Hertfordshire

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Not to be confused with Herefordshire.
Hertfordshire
County
County Flag of Hertfordshire.svg Coat of arms of Hertfordshire County Council
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Trust and fear not"
Hertfordshire within England
Hertfordshire shown within England
Coordinates: 51°54′N 0°12′W / 51.9°N 0.2°W / 51.9; -0.2Coordinates: 51°54′N 0°12′W / 51.9°N 0.2°W / 51.9; -0.2
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region East
Established Ancient
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Dione Grimston
High Sheriff Fiona Trenchard
Area 1,643 km2 (634 sq mi)
 – Ranked 36th of 48
Population (2011 est.) 1,119,800
 – Ranked 13th of 48
Density 682 /km2 (1,770 /sq mi)
Ethnicity 80.8% White British
1.5% White Irish
0.1% White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
5.1% Other White
0.8% White & Black Caribbean
0.3% White & Black African
0.8% White & Asian
0.6% Other Mixed
2.6% Indian
1.1% Pakistani
0.5% Bangladeshi
0.8% Chinese
1.6% Other Asian
1.8% Black African
0.8% Black Caribbean
0.3% Other Black
0.2% Arab
0.4% Other
Non-metropolitan county
County council Hertfordshire County Council
Executive Conservative
Admin HQ Hertford
Area 1,643 km2 (634 sq mi)
 – Ranked 26th of 27
Population 1,119,800
 – Ranked 6th of 27
Density 682 /km2 (1,770 /sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-HRT
ONS code 26
GSS code E10000015
NUTS UKH23
Website www.hertfordshire.gov.uk
HertfordshireNumbered.png
Districts of Hertfordshire
Districts
  1. Three Rivers
  2. Watford
  3. Hertsmere
  4. Welwyn Hatfield
  5. Broxbourne
  6. East Hertfordshire
  7. Stevenage
  8. North Hertfordshire
  9. St Albans
  10. Dacorum
Members of Parliament List of MPs
Police Hertfordshire Constabulary
Time zone GMT (UTC)
– Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)

Hertfordshire (Listeni/ˈhɑrtfərdʃɪər/ or /ˈhɑrtfərdʃər/; abbreviated Herts) is a county in England. It is one of the home counties and is bordered by Bedfordshire to the north, Cambridgeshire to the north-east, Essex to the east, Buckinghamshire to the west and Greater London to the south. The county town is Hertford.

History[edit]

Hertfordshire was the area assigned to a fortress constructed at Hertford under the rule of Edward the Elder in 913. Hertford is derived from the Anglo-Saxon heort ford, meaning deer crossing (of a watercourse). The name Hertfordshire is first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1011. Deer feature in many county emblems.

There is evidence of humans living in Hertfordshire from the Middle Stone Age. It was first farmed during the Neolithic period and permanent habitation appeared at the beginning of the Bronze Age. This was followed by tribes settling in the area during the Iron Age.

Following the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, the aboriginal Catuvellauni quickly submitted and adapted to the Roman life; resulting in the development of several new towns, including Verulamium (St Albans). It was here in c. 293 that the first British martyrdom took place. St. Alban, a Romano-British soldier, took the place of a Christian priest and was beheaded on Holywell Hill. His martyr's cross of a yellow saltire on a blue background is reflected in the flag and coat of arms of Hertfordshire as the yellow background to the stag or Hart representing the county. He is the Patron Saint of Hertfordshire.

With the departure of the Roman Legions in the early 5th century, the now unprotected territory was invaded and colonised by the Anglo-Saxons. By the 6th century the majority of the modern county was part of the East Saxon kingdom. This relatively short lived kingdom collapsed in the 9th century, ceding the territory of Hertfordshire to the control of the West Anglians of Mercia. The region finally became an English shire in the 10th century, on the merger of the West Saxon and Mercian kingdoms.

A century later the victorious William of Normandy received the surrender of the surviving senior English Lords and Clergy, at Berkhamsted, resulting in a new Anglicised title of William the Conqueror. He then embarked on an uncontested entry into London and coronation at Westminster.

After the Norman conquest, Hertfordshire was used for some of the new Norman castles at Bishop's Stortford and at the royal residence of Berkhamsted and at King's Langley, a staging post between London and the royal residence of Berkhamsted.

The Domesday Book recorded the county as having nine hundreds. Tring and Danais became one—Dacorum—from Danis Corum or Danish rule harking back to a Viking not Saxon past. The other seven were Braughing, Broadwater, Cashio, Edwinstree, Hertford, Hitchin and Odsey.

