Blue plaque honour for famous Hertfordshire woodcarver

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 December 2010

Harry MacDonald woodcarving

Harry MacDonald woodcarving

Archant

A WORLD-FAMOUS woodcarver has been honoured with a blue plaque at the site of his former home.

Blue plaque in Woolmer Green

Harry MacDonald moved to Woolmer Green in 1937 and set up his woodcarving business in a barn at the junction of New Road and Great North Road.

To attract new business Harry carved the giant figure of a policeman who stood holding up a hand to the passing traffic, encouraging passers-by to stop and look at his business.

The side of Harry’s cottage was eventually covered with his carvings and became a local landmark.

The garden, too, was full of Harry’s carvings and home to one of the first model villages in the country.

The woodcarver’s cottage became so well known that it attracted the attention of several press agents and was the subject of newspaper and periodical articles and a number of short films.

By the end of his life, the woodcarver’s cottage was internationally famous.

As a result, during World War Two a number of American and Australian servicemen visited his cottage and said they recognised it from films and magazines they had seen.

Parish councillor Judith