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News Review 2002

It was another year when a local train crash caused death, injury and commuter misery. This site launched a new interactive forum, which resulted in 200 forum members posting more than 1,700 messages on more than 120 local issues. Speeding, fly tipping and neighbourhood noise seemed to dominate the forum. Gobions Woodland Trust set out a five-year plan for conservation and historical restoration. And the North Mymms Local History Society launched a new photographic history of the parish with all 1,000 being snapped up in six weeks.


Brookmans Park Transmitting Station
Brookmans Park Transmitting Station
Camera courtesy of Fujifilm
The year began the way it ended with a warning from police about the risk of bogus callers. They said that in the month leading up to Christmas 2001, there were 82 so called 'distraction burglaries' in Hertfordshire compared with 40 in the same period the previous year.

It is situated on one of the highest points in the southeast. It has blown down twice. It causes radiators, toasters and waste bins to play music. Automatic garage doors also open of their own accord. The Brookmans Park Transmitting Station is a local landmark and local historian Lilian Caras agreed that her feature about the history of the site, written in 1982, could be put online for the first time.

The old ‘Have Your Say’ section of this site was replaced at the end of January with a new more interactive forum. Since then, the Brookmans Park Newsletter Forum has attracted 200 members posting almost 1,800 messages on more than 120 subjects.


Fly tipping down Bradmore Lane
Fly tipping down Bradmore Lane
Camera courtesy of Fujifilm
Many of the stories published on the site following the launch of the new forum were as a direct result of issues raised in the forum. One concerned the future use of the 20-acre field to the south of Brookmans Park at the corner of Bluebridge Road and Hawkshead Road.

Another thread explored the possibility of a pedestrian crossing on Bluebridge Road.

The issue of fly tipping seemed to be a year-long concern.

The month ended with the publication of a second book about the history of the Brookmans Park Transmitting Station, this time it was a BBC booklet. Permission was given for the full work to be reproduced on this site.


The cracks in Folly Arch
The cracks in Folly Arch
Camera courtesy of Fujifilm
A neat little function was added to the site in early March and put on the front page. It is a link to a pop-up box showing whether the next trains due to arrive and depart from Brookmans Park station are on time or late. It is found on the left of the front page under the link ’Trains within next hour’.

The cracks in Folly Arch seemed to be getting worse and there was talk that repairs would be undertaken in the summer. The North Mymms Green Belt Society continued to report the latest news on the situation on its website. The summer came and went and the year ended without Folly Arch being repaired.


Bluebridge Road Brookmans Park
Bluebridge Road Brookmans Park
Camera courtesy of Fujifilm
Possible traffic calming measures for Bluebridge Road were raised in the forum in April with 50 people posting their thoughts and more than 1,100 reading the debate.

Forum debates continued in April with youth facilities in Brookmans Park, garden bonfires and the possibility of a jubilee street party the main subjects.

Issues were being debated thick and fast and it was thought that the village needed a residents’ association to follow them up and try to achieve results. A team of volunteers put their names forward and an unofficial North Mymms Online Residents' Association was formed.

The head teacher at Brookmans Park Primary sent out a warning to parents about parking outside the school. "I was appalled at the 12 parents who stopped their cars on the yellow zig zag lines outside the front entrance to the school to drop off their children. This poses a serious danger for those trying to cross the road and increases the traffic congestion as cars stack up behind them," she wrote.


One of the ten walks based on local pubs
One of the ten walks based on local pubs
May was the month when a train left the rails at Potters Bar killing five people at the scene with two more dying in hospital. BBC News Online created a special report on the accident. Commuters had to adjust to disrupted travel for some months as repairs were carried out. A new rail bridge was installed at Potters Bar in November.

Ten short walks were published on this site in May. All are in the region of three miles long and based on local pubs. The series included maps and directions.

Another power failure hit Brookmans Park with homes thrown in the dark for two hours one evening. The fault was traced to a substation in Potters Bar.

The forum discussed neighbourhood noise and the need for a BMX track for young people.


Brookmans Park Primary's 50th birthday cake
Brookmans Park Primary's 50th birthday cake
Camera courtesy of Fujifilm
The BMX track, discussed in the forum the previous month, was finally built thanks to a team of 40 volunteers, which included parents, children and the local scouts. The work took two days to complete.

The annual Brookmans Park Village Day marked the 50th anniversary of the school and raised £7,000 for PTA funds. As with other years a number of pages of photographs were posted on the site, although some had to be removed following a request from some parents and the school regarding the identification of individuals.

Two months earlier an invitation was posted on the site for regular users to contribute features for publication. In June, talk of big cats in the area started again in the forum. Local resident John Fraser wrote a feature putting the case against the Brookmans Park puma.


A photo from 1926 of one of the new houses on the Brookmans Park estate
A photo from 1926 of one of the new houses on the Brookmans Park estate
In July, a sales brochure from 1926 advertising Brookmans Park as having "All the beauty of the countryside at its best" was re published on the site.

