Hatfield New Town Market

David Evens

I was born in 1953 and lived the first 20 years of my life in Hatfield..Hatfield was created as a New Town in ine with places like Welwyn Garden City and Harlow..Did the New Towns work for their intended purpose? That’s an on-going debate I suppose…In hindsight, back in the ’50’s and ’60’s I think there was far too much ‘infrastructure’…Lines and lines of houses..It seemed to be all brick and concrete back then. The centre of the town held a kind of two teir shopping centre looking over a central square (of concrete) where a lively Market was held on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s..It was incredibly busy too i recall, with a whole range of traders there…The usual Fruit and Veg…A guy selling off-cuts of wood..An Asian trader who sold very ‘Indiany’ things like Joss Sticks or brass coffee tables and little carved ornaments…Someone selling live pets…Unthikable today!…There would be a box of tortoises with their prices painted on their shells in white marker ‘2/6 – 5/9’ Shillings and Pence of course….Records…Haberdashery..i remember them calling out loudly from their stall…” Bob a yard elastic…” Hot food wasn’t as exotic as today but there was a mobile Burger / Hot Dog bar with smell of fried onion…But mostly I recall a man who had about 4 – 5 stalls in a row who sold Tools…Loads of hand tools…You name it!..Tray upon tray of spanners, saws, drills, pliers..the Lot! Men would stand there for ages in line against his stall looking through what he’d laid out for their delight.

Surrounding the market square though, was a kind of concrete area filled shallowly with water. For whatever reason wasn’t clear, and this just became a place to throw rubbish and was soon emptied of water, although it still attracted plenty of rubbish….Funny what you remember from your past isn’t it?

This page was added on 17/10/2020.

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