Welwyn’s Listed Buildings: 9 Church Street

This is the third of a series highlighting Welwyn’s rich heritage of Listed Buildings. It is extracted from an old document found within WPAG archives which is represented as  ‘the 29th list of buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest‘,  (for Welwyn Parish within the District of Welwyn Hatfield), and ‘certified on 9th January 1989′ by the Executive County & Estates Officer of Hertfordshire County Council.

N.B. This might not be the latest such list, and should not therefore be relied upon for its accuracy. There have been amendments, and this extract is provided solely for information and interest.

Ref. 14/300   

Welwyn, Church Street (South side)

No. 9 Grade II Listed

House. C17 core, later C18 red brick casing.

Vitrified brick headers, old tile roof. Mid C17 chimney stack towards W end with conjoined square shafts and ovolo cornice. 3 x 1st floor 3-light leaded casements with metal frames in pegged oak surrounds.

Segmental-headed ground floor early C19 casement and fixed windows with glazing bars.

Half timbered E gable.

(Currently Bryan Bishop – Estate Agents)

 

Welwyn’s Listed Buildings: 29 The High Street

This is the second of a series highlighting Welwyn’s rich heritage of Listed Buildings. It is extracted from an old document found within WPAG archives which is represented as  ‘the 29th list of buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest‘,  (for Welwyn Parish within the District of Welwyn Hatfield), and ‘certified on 9th January 1989′ by the Executive County & Estates Officer of Hertfordshire County Council.

N.B. This might not be the latest such list, and should not therefore be relied upon for its accuracy. There have been amendments, and this extract is provided solely for information and interest.

Welwyn High Street (West Side) No. 29

Grade II Listed P1080703

House. Early C19 front, probably to an earlier timber framed building. Roughcast. Old tile hipped roof. 2 storeys. 3 flush sash windows in architrave surrounds. Semi-circular porch with thin wooden columns on cement piers. Mutuled cornice and door with segmental fan. 1st floor French window.

P1080706

1-window block set back on W with large chimney stack at join and 1st floor sash window. Street front with modern shop window.

 

 

Usage:

Currently Old Welwyn Florist.

Formerly ( circa 1967) W.H. Lee & Co – Estate Agents

Welwyn’s Listed Buildings: 15 Church Street

This article is the first of a series highlighting Welwyn’s rich heritage of Listed Buildings. It is extracted from an old document found within WPAG archives which is represented as  ‘the 29th list of buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest‘,  (for Welwyn Parish within the District of Welwyn Hatfield), and ‘certified on 9th January 1989′ by the Executive County & Estates Officer of Hertfordshire County Council.

N.B. This might not be the latest such list, and should not therefore be relied upon for its accuracy. There have been amendments, and this extract is provided solely for information and interest.

Welwyn Church Street (south side) No. 15 (Formerly listed as No.15 “Wellingham Store”) Grade II Listed

Early C19 warehouse and shop. Painted red brick, low slate roof. Long Range. E side has 3 1st floor small pane ventilators and ground floor wood frame cart entrance with 20151201_115821carved angle braces; W side has 2 shop fronts both with pilaster and paterae surrounds and fascia cornices. Left hand side is 36 panes, right hand side is double fronted with deep recess to door. Upper-floor window bands with similar glazing bars.

(The photo was taken on 1st December 2015 and shows the building in its current use as a Hair Dressing Salon, and decorated with Christmas Lighting).

Formerly: circa 1967 Grocer (13/15 Church Street) W. Wellingham Ltd

Pulhamite artificial stonework – further appreciation.

Our post about the volunteer efforts to uncover the artificial Pulhamite stone in the Danesbury Fernery has raised a great deal of fresh interest. If you want to extend your knowledge and understanding of the special attributes and heritage values of Pulhamite, then we have learned that there is a Presentation this coming Saturday 3rd October 2015 to celebrate The Great Restoration of the Swiss Garden at the Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden, nr Biggleswade. This is an all-day Study Day to celebrate Pulhamite rockwork and its conservation, for which details, and the need for a fairly rapid online booking Form, can be found at the Shuttleworth Collection website.

Our WPAG member Francesca Weal, well known and esteemed local architect, has informed the Editor that she was involved in ‘The Great Restoration’ of the Swiss Garden at Old Warden, which is famed for its use of Pulham artificial stonework. (See Francesca’s Comment at the foot of the Fernery post!)

Danesbury Park – The Fernery – the Pulham story

The Danesbury Fernery – a brief History.

The Fernery in Danesbury Park was constructed by William John Blake’s renowned gardener Andrew Parsons in 1859-60. He incorporated Pulham artificialunnamed stone. The site is in the Motorway Field of the Local Nature Reserve, a short-walk from Danesbury House.

