The Road Through Harpenden

by Chris Reynolds


A Meeting of the St Albans Highway Board


The monthly meeting of this Board was held at the Town Hall on Saturday morning, present - Mr. J. Parrott, vice-chairman, presiding; G. R. Marten, Esq., and H. J. Toulmin, Esq. (ex-officio); and Messrs. Ransome, George, and Waghorn.


The Surveyor produced a letter he had received from Mr Rumball, complaining of the very dangerous corner in the Harpenden-road, at Beech Bottom; and stating that Mr. Denison the proprietor of the adjoining land had consented to give a portion of the land to be thrown into the road.

The Clerk said he knew the corner alluded to. There were high banks on each side so that it was impossible to see if any other vehicle was coming, and he remembered that the late Mr. Toulmin once had a horse killed at the spot.

In answer to a question, the Surveyor said the cost of clearing away the bank and reducing the corner would be about £10.

Mr. Toulmin said it was very dangerous for foot-passengers also. A short time ago Mrs. Toulminís chaise was nearly run into. He moved that Mr. Denisonís offer be accepted.

Mr Waghorn seconded.

On the question being put to the meeting, there voted three for and three against.

The Chairman [Mr J Purrott] said he must decide in favour of the improvement, and the proposition of Mr. Toulmin was then carried.

The Surveyor was directed to carry out the improvement, and the Board then adjourned.

The Herts Advertiser 20th December 1873

The Highway Boards were set up in about 1869 and were responsible for the local roads until the coming of the County Council in 1888. In addition to maintaining the roads the sold off the euphemistically named "road drift" - the mess left on the roads by passing horses and other animals - for use as fertilizer. In 1872 the drift for the St Albans Highway Board fetched £109.

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