Hellier Gosselin's diaries November-December 1898

Diary on his mayoralty of Hertford

Read by Nicholas Blatchley

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7 November 1898

I presided at a meeting of the Public Health Committee.  An objection on behalf of Christ’s Hospital was raised to the position of the urinal in South Street because the Blue Coat girls’ window overlooked this necessary easement.  It was proposed to roof it over with slats of iron in the hopes that that would satisfy the authorities of the school.

16 November 1898

Attended a meeting of the Public Health Committee.  The urinal lately erected in South Street was ordered to be removed.

10 December 1898

I attended a meeting of the Hertford and Ware Joint Hospital board in the Council chamber of the Shire Hall.  The question of telephonic communication between the Hospital and adjacent towns was considered.

He records that Hemel Hempstead had obtained a charter of incorporation the previous July, thus allowing them to elect Mayor, Aldermen and councillors and he was invited the first Mayor’s dinner.  He notes that travelling from Hertford to Hemel Hempstead was not easy.

I could bike there easily in an hour and three quarters when the roads are in good condition but biking was out of the question as I was encumbered with baggage.  The journey by train takes about two hours and a quarter, there being great delays at the changing places, viz Hatfield, St Albans and Watford.  When I at last arrived at my destination I wended my way to the Bell Inn, a comfortable little pub and said to be the best in town.  Now that the place has become a municipality it is high time that the “City Fathers” made some attempt to have a first class hotel.

The difficulties of travel were not rewarded by an entertaining evening.  As he records:-

The first mayor, Sir Astley P Paston-Cooper, not able to be present owing to an attack of the gout.  It was very unfortunate as it was in the nature of an historical event.  It was at least a trifle annoying and no doubt was doubly so to his worship himself, for gout is rather trying even to the most gentle of creatures , but to an irascible old man like Sir Astley it must be perfectly awful…. The speeches were mostly far too long.  How tiring it is to have to listen to the same old rot talked over and over again the usual twaddle about the bishop and clergy, the bunkum about Mayors and Corporations and the silly fiddle faddle about the visitors.  

This page was added on 23/10/2012.

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