A Dutch user of the site submitted a feature which followed a trip down memory lane. Hendrien Ferkranus had earlier spotted her childhood home, the Octagonal Lodge at North Mymms Park, on this site. Months of research and e-mails resulted in a family visit to the Lodge and Park with Hendrien later writing about her experience for the site.

The forum discussed kids on the street, bonfires and whether there should be a tearoom and a skate park in Brookmans Park. There was also concern expressed in the forum about Chancellor's admissions policy after two local children failed to win places.


North Mymms 'mass dial'
North Mymms 'mass dial'
Camera courtesy of Fujifilm
In August, a religious sundial, dating back to 1584, was located on the wall of St Mary's Parish Church, North Mymms, following information unearthed by the local history society.

The Gobions Woodland Trust produced its latest report including a proposal for the future of the woodland area. More was revealed on this in September.

Two new studies, based on work carried out by and for the Gobions Woodland Trust were added to the site. One on the herbs found in the woodland and the other on the shrubs and trees. A four-page picture gallery of local birds was also improved and updated.

There were problems with the phones due to rain damaging cables on the Great North Road, weeks of communication and traffic disruption followed and there was a short-lived problem with a bug in the drinking water.

The Brookmans Park Newsletter was again commended in the annual New Statesman New Media Awards.


Aerial views of Brookmans Park
Aerial views of Brookmans Park
In September a number of aerial photographs were published on the site after local resident Paul Large of Falcon Media flew over the village in a light aircraft and took some snaps.

Gobions Woodland Trust published its five-year plan for the woodland which focused on nature conservation and historical restoration.

The forum discussed ‘bangs in the night’ with much speculation as to what caused the noise and who was behind it. In the end the police got involved and issued a warning to what they described as ‘the idiot’ to ‘pack it in’.


A large tree falls victim to the storms of October 2002
A large tree falls victim to the storms of October 2002
Camera courtesy of Fujifilm
In October the area was hit by fierce storms. Several lanes and roads were closed because of fallen trees. Gobions woodland survived the storm but many paths were blocked by fallen trees and branches although volunteers cleared them within 24 hours.

Flood alleviation work was announced for Mimmshall Brook to try to prevent the type of flooding that had led to several residents of Warrengate Road evacuating their homes in October 2000.

‘North Mymms Pictures from the Past’ went on sale for £2. The 64-page book contained more than 100 photographs dating back 130 years. The society gave permission for the book to be reproduced, in full, on this site.

A new feature about local tank traps, set up as part of the war time defences, was added to the site’s History section.

And readers of the Welwyn Hatfield Times voted Woodside Lane in Bell Bar as one of the area’s worst fly-tipping blackspots.


Aerial view of St Mary's Church c.1930 - showing the spire known as the 'Hertfordshire Spike'
Aerial view of St Mary's Church c.1930 - showing the spire known as the 'Hertfordshire Spike'.
The film-making skills of Brookmans Park’s, Charlie Productions, were highlighted by the BBC in a five-page feature which followed the team through a 48-hour race against the clock to produce a short film in record time.

There was yet another appeal for adults to help run the local youth club as efforts continued to try to find activities to benefit the young.

An art find in Florida, featuring a local couple who lived in North Mymms almost 100 years ago, led an American man to turn to the web to find out more about Sir William and Lady Anne Leese. A book in this site’s history section helped him piece the story together.

Police issued a warning about the dangers of BB guns and the likelihood of arrest by armed officers if they are used in public places. And trading standards warned about fake whisky on sale locally which could result in serious illness.

More chapters from the pictorial history of North Mymms were published throughout the month.

The forum discussed the issue of editing with a claim that some edits to contributions were unnecessary, restricted free speech and were inconsistent. The site's editorial team rejected the charge and again pointed users to the forum agreement and the editorial policy.


Water End School circa 1850. Pencil drawing by Mrs. F.R. Faithfull - a relative of 'The Pretty American'
Water End School circa 1850. Pencil drawing by Mrs. F.R. Faithfull - a relative of 'The Pretty American'.
All 1,000 copies of a photographic history of North Mymms, published in October, were snapped up within six weeks. A spokesman for the North Mymms Local History Society said he was amazed at how quickly they had gone. Luckily the book can still be enjoyed on this site.

Another direct descendent of ‘The Pretty American’, mentioned in the history pages of this site, has traced his family history across the Atlantic to North Mymms. This is the second time in less than three years that relatives of Frances Ruth Payson have found their way to the Brookmans Park Newsletter to discover more about their family history.

The Key Stage 2 school results were published in early December with mixed results for local primary schools.

North Mymms Parish Council ended the Queen's Golden Jubilee year by unveiling a plaque at the foot of an oak tree on the village green in Welham Green.

It was a good year end of year for both WAGN and Hertfordshire County Council.

The train operator was one of only three companies nationwide to show an improvement in performance according to the Strategic Rail Authority.

Hertfordshire County meanwhile was voted one of the top 22 local authorities in England by the Audit Commission and was placed in the "excellent" category for the way it delivers its services.

December 15, 2002

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