History of the website

Following the launch of Herts Memories in 2009, members of the Society met with Jill Barber of Hertfordshire Archives (HALS) to consider commissioning Community Sites to design a website for Harpenden's history.  Training sessions for future editors and website administrators then took place during 2010 and 2011, during which time Eric Brandreth, one of the editors and writer of books and articles, died suddenly in May 2011.

With a broad outline of how to organise the wealth of potential articles already published in the Society's newsletters, David Hinton, joint-administrator with John Bristow, set about typing a wide range of pages - many by Eric Brandreth. These were illustrated from the Society's collections of slides and photos - which started the process of digitising parts of the collection. The editorial team was then shocked by David's sudden death on 31 August 2011, having contributed 120 pages in a short time. This was just before the planned launch of the website - which took place on 24 September 2011.

David Hinton's legacy was to stimulate the editors to keep up the pace of developing the site, which had grown to some 800 pages by 2020.

A key element of our Community Sites website is openness to contributions and comments by the wider community. This brings new information, as well as corrections. Contributors and enquiries come from all round the world.  Sharing our history on the world-wide web is proving most rewarding.

The editorial team has been supported throughout by Jack Lattimer and Ian Grant of Community Sites. In 2020 they advised us to upgrade our website to the Wordpress-based model they had launched, and in March 2021 our editorial team started on-line training to convert to the new platform - which is more compatible for viewing from mobile phones, ipads and other devices. After a long process of checking through all the pages transferred from the old website, the website in its new format was re-opened for contributions in September 2021.

The new format has been greeted with widespread approval - though the editors still regret some of the freedoms to design pages with illustrations appropriately placed. However, we look forward to continued interaction with contributors of pages and comments, in addition to adding more pages based on information in our archives.