients.”

Jumbulance Trust Chair, Gill Berry added: “We are proud that Jumbulance Trust, a small volunteer-led charity with specialist vehicles and dedicated staff, can help SECAmb with multiple patient transfers. It is humbling for us to be able to give something back and use our resources in this way. I would also like to add a huge thanks to all involved for their commitment to making this happen.”

April 20. Harpenden businessman

sets up Home Delivery website

directory to support the community

during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Local businessman Neil McDermott has launched

Harpenden Delivers, a free online directory of

local companies who are delivering to homes in

the area. It was inspired by his own family need

to self isolate and how they needed to source

home deliveries of essential goods. Recognising that many other people were looking for the same service he used his skills as a web designer to set up a site featuring businesses who deliver direct to homes.

Neil, founder of Harpenden based web design agency easiserv.com, comments:

“At these difficult times, it’s great to see communities working together to help each other stay safe.  With Government guidance to “Stay at Home”, I wanted to create an easy to navigate list of local businesses that could deliver products contact-free to people’s doors. Living and working in Harpenden, I know we are lucky to have a strong community of small businesses, with many now offering home delivery, it’s a great time to shop local.”

If you have a business which delivers to Harpenden and would like to be included on the website, please contact Neil: neil@easiserv.com



Sept. Scheme to provide better cycle

connections between

Wheathampstead, St Albans,

Harpenden, Luton, Hatfield and

Welwyn AND a scheme for a cycle

route on the A5183 road between

St Albans and Redbourn which

would link the existing cycle routes

of the Nicky Line, the Green Ring

and the Alban Way do not conform

to the Government’s criteria which

favoured urban routes.


Cllr Brewster said: “It was absolutely devastating that the scheme for a Redbourn Road cycle lane was not put forward for Tranche 2 of the Government’s £6m Emergency Active Travel Fund earmarked for Hertfordshire.

“It has received universal support from Councillors and a rapidly-signed petition from over 1,800 concerned residents. 

“The Government funding seeks for cycle lanes to be wholly-fitted into existing road space.  When detailed engineering was examined, the use of some verge, footway and greenery plus some timely junction remodelling would be required and this was unlikely to meet the fund’s criteria, so its inclusion could risk other county projects that were also being submitted.

“Similarly, greater connectivity between the towns around Wheathampstead are not being put forward for Government funding. Again, this is because they would not be deemed urban enough to comply with the funding requirements.

“The County Council’s hands have been tied by the Government giving priority to urban rather than rural routes.

“However, I am urgently working with Officers to find other means of funding these vital routes, looking at internal County Council funding schemes.

“I will now be writing to the Transport Secretary and will call on him to allow local representatives to decide where the money should be allocated. They are the ones who know their communities best and have a real feel for their areas.

“If we want people to cycle and walk more, particularly in light of new post Covid-19 habits, we have to provide them with safe routes to do so wherever they live in our District.”

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Zuckermaus Artisan Bread Tasting

When you tire of traditional breads what can you try next?

Artisan breads come high on the list where bakers use quality ingredients and loving care to make their own specialities.

As you can see from the group photo I have been eating Zuckermaus white Sourdough, Focaccia and Ciabatta.

The sliced Sourdough shows the nicely brown crust, a chewy inside with air pockets. A pleasure to have lightly toasted.

The Focaccia and Ciabatta were a match for any Italian baker. Having all the flavours ot these masterpieces.



Phone: 07766072772

Free deliveries in Harpenden, St Albans and surrounding villages

Zuckermaus Cakes Tasting

My first review of these superb looking cakes baked with Austrian influences. Dec 16.

As you would expect they are tastefully different.

Baked Cheese Cake. This is so much lighter and fresher than conventional cheese cakes being made with crème fraiche, sourcream and whipping cream.

Guglhupf (Austrian Marble cake) A much dryer textured sponge with vanilla and chocolate.

Chestnut Cake. Exactly like the cakes in a Vienna patisserie. Full flavours of hazelnuts, chestnuts soaked in Austrian rum and covered in marzipan and chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Brownie. Rich and delicious. Quality ingredients. Savour slowly with every bite.



Phone: 07766072772

Free deliveries in Harpenden, St Albans and surrounding villages

More tasting notes to come on cakes and bread

Ron Taylor. Editor.

Congratulation to the winner of this year’s Mayor’s Christmas Window Competition - Serena Hart.

They win a feature in Forum magazine, a stall at next year’s Christmas Carnival, and, when it can be presented, the 

engraved Rose Bowl!

Joint runners up were Rebecca Jade Beauty & Aesthetics and Harpenden Mencap (in Southdown).

New Year Cakes Tasting from Zuckermaus Artisan .


Jan 5. 2021. Two new cakes have been added to the Zuckermaus portfolio which I tasted yesterday. Totally contrasting in style and flavour.

Schaumrolle as they are known in Austria but here in Harpenden we call them Cream Horns.

A light and crisp puff pastry exterior filled with an equally light meringue. Exquisite flavours.

Rehrücken is a chocolate almond cake with a lighter feel brushed with redcurrant jelly and glazed with chocolate and flaked almonds. Rich but not overpowering.

Ron Taylor. Editor



Phone: 07766072772

Free deliveries in Harpenden, St Albans and surrounding villages

Have your say on Luton Airport flight path changes that could be introduced in 2022.

Less noise or more noise - subject to where you live.

The consultation (co-sponsored with air traffic control provider NATS)

proposes a new aircraft hold for Luton Airport above the St Neots and Huntingdon area, along with separate routes "further out and higher up". This is to ensure its operations don’t clash with Stansted which shares the same air space.

There are 2 options:

Option one focuses upon higher altitude arrival routes from the new hold, with the latest air navigation technology (Performance Based Navigation - PBN) at altitudes of around 8,000ft and above to separate Luton's arrivals from Stansted’s.

Option two  described as the "preferred" choice, offers the same but with added "pre-determined" routes spread out to wider areas outside Luton. Areas affected by the proposed changes include parts of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk.


An online postcode tool (available here https://www.nats.aero/vr/ad6/static-postcode-lookup) allows anyone in these areas to see what the changes may mean.

How to respond

The most effective way to provide your feedback is to complete the online survey, at the CAA’s airspace change website .

Responses are moderated by the CAA and then published for transparency.

Responses are not accepted via email - please use the online survey.

Paper responses can be accepted. The downloadable Consultation Document contains a printable survey form and the postal address. Posted responses will be added to the CAA's online survey by our dedicated staff.

Your feedback is important to us. Please complete the online survey.


This consultation runs until February 5, 2021.

Luton Airport and NATS expect to submit a formal proposal for the Civil Aviation Authority’s consideration this Summer, 2021. They want to hear from all interested parties and stake holders.