The Pulham Legacy website describes the Danesbury Fernery as: ‘Cave, Dropping Well, Pass for ferns and other rockplants in old chalk pit but in artificial stone’.

The Danesbury Fernery is one of Pulhams’ earliest ferneries, but it is now in a very delapidated state, as can be seen in this next photo taken in September 2015. The volunteer group, Friends of Danesbury Local Nature Reserve, aided by the Friends of Mardley Heath, and groups of Sherrardpark Wood Wardens, have started a new project to clear the 20150910_094828site. When the Pulhamite stone has been exposed again, the landowner (Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council) will be in a position to adjudge whether or not to continue with full-blown restoration by specialist contractors, including works to make the site safe for public access once again.

The Pulham Legacy

Claude Hutching is the author of many publications about Pulhamite, and he runs the very topical Pulham Legacy website, which details the successful restoration work carried out around the country. We hope that before long, the work to restore the Danesbury Fernery will feature.

Go to the Pulham Legacy website to get details of Claud Hitching’s Presentation Diary. Claud Hitching (with Valerie Christman) regularly gives presentations about some of the experiences he encountered during his research leading up to the publication of his critically-acclaimed book, Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy. Valerie Chistman also gives the history behind the development of Pulham cement. Valerie is directly descended from the Pulham family, and is an amateur geologist and professional garden designer in her own right.  

Danesbury Park & House – A Date Line

History of Danesbury

A definitive account of the HIstory of Danesbury has been researched, and is presented by local Historian Gordon Longmead in his book: The HIstory of Danesbury, Its House and Its Lands, published by New ConceP1050955pt Publishihng in 1999 .

Gordon’s book provides a fascinating and detailed account of the peoples who lived in and around Danesbury in the pre-Roman period, long before the House was built in 1776, and chronicles its subsequent transitions of ownership and family residency, its use through two World Wars, its ultimate use as a long stay Hospital in the grounds of which Welwyn village used to hold annual Summer Fetes, to the present time when after a period of dereliction, it has been restored and converted to apartments, with Mews Houses at the rear where hospital wards used to be sited.

Date Line for St John’s Lodge/Danesbury House

The following date-line (the accuracy of which is not guaranteed) is compiled from multiple books and local historians over very many years. To learn about the history and people associated with Danesbury House, we recommend Gordon Longmead’s comprehensive book.

Continue reading

Danesbury Park – History of The Fernery

THE HISTORY

Capt. and Mrs. St. John built St John’s House between 1775 and 1776.

In 1851 Mr.Blake, who then owned the house, (and re-named it Danesbury), employed Mr. Parsons as his head gardener and they built the Fernery in 1859-60.

BOTANICAL VALUE of THE FERNERY

(The following extracts and the black and white photo are kindly offered by Mrs Pat Watt – former voluntary Warden of Danesbury Park. The photo is believed to be from a copy of the Hertfordshire Countryside Magazine)

Extract taken from THE GARDEN Oct. 22, 1881

COUNTRY SEATS AND GARDENS
———-
Danesbury Park, Welwyn
THE FERNERY. -One of the chief features of interest in the park is the hardy Fernery. It is formed on a sloping bank in a rather deep dell-like valley, overhung with trees and ivy, in the shade of which the ferns seem to delight. This charming spot has been further enhanced in appearance by some rockwork, in many respects decidedly the leading feature of Danesbury. As regards the planting, the various genera are arranged in distinct and well-defined groups, and each group is assigned a position and provided with soil adapted to it’s requirements; therefore, all have an equal chunnamedance of becoming well developed. ”Ah,” says some one, ”but these Ferns are indigenous, and therefore do not require any cultural care; simply stick them in the ground, give them one heavy watering, and then let them take care of themselves.” Yes; that is how many hardy plants are treated; but not at Danesbury.
———-

Another extract about the same date

GARDEN MEMORANDA

DANESBURY, NEAR WELWYN, HERTS, THE SEAT OF W. BLAKE, ESQ. –

In the park is a hardy Fernery, situated in a dell, and reached by means of a good gravel walk. It is associated with some large trees, which are surrounded by Laurels,&c., which aid in keeping the rougher winds away from the more tender kinds of Ferns, and the whole is inclosed by substantial rabbit- proof fencing. Entering under an archway, formed of grotesque-looking wood, we proceed a few yards, and an interesting scene presents itself, the imitation rockwork being in itself worthy of a visit. Here are steps to descend to the level below, formed, as it were, out of hard rock by time itself. On the opposite side is a ravine, over which has been thrown a rustic bridge, whilst nearer to the left, under the more massive upper rock – as is customary – is a capacious grotto, from the rock at the side of which streamlets of pure water trickle down into its basin bed. Here and there, abutting upon the green sward, the rocks appear, cragged and pointed, each having at its base, or upon its bosom, some quaint form which culture, and observation have brought to light. The whole is well backed up by huge boulders, placed here and there, as if they were the work of one of Nature’s strange convulsions.

