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.

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.

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. CONSULTATION NOW CLOSED

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 CLOSED ON 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.

If you like Brioche style bread then CHALLAH from Zuckermaus will be a new taste experience.

It’s made from enriched dough with sesame seeds and poppy seeds giving a light crust with a soft texture inside. Toast it and spread with butter for a taste sensation.(Challah is fixed in Jewish cuisine being eaten on ceremonial occasions and holidays)



Phone: 07766072772

Free deliveries in Harpenden, St Albans and surrounding villages

The range of cakes from Zuckermaus Artisan Bakery is pretty amazing as you will have seen on earlier reports.

This  time it was another test for my taste buds.

Starting with Cinnamoned Apple cake. This had 2 layers of Bramley apples encased in a dairy free cake glazed with apricot jam.

Next to taste was Austrian Applestrudel. Homemade filo pastry, bramley apple slices marinated in cinnamon, sugar, flaked almonds and raisins. Warm it in the microwave and serve with custard or cream.

Finally and my favourite,  Linzer cake, named after a town in Upper Austria. Ground almond, cloves and cinnamon in the base with a layer of red currant jam, topped with a pattern and flaked almonds. Very like Bakewell tart.

Local charity receives funding from Harpenden Building Society to help combat Covid-19 challenges


February 5th, 2021. Trinity Community Project, a St Albans based charity offering day services and opportunities to people experiencing mental health issues, or living with a learning disability, has received a grant from Harpenden Building Society to help fund its ongoing community work.

The charity encourages its members to participate in a range of social activities run from its day centre, or out in the community. The sessions offer choice and promote people skills, independence and self-confidence, whilst maintaining dignity and safety. Activities include peer support groups; drama workshops; arts and crafts; cookery; chair yoga and relaxation sessions.

During the pandemic, the project has adapted its services and their delivery to meet the latest government guidelines often needing extra staff to meet these requirements. When Covid-19 restrictions have postponed normal day centre activities, Trinity staff and volunteers have provided socially distanced ‘door step chats’ and telephone contact to ensure the group’s members remain connected.

Harpenden Building Society is providing funds to help run these, and wider adapted services, ensuring the new requirements related to social distancing and new operational standards are met.

In addition to helping with increased staffing costs, Harpenden will also fund the purchasing of tablets to allow volunteers to teach Project members basic computer skills and introduce them to online resources such as activity packs which can be accessed from home. The donation will also fund a future collaboration between the Project and Trestle Arts providing drama workshops which will help attendees to explore, understand and support the mental health impact that lockdown may have had on them.

Sheila Knopp, spokesperson for Trinity Community Project commented: “We rely heavily on grants from corporate donors like Harpenden Building Society to help fund our existing, expanded and future work - we are incredibly grateful to them. Making sure the activity costs are kept as low as possible for those attending is key to keeping them involved, subsidies from grants help enormously.”

Sarah Howe, Harpenden Building Society’s CEO added: “We are delighted to support the excellent work of this local day centre initiative. We have a long standing relationship with Trinity Community Project and applaud all they are doing to support their members in St Albans and surrounding areas, particularly in these pandemic times when it’s increasingly possible to feel isolated.”

If you represent a charitable trust, company or are an individual who would like to make a donation to Trinity Community Project please get in touch by emailing: trinitydaycentre@gmail.com

 Photo credit: A volunteer assists a Trinity Community Project member in a house plant activity


Zuckermaus Artisan Bakery brings

Chocolate bread to the table.

It’s called Babka, made from a double and

twisted length of yeast dough baked in a

high loaf pan with a chocolate filling. My

favourite ways of eating:

firstly with a cup of cappuccino, dipping into

the froth AND as a desert, lightly toasted and

served with fruit compote and ice cream.



Phone: 07766072772

Free deliveries in Harpenden, St Albans

and surrounding villages.

Below. Appearing at the Harpenden Farmers Market,

Great news for Gin lovers...

Harpenden now has its own Gin...

made by a local business with

local ingredients.

Why not treat your Mum with

something really special for

Mother’s Day?

Before you buy, find out more...

I asked the owners for some background.

  1. 1.When did you launch Harpenden Gin

and what makes it different in a crowded

market place?

We launched Harpenden gin just before Christmas and it's been gradually building up sales - people are slowly discovering we exist and getting excited about trying their local gin!

What sets us apart is our local grounding. As well as being branded with Harpenden imagery, this gin uses literal pieces of Harpenden as its botanicals. Angelica root, an essential gin ingredient, is foraged from the river at Batford Springs, along with fragrant meadowsweet. In the ancient oak woodland of the Common, we pick sweet woodruff to give the gin a creamy hint of vanilla and mown hay. That's what makes the gin local - we have to be fully in touch with the local landscape and seasons to make it.

2. What experience do you have in the Drinks market?

Spirit of Herts is owner Richard Daniel and distiller Richard Osmond. Richard Osmond has a background in wild plant foraging and the brewing industry so he's well up to the challenge of finding new and exciting flavours in the wild and processing them into top quality gin.

Richard Daniel's experience in the drinks market is that of a lifelong passionate consumer...

3. What can you recommend as Spring drinks with your gin?

My favourite spring gin drink is a gin and cloudy apple juice with a dash of sharp sorrel juice, or lemon juice if you don't want to go foraging. The apple juice goes especially well with the vanilla-cinnamon notes of sweet woodruff in the Harpenden gin to give a flavour almost like an apple strudel. To make the drink extra springlike, cut a green straw from the hollow stem of a cow parsley plant. Every sip will have a green celery-like freshness...

4. How can you buy it and costs?

At the moment it's only available from us directly at our website www.spiritofherts.co.uk. Prices are £18 for 200ml, £39 for 500ml or £49 for 700ml. So it pays to buy big!