40th anniversary of Harpenden Local History Society - donation of the "H J Joel Cup" by Harpenden Horticultural Society

and presentations to Amy Coburn & John Carpenter

By Rosemary Ross

Photo:Anniversary cake

Anniversary cake

John Olley, April 2013

The 40th AGM of Harpenden & District Local History Society took place on 23 April 2013. After the formal business, Bernard Dennis, past Chairman of the Harpenden Horticultural Society, presented the “H J Joel Cup” to the Society for its archive collection. This was formally received by the Chairman.

Photo:Gavin Ross, Chairman, receiving the Joel Cup from Bernard Dennis of the Harpenden Horticultural Society

Gavin Ross, Chairman, receiving the Joel Cup from Bernard Dennis of the Harpenden Horticultural Society

John Olley

Bernard Dennis gave a brief history of Harpenden Horticultural Society from when it was founded in 1879. It organised large shows in Rothamsted Park with gymkanas, bands such as the Grenadier Guards and exhibits from the big estates (grown by their gardeners). However, the Society had to be wound up in 1931, having become insolvent.

In 1946 the Harpenden Horticultural Society was re-formed in the period of post-war enthusiasm for gardening when further allotments were established, including the private allotments in the Lea Valley at the bottom of Westfield Road. From 1946 Jim Joel of Childwickbury - the successful horse breeder - was Vice President and he donated a silver cup "for a collection of vegetables, championship class" at the first show in 1946. He remained President until his death at the age of 97 in 1992. Now that the Society no longer holds annual shows, the committee had decided to present the Cup - a silver trophy inscribed with the many winners - to the Local History Society, for its safe keeping and in memory of Jim Joel's generosity to the community.

The presentation was followed by a talk by Amy Coburn  about Bells, including a brief history of bell-ringing, her many years as a bell-ringer, particularly at St Nicholas church, and the history and names of the eight bells in St Nicholas, Harpenden.

Photo:Amy Coburn & John Carpenter

Amy Coburn & John Carpenter

John Olley

Members then celebrated the retirement of Amy and John Carpenter from the committee. Amy had served from the Society's inauguration, initially as membership secretary, and John was a founder-member of the Society, and long-standing committee member, with particular interest in the timber-framed houses which survive in the Harpenden area.


Photo:The Joel cup

The Joel cup


Photo:John Carpenter and Amy Coburn, outside St Nicholas church

John Carpenter and Amy Coburn, outside St Nicholas church

Alan Bunting, April 2013

This page was added by Rosemary Ross on 23/05/2013.

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