Harpenden Memorials and Sculptures
A survey in 2020 of plaques dedicated to individuals, organisations and events
Apart from the obvious Town War Memorial and inscriptions in churches and cemeteries, there are a number of small plaques seats throughout the centre of Harpenden and on park benches and trees, commemorating people or events, such as the 50th anniversary of the founding of Rothamsted Research and the first 150 years of research.
We hope that readers will contribute information about these lovingly remembered Harpenden citizens
Location of the Memorial Plaques
Opposite The George a seat is dedicated to Hon Alderman Vic Truss (1920-1995).
On the Concourse, benches round the tree commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the Harpenden Society in 1980. A nearby bench dated 1978 is from the Jeakings Bequest, one of several locations suggested by the Harpenden Society – but we have no further information about the Jeakings family. The nearby Copper Beech was donated in 2007 by Fantastic Fireworks and Harpenden Scouts.
At the Bus Shelter a bench commemorates the 50th anniversary of the United Nations in 1995. A further bench is in memory of Cllr Colin Curl who died in 1994 (the plaque is very faint). Near Sainsbury’s is a bench from the Jeakings Bequest in 1979. Opposite Santander is a bench donated by Harpenden (Evening) Townswomen’s Guild in 1970, commemorating their 21st year.
Near Anvil House stands a Norway Maple donated by Jarvis Ltd in 2008.
The Jubilee Crown was installed in 2012 to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Braille Plaque dating from 2010 honours Cllr Phyllis Moore. Benches commemorate the 2000 Millennium donated by the Harpenden Society, the Townswomen’s Guild in memory of Florence Roberts in 1998, The Harpenden Guide Association in 1999, in addition to the plaque celebrating their diamond jubilee in 1970, and from TocH in memory of Rev W. and Mrs J.M. Elliott (undated).
A stone plaque and a ‘Rosa Peace Keeper’ rose was donated by Harpenden United Nations Association in 1995 and rededicated in 2005.
The park was opened in 1998, in part of the estate of Harpenden Lodge, according to the will of Hilda Lydekker in memory of her brothers who died in World War I. The poem ‘In Flanders Field’ by Major John Macrae is displayed on a separate board. The park was designed by Peter Sensky ARIBA (1938-2002) who is named on one of the seats. Other dedicated seats are to Jim Manger (1914-1999) and Eileen Manger (1915-2000), Gill Hollier (1936-2006), Raminder Chena (1930-2000) and James Holdaway (1916-2002).
The sculpture Tete a Tete by John Brown FRBS was donated by Harpenden Area Decorative & Fine Arts Society in 2000. Benches commemorate Caroline and Gregory Poupard (2002), Sarah Louise Torrens (1971-1997), Dorothy Edna Pearce (1908-1997) and Frederick John Pearce (1907-1975). A further bench has a barely legible inscription.
Outside St Nicholas Hall there are benches for Jill Saunders (1949-94), Phyllis McNeill (1927-76), Irene Harmer (1922-1990) and Enid Slaughter (1909-87). In St Nicholas churchyard behind the church a bench for Susan Scrivener (1951-2011).
Richard Hartley Offer (1929-2009) and David James Falder (1981-1995)
Outside Waitrose, there are two seats made of recycled waste plastic.
Eight seats in a square donated by or commemorating The Lions Club, Judy Fryd founder of Mencap, George L Higgins (1930-2000), Peter and Barbara New (1929-2002 and 1928-2001), TocH Bookstall (1954-2003), Michael Doyle (1928-2000), Fred and Hannah Golds and Eric and Marjorie Golds. A further bench donated from the Methodist Church Coffee Lounge in 1982.
The fountain, originally a drinking fountain and nearer the road, was donated by Sir John Lawes in 1890 and was rededicated in 1914 by the Harpenden branch of the British Women’s Temperance Association. It was moved to its present position, when the subterranean public conveniences were replaced.
Harpenden Common to the Silver Cup
Phyllis and Ronald Adam (worked locally 1965-1984). John Berry (1934-2009). Frank Popplewell, President of the British Legion (1922-1978). Clive Ernest Bygrave (1925-2003). Arthur Ward (Bucky) 2003.
Outside Park Hall two benches donated by the Harpenden Trust, 1999. One of these benches rededicated to Cllr Ian Fulton (1934-2019) by the Scouts, recognising his work in replacing the diseased elm trees with beech trees. Outside Harpenden Town Hall: Cllr Dorothy Mills (1921-2019).