———

Others also admired the fernery; W. Robinson in “The English Flower Garden”, published in 1883, writes, ”In the home counties there is probably not a better Fernery than at Danesbury. It is on a sloping bank in a rather deep dell, overhung with trees and Ivy, in the shade of which the Ferns delight.”

———-
MR. ANTHONY PARSONS

Mr. Anthony Parsons became gardener to Captain Blake at Danesbury in 1851, and remained there until his death on Christmas Day 1880. He wrote in The Gardeners Chronicle, “I have had to make a hardy fernery, which now contains a magnificent collection of British Ferns, and is well known to many admirers of these truly lovely plants.” Mr Parsons was well known for raising and developing new varieties of plants. Whilst at Danesbury one finely-crested dwarf golden fern of his origination was named in his honour Gymnogramma chrysophylla parsonii.
Although the rocks appear to be of natural sandstone they are in fact “Pulhamite”. Upon closer inspection it can be seen that they are in fact artificial. J.R. Pulham and Co. London constructed them in 1859-1860, using a core of brick and rubble, which was covered in cement.

CONSERVATION/RESTORATION

The WHBC Draft Management Plan 2013-2023 – an unfulfilled ambition

Recent re-assessment of the potential of the Fernery to provide a significant point of interest within the nature reserve will hopefully lead to partial restoration funded by Higher Level Stewardship:
 removal of scrub growing along the cascade face
 replacement of fallen and ‘stray’ rocks into the cascade face
 selective removal of more mature trees around the perimeter of the pit
 the creation of a circular path including steps to allow safe access
 the control of nettles using herbicide and regular cutting of herbaceous vegetation to
keep the pit open and attractive
 the restoration of sections of the decorative paling fence and its use to create a
‘gateway’
 establishment of variegated holly to restore the designed planting scheme
 provision of interpretation explaining history and interest of the Fernery

The above proposals were withdrawn before the final Management Plan was published, but the cudgels have since been taken up by the Friends of Danesbury Local Nature Reserve, a group of local volunteers.

The Friends of Danesbury LNR commenced clearing the Fernery site in September 2015 and by June 2016 had completed the task: all scrub had been cleared, elder stumps have been poisoned and nettles have been eradicated following herbicidal spraying. The Friends are now in the process of deciding the way forward in partnership with the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

Curent ambitions are to involve other organisations in and around Welwyn, and to create a Community Project. Interest is therefore being sought from gardening societies, archaelogical and history groups in Welwyn, with the ambition to excavate the rockwork and paths, and re-plant ferns and appopriate rock plants.

 

Panshanger Park – Newsletter No.5 August 2015

The latest Newsletter from the Friends of Panshanger Park is now freely available online to members and friends. To subscribe, go to the Panshanger Park website.

The latest Newsletter details the many activities that can be enjoyed, including:

  • Heritage Walks – last Sunday each month
  • Panshanger Park Runs –  between 250-300 runners regularly
  • Work Parties – see the website for details
  • Photography Competitiion – entries needed by 30th September 2015

The Newsletter also details current Planning Applications which are causing concern to The Friends.

If you want to learn about the background to the creation of this fine Country Park, right on our doorstep, then the Panshanger Park website provides masses of information about the history of the S52 Legal Agreement to deliver a Country Park at Panshanger for the people of Hertfordshire, which dates back to May 1980, when following a Public Inquiry, the Secretary of State for Environment granted planning permission for mineral extraction at Panshanger Park, in return for the delivery of a Country Park across the 1000 acre estate.

The Panshanger Oak seen again

Lafarge Tarmac has opened up an Oak Trail which will allow people to see the magnificent Panshanger Oak once again. The Oak Trail starts close to Riverside Cottage in the heart of the park, and allows the public to walk close to The Broadwater, which is a lake fed by River Mimram and designed by Humphry Repton 200 years ago. On the Broadwater is a 19th century waterwheel.

Access to the Oak Trail is by foot from the Thieves Lane car park

On top of the hill are the remains of the Orangery and Conservatory, as well as the site of the former Panshanger House, demolished in 1953. From the site of the old house there is an impressive view across the valley towards Cole Green.

For more details of the impressive work of the Friends of Panshanger Park, and to see  how you might help, go to the Friends of Panshanger Park.