As London grew, Hertfordshire became conveniently close to the English capital; much of the area was owned by the nobility and aristocracy, this patronage helped to boost the local economy. However, the greatest boost to Hertfordshire came during the Industrial Revolution, after which the population rose dramatically. In 1903, Letchworth became the world's first garden city and Stevenage became the first town to redevelop under the New Towns Act 1946.

From the 1920s until the late 1980s, the town of Borehamwood was home to one of the major British film studio complexes, including the MGM-British Studios. Many well-known films were made here including the first three Star Wars movies (IV, V, & VI). The studios generally used the name of Elstree (the adjoining village). American director Stanley Kubrick not only used to shoot in those studios but also lived in the area until his death. In more recent times, Elstree has had the likes of Big Brother UK and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? filmed there, whilst EastEnders is also filmed at the studios. Also Hertfordshire has seen development in other film studio complexes, Leavesden Film Studios were developed on the Leavesden Aerodome site, north of Watford. The Harry Potter series was filmed at the studios, whilst the 1996 James Bond film GoldenEye was also filmed there.[1]

On 17 October 2000, the Hatfield rail crash killed four people with 170 injured. The crash exposed the shortcomings of Railtrack, which consequently saw speed restrictions and major track replacement. On 10 May 2002, the second of the Potters Bar rail accidents occurred killing seven people; the train was at high speed when it derailed and flipped into the air when one of the carriages slid along the platform where it came to rest. In early December 2005 the 2005 Hemel Hempstead fuel depot explosions occurred at the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal.

In 2012, the canoe and kayak slalom events of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games took place in the town of Waltham Cross, within the borough of Broxbourne.

Following a proposal put forward by The Welwyn Garden Heritage Trust, town-planner Andrés Duany has suggested that designated "Garden Villages" could be built within Hertfordshire to relieve some of the pressure for new homes, with perhaps a third Garden City to follow.[citation needed]

Geography[edit]

Hertfordshire is located immediately to the north of Greater London and is part of the East of England Government Office Region.[2] Much of the county is part of the London commuter belt. To the east of Hertfordshire is Essex, to the west is Buckinghamshire and to the north are Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

The county's boundaries were fixed by the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844 which eliminated exclaves. They were amended when, in 1965 under the London Government Act 1963, East Barnet Urban District and Barnet Urban District were abolished and their area was transferred to Greater London to form part of the present-day London Borough of Barnet. At the same time the Potters Bar Urban District of Middlesex was transferred to Hertfordshire.

The highest point in the county is 803 feet (245 m) above sea level, a quarter mile (400 m) from the village of Hastoe near Tring.[citation needed]

As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Pasqueflower as Hertfordshire's county flower.[citation needed]

Geology[edit]

The rocks of Hertfordshire belong to the great shallow syncline known as the London Basin. The beds dip in a south-easterly direction towards the syncline's lowest point roughly under the River Thames. The most important formations are the Cretaceous Chalk, exposed as the high ground in the north and west of the county, forming the Chiltern Hills and the younger Palaeocene, Reading Beds and Eocene, London Clay which occupy the remaining southern part. The eastern half of the county was covered by glaciers during the Ice Age and has a superficial layer of glacial boulder clays.

Natural resources and environment[edit]

Despite the spread of built areas, much of the county is given over to agriculture. One product, now largely defunct, was water-cress, based in Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted supported by reliable, clean chalk rivers.

Some quarrying of sand and gravel occurs in the St. Albans area. In the past, clay has supplied local brick-making and still does in Bovingdon, just south-west of Hemel Hempstead. The chalk that is the bedrock of much of the county provides an aquifer that feeds streams and is also exploited to provide water supplies for much of the county and beyond. Chalk has also been used as a building material and, once fired, the resultant lime was spread on agricultural land to improve fertility. The mining of chalk since the early 18th century has left unrecorded underground galleries that occasionally collapse unexpectedly and endanger buildings.[3]

Fresh water is supplied to London from Ware, using the New River built by Hugh Myddleton and opened in 1613. Local rivers, although small, supported developing industries such as paper production at Nash Mills.

Hertfordshire affords habitat for a variety of flora and fauna. One bird common in the shire is the Royston crow, which is the eponymous name of the regional newspaper, the Royston Crow published in Royston.

Urban areas[edit]

In November 2013, the uSwitch Quality of Life Index listed Hertfordshire as the third-best place to live in the UK.[4]

Economy[edit]

This is a table of trends of regional gross value added of Hertfordshire at current basic prices with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.[5]

Year Regional Gross Value Added[notes 1] Agriculture[notes 2] Industry[notes 3] Services[notes 4]
1995 11,742 96 3,292 8,354
2000 18,370 77 4,138 14,155
2003 20,937 82 4,348 16,507

Hertfordshire has headquarters of many large well-known UK companies. Hemel Hempstead is home to DSG International. Tesco is based in Cheshunt. Welwyn Garden City hosts Roche UK's headquarters (subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Hoffman-La Roche) and Cereal Partners production facilities, Pure the DAB radio maker is based in Kings Langley. JD Wetherspoon is in Watford. Comet and Skanska are in Rickmansworth, GlaxoSmithKline has plants in Ware and Stevenage. Hatfield used to be connected with the aircraft industry, as it was where de Havilland developed the world's first commercial jet liner, the Comet. Now the site is a business park and new campus for the University of Hertfordshire. This major new employment site is home to, among others, EE, Computacenter and Ocado. A subsidiary of BAE Systems, EADS and Finmeccanica in Stevenage, MBDA, develops missiles. In the same town EADS Astrium produces satellites. The National Pharmacy Association (NPA), the trade association for all of the UK's community pharmacies, is based in St. Albans. Warner Bros. also owns and runs Warner Studios in Leavesden.

Landmarks[edit]

Ashridge house
St Albans Abbey
Bluebells in Dockey Wood

Below is a list of places worthy of a visit in Hertfordshire:

Transport[edit]

Junction of the M1 and M25 near Hemel Hempstead
Virgin and London Midland trains at Watford Junction
The Metropolitan Line at Croxley

Hertfordshire lies across major road and rail routes connecting London to the Midlands, Northern England and Scotland. As one of the home counties, many towns in the county form part of the London commuter belt.

The county has some of the principal roads in England: A1, A1(M), A5, A6, A41, M1, M11, and M25.

Four principal national railway lines pass through the county:

A number of other local rail routes also cross Hertfordshire:

Due to Hertfordshire's proximity to London, two commuter lines operated by Transport for London enter the county:

Two international airports lie just outside the county Stansted and Luton. At Elstree, there is a busy airfield for light aircraft.

The Grand Union Canal passes through the west side of Hertfordshire, linking Rickmansworth, Watford, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring.


Intalink is an organisation run by the county council that manages the transport.

Education[edit]

Hertfordshire has 26 independent schools and 73 state secondary schools. The state secondary schools are entirely comprehensive, although 7 schools in the south and southwest of the county are partially selective (see Education in Watford). All state schools have sixth forms, and there are no sixth form colleges. The tertiary colleges, each with multiple campuses, are Hertford Regional College, North Hertfordshire College, Oaklands College and West Herts College. The University of Hertfordshire is a modern university based largely in Hatfield. It has more than 23,000 students.

Literature[edit]

Hertfordshire is the location of Jack Worthing's country house in Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest.

Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice is primarily set in Hertfordshire. Topographical scholars place the town of Meryton either as Hertford or Hemel Hempstead, based on how far Mr Collins travels on the post from Watford, in either an easterly or westerly direction. The former location places the Bennet family home Longbourn as the town of Ware.

The location of Mr Jarndyce's Bleak House in Charles Dickens's Bleak House is near St. Albans in Hertfordshire.

The eponymous residence in E. M. Forster's novel, Howards End was based on Rooks Nest House just outside Stevenage. In the novel, Forster describes Hertfordshire as "England at its quietest".[6]

George Orwell based his book Animal Farm on the village of Wallington, Hertfordshire where he lived between 1936 and 1940. Manor Farm and The Great Barn both feature in the novel.

Notable residents[edit]

Acclaimed seventeenth-century poet and romance writer Hester Pulter was a resident of Broadfield, Hertfordshire.[7] The town of Berkhamsted was home to the Christian poet and hymn-writer William Cowper and to novelist Graham Greene. Violinist Thomas Bowes was born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.[citation needed] American composer Jeff Wayne (his musical version of The War of the Worlds) resides in Hertfordshire.[citation needed]

Other present day celebrities born in Hertfordshire include Rupert Grint, George Michael, Guy Ritchie, Vinnie Jones, Victoria Beckham, Sarah Brightman, Geri Halliwell, Charli XCX and Simon Le Bon.[8]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  2. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  3. ^ includes energy and construction
  4. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "The East of England". East of England Local Government Association. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "About the chalk mines". Dacorum Borough Council. 2008. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  4. ^ Hassan, Jafar. "UK Quality of Life Index". uSwitch. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Regional Gross Value Added, Office for National Statistics, pp. 240–253.
  6. ^ Gutenberg etext
  7. ^ Robson, Mark. Pulter [née Ley], Lady Hester. Oxford DNB http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/68094?docPos=1 |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  8. ^ http://www.imdb.com/search/name? birth_place=Hertfordshire,%20England,%20UK&sort=starmeter,asc

External links[edit]