Near Harpenden Hall, Mari Louth Cook (1928-2010). In Harpenden Hall garden, Mrs E Pare (1894-1983). On the wall in the garden of Harpenden Hall, Cllr John Fryd (1914-1981) and Judy Fryd (1909-2000).
Harpenden Common from Bull Road
Round the Baa Lamb Trees, Fred Cox (d. 1989) and Millie Cox (d. 1998). Elizabeth Hardy (1915-1996). Godfrey Dean (1933-1983). 25 Years of Town Twinning with Alzey (1963-1988), with reference to a tree, which did not survive. The circular seats round a further tree are dedicated to the Children of Harpenden (“from a lover of both”).
By the Southdown Ponds, Alan Golds and Fred Golds (undated). Mary Frances Aks. Doris Irene Sylvester (1936-1999). A further bench was donated by Harpenden Horticultural Society, and another by H.J.Gray Ltd in 1999.
Harpenden Common Cricket Ground
Several benches were donated when the ground was renewed and levelled, with a raised bank near the main road. Ian James Sterrett (1959-2005). Dee Billing (1948-2011). Harold John Thurlow (1916-2003). Alan Kershaw (d. 1998). Michael Marr (1912-2002). Ernie and Olive Ackroyd (two seats donated by Rotary Club). Mrs Snowdon Crossley (1960). Arthur Robert Hassell (1895-1986). Ron Fielder (1901-1998). Dot and Maurice Evans. Josephine Jenkins. Ralph Oliver (Captain 1953-59).
Between the Cricket pavilion and Queens Road, Russell and Peggy Taylor. A further bench donated by the Dennehy family. Under a tree near Queen’s Road, John Lines (1916-1991).
In Queens Road, a bench to ‘Dear Freddie’ (1917-2002), (probably Fred Roberts). In Bowling Close by the Skew Bridge, a bench to ‘Gwen’ (1927-1998), (probably Gwen Gay-Tideswell).
By Harpenden Trust Hall in Southdown Road, Nan and Bob Renwick.
Harpenden Common south of Walkers Road
By St John’s Church, to David Morley. In St John’s Field, benches to Gerald McGuiness, Olive Attwell (1923-2013), and to Edward Martin (1932-1995) and Brenda Martin (1937-2011). By the Brickle/Prickle Dells, Sarah Spells (1978-2012) and Adam Prince (1985-2014). By Eastmoor Park, Arthur and Stella Dalton. At the main road junction with Beesonend Lane, Micheal Hill.
Two wooden sculptures by Simon Hebditch (c. 1998, carved from trees which were felled when the covered swimming pool was built) – Nightingale Valley and Salmon Run – have been removed while building work is in progress in 2020. In the Jeakings Garden, there is a memorial bench to Freifrau (Baroness) Wiltrud von Richthofen (d. 2011), who helped at the Sports Centre. By the children’s play park, a bench to Joyce (1921-2001). Along the main drive, Chris Wroe (1940-2014) and Cynthia Southern. Near the swimming pool, a French inscription to Leo. By the football pitches, Paul Crake (1954-2012) from Harpenden Lions, Eric Miller (1916-2009) and Joan Miller (1920-2012), Ann Drysdale (1996), Chris Gerrard (1983-2015) from Young Hawks, Bob Bradbury (1949-2019) with panels as an Auxiliary Fireman, and Ann Rowe (1939-2018).
West Common near Rivers Lodge
Jean Reed (1931-2005) and Philip Reed (1929-2005). Hilda Smith (1929-2011) and Leonard Smith (1923-2013).
A further bench has a simple verse: “Sit a-while and rest your feet. You will not get splinters from this seat. October 1995.”
Sun Lane and Ox Lane
At the junction, a seat referring to the Baha’i World Faith.
Apart from the tomb memorials there are some seats with dedicated inscriptions. In the first square a seat donated by Hertbeats, the local health group supporting heart patients. Individual memorials are to Jane Barrett (1970-99), Christine Bates, Alice Gelling (1942-2017), Tony Hardy (2013), Margaret Reeves (2016), Roy Simmons (2006), and to Alan Stevens (1972) and Mary Stevens (2001).
Batford and Lea Valley
At Batford Corner, a memorial to Bob Hill. In All Saints Church garden, Arthur Barker (1916-1991) and Gladys Barker (1919-1996).
By Marquis Lane fields, Bill Crombie (1934-2013).
People commemorated – in alphabetical order – can be found in a separate Gallery