The Smallford Station and Alban Way Heritage Society
Friday 18th October 2019
7.30-9.00pm: Sapsed Room, Mansion House, Oaklands College
Chair Pages 2-5
Treasurer Page 6
Membership Page 6
|The AGM will be followed by a Presentation
Plans for improving the Environment around Smallford Station, its Platform and the adjoining Car Park
Presenter: Roger Gray; Smallford Station & Alban Way Heritage Society
Roger will provide a comprehensive presentation on the plans that are being formulated by a small working party to –
Improve the environment around Smallford Station, its platform and adjoining car park
Renovate a railway goods van body which will provide permanent storage for our exhibition and items we have collected, and to site it close to Smallford Station and available to the public.
Oaklands College will be a major partner in this collaborative project
The Presentation will be followed by a discussion
There will be an accompanying exhibition illustrating details of these plans.
Complimentary refreshments will be provided.
2. Thanks to our Host – Oaklands College
3. Apologies for Absence
4. Notes from the previous AGM
Confirmation that these are a correct record
8. Date of Next Meeting
The Smallford Station and Alban Way Heritage Society (SSAWHS) was established at an Inaugural Meeting held on April 10th 2017 at University of Hertfordshire – its purpose, to continue and develop the work established by the ‘Bringing the History of Smallford Station to Life’ Project. This is our second AGM.
- YOUR COMMITTEE
There are 8 Committee Members. Over the past year, our full Committee has met 11 times.
Chair Jeff Lewis
Honorary Secretary Gary Fisher
Honorary Treasurer Rob Brook
Membership Secretary Roger Gray
Curator of 3D Objects/Exhibitions Alastair Cameron
Archivist: Guided Walks: Website Development John Darnton
Website Manager Jonathan Musk
Without Portfolio Chris Musk
Due to pressure of other commitments, three Committee Members resigned
- Honorary Treasurer Hugh Burrell
Rob Brook has taken on this role.
- Exhibition/Publication Design Mike Neighbour
- Publicity: Facebook Group: Newsletter Anna Hammerin
Both of these roles remain unfilled.
We are most grateful to all three for their commitment and support and wish them continuing success.
We have established an important Project Gr oup to consider plans for developing the environment around Smallford Station.
We are also most grateful to –
- the University of Hertfordshire Heritage Hub for providing us with continuing support and a venue for our Committee Meetings.
- Rae Borras, of Borras Construction, for meeting the cost of transporting a goods van body from Northamptonshire to St Albans.
- Oaklands College – with whom we are discussing some exciting collaborative projects
Developing Smallford Station and its Environment
For various reasons beyond our control, discussions on acquiring an interest in Smallford Station building and creating a Community Heritage Centre have been put on hold.
We therefore decided to consider ways in which we can improve the environment around the station platform. Last Autumn we planted over 200 daffodils (that were generously donated by Notcutts Garden Centre based in Smallford) in the Car Park.
A year ago we established a small Project Team to put together detailed plans –
- For improving the environment around Smallford Station
- Erecting ‘Welcome’ signs – eg at the entrance on Station Road and to the car park
- Information Board – eg on Alban Way facing the car park entrance
- Planting around the station car park
- For improving the station platform, installing –
- Raised flower beds
- Replica vintage lamp-posts and benches
- Display panels along the rear fence
- For renovating and restoring a goods van body –
- To house our exhibition and a range of artefacts from our collection
- To site this close to Smallford Station and open it to the public
All plans will require the approval of St Albans District Council (who are the owners of the platform and all the land surrounding the station) together their consultants, Countryside Management Service (CMS). We have met with representatives who were very supportive, and it is possible that some of our ideas will be incorporated into the next stage of improving the Alban Way – Greenspace Action Plan (GAP) 2019/24.
Improving the Alban Way: Greenspace Action Plan (GAP)
We have been involved with these improvements since their inception, 5 years ago. During this time, SADC spent in the region of £100,000 on improving their section of the Alban Way – GAP 2014-19; much of the finance received from Grants and Section 106 income. CMS are the project leaders working on behalf of SADC; we have excellent working relationships with both and will be supporting the next stage of improvements (GAP 2019-24). CMS have also been negotiating with WHBC and we expect improvement works on their section to begin shortly.
We have been exploring what exactly is covered by the Grade II Listing of Smallford Station – believing that the Station Master’s House should be included.
State of Repair
We have serious concerns about the lack of maintenance of the station building and its continuing deterioration. Our District Council representative is exploring this on our behalf.
Access to the Platform
As part of the Alban Way improvements, there were plans to provide access to the station platform via a ramp from the Car Park. SADC were advised to withdraw this as they could be liable for any accidents that resulted from members of the public falling from the platform. This advice appears to be based on an interpretation of a Building Regulation and we are doing our best to find out who provided this advice and get the decision reversed.
Many of our plans for the future of the station rely on public access – eg to be able to use the station as a Community Heritage Centre. Our District Council representative is exploring this on our behalf.
Making our Collection more Accessible: Developing our Archive and our Website
One of our Committee Members, John Darnton, has initiated a long-term project to update our website – to make our on-line archive more readily available and far easier to research.
Keeping in Contact with our Members and Friends
Anna Hammerin, who works at UH, spent some considerable time putting together very professional looking, Newsletters. We had hoped to make this a regular publication but, unfortunately, due to many other commitments, Anna resigned and, currently, we do not have anyone with the necessary skills and capabilities to continue.
Mailchimp Email Circulation List
The number of subscribers to our Mailchimp Email Circulation List has risen over the past year from 63 to 83. In the past year we circulated 21 emails; the open rate ranging from 55%-75%.
We have established a Facebook Group (@ouralbanway) and occasionally post information. Roger Taylor and Alastair Cameron have started providing some brief historical details for posts that we hope users will find of interest. We also post information on five other local Facebook Groups.
- Some Newly Available Items
The Hatfield & St Albans Railway Branch of the GNR: More Tales & Research: We have published this new booklet written by Roger D Taylor, one of the co-authors of the original book on the History of the Hatfield & St Albans Railway. Roger remains a very good friend and supporter of our Society.
Fridge Magnets: Our very first merchandising item!
We have decided not to put a purchase price on these items but have a suggested minimum donation.
Items added to our Collection over the Past Year
These include –
by Roger Taylor
- ”Buffalo Bill’s Wild West”, St Albans, 1904: Original Programme plus copies of Advertising Handbill and Newspaper Report:
- Photo Album: Railtours on the Hatfield & St Albans Branch, 1955 & 1961
- Replica BR Totem-style Station Signs: Smallford, Nast Hyde Halt & St Albans Abbey
by Peter Moore
- 5 Great Northern Railway Rail Chairs and 2 Fixings, 4 Short Lengths of Rail
- BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR LOCAL HISTORY
We continue to be members of this association (£75/annum) especially since membership includes Public Liability Insurance.
- SOME OF OUR CURRENT CHALLENGES
Especially with the resignation of three Committee Members, we’re seeking people who would like to get actively involved in our work and exciting plans: some of the roles are –
- Committee Member
- Generating Income
- Publicity and publication design
- Website development
- Participate in our exciting projects
- Take on new projects – eg booklet on nature along the Alban Way
- Update some of our publications – eg trifold, guided walk booklet…
- Finding out how the line was used during both World Wars? We’ve made no progress whatever on this matter despite significant efforts
- CALENDAR OF ACTIVITIES: 2019
Presentations relating to our work
Presentation: Bringing the History of Smallford Station to Life
1st April Hatfield Townswomen’s Guild
Presentation: Improving the Environment around Smallford Station
16th May Smallford Residents’ Association: AGM
12th June Borras
Presentation: The Varying Fortunes of the Hatfield & St Albans Railway
6th August Letchworth Arts & Leisure Transport & Industrial Heritage Group
22nd October Welwyn & District History Society:
18th November Priory Methodist Church: Men’s Railway Group, Bedford
27th April Luton Model Railway Club: Flitwick
1st/2nd June St Albans Steam & Country Fair
22nd June Nast Hyde Open Day
14th Sep St Albans Heritage Open Day
15th Sep Colney Heath Village Hall Open Day
11th & 21st May
14th Sep Short Walks from Smallford – Nast Hyde as part of our Heritage Open Day
FUTURE CALENDAR OF ACTIVITIES: 2020
Presentations relating to our work
Presentation: Bringing the History of Smallford Station & Alban Way to Life
12th February Essendon WI
18th February St Albans U3A
Presentation: The Varying Fortunes of the Hatfield & St Albans Railway
31st March 2020 RCTS Hitchin Branch: WGC
18th April Luton Model Railway Society
6th&7th June St Albans Steam & Country Show
11th-20th Sept Heritage Open Days: Sarah Holloway
Jeff Lewis: Chair:
Our Financial Year End is 30th September
Our treasurer, Hugh Burrell, resigned in January this year being replaced by Rob Brook. We thank Hugh for all of his help during his time as treasurer.
The following is a summary of transactions for this accounting year ending 30th September.
Membership Subscriptions 170.00
Donations derived from Exhibitions 169.22
Donations derived from Walks 50.00
Donations derived from Presentations, books, merchandise 360.00
Total Income 749.22
Exhibitions, signs, booklets 285.65
IT Subscriptions, software 79.99
Stationary, ink, printer 263.01
BALM Membership 75.00
Total Expenditure 703.65
Opening Balance at Bank 2508.42
Closing Balance at Bank 2553.99
Rob Brook: Treasurer: SSAWHS
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY’S REPORT
We currently have 82 Friends and Members – last year this was 63: Of these –
- 17 are paid up Members
- 8 are Honorary Members
- 31 have signed up on-line (www.smallford.org/membership) as Friends
Roger Gray: Membership Secretary: SSAWHS