HALH Summer Visit
Since 1997, HALH has organised a garden party or visit for members. Each year the venue changes which gives everyone a chance to see another place in Hertfordshire (or just across the border in neighbouring counties). We try to find somewhere which has a pleasant garden for people to visit or a historic house/church. Notice for each year's Summer Visit is distributed with the Spring mailing.
The HALH Summer Visit 2021 will take place on the afternoon of Saturday 18 September at Pirton near Hitchin. Our chairman, Helen Hofton, a resident of Pirton, will give us a guided tour of the village. More details and a booking form can be found in this spring's edition of News & Events.
Summer Visit 2019
Our 2019 HALH Summer Visit took place on the afternoon of Monday 15 July at Woodhall Park, Watton-at-Stone, where we were the guests of Ralph and Alexandra Abel Smith.
The house was built in the mid-1770s for Sir Thomas Rumbold of the East India Company, replacing a Tudor mansion destroyed by fire in 1772. The house was enlarged in later years and the park much enhanced, especially by the creation of an ornamental lake along the course of the River Beane. In 1801 the estate was purchased by a London banker, Samuel Smith, and has remained in the hands of his descendants ever since. In 1934 the estate was leased to Heath Mount School.
Our visit started with a walk guided by Ralph and Alexandra around the outside of the mansion, taking in the fine view over the park and farmland to the west. Inside, much of the interior is given over to the running of the school, but the original eighteenth-century character is well maintained in the entrance hall, which is decorated in the Etruscan style, the central hall with its domed glass ceiling and the elegant sweeping staircase. The gem of the mansion is the Print Room which contains over 300 original eighteenth-century prints ranging from scenes of Rome and Florence and copies of Old Masters by Michelangelo, Van Dyke and Claude.
A full report of the visit is printed in the Autumn edition of Herts Past & Present.
Previous visits have been to:
1997 Barkway House, Barkway
1998 St. Ippolyts
2001 Mackereye End House
2002 Abbot's House Garden, Abbots Langley
2005 Letchworth Museum
2008 Bushey Museum
2013 Much Hadham
2014 Copped Hall, Upshire near Epping (Essex)
2015 Chenies Manor (Bucks)
2016 Myddleton House & Gardens, Enfield (Middx)
2017 Benington Lordship
2018 Hinxworth Place
Hinxworth Place, June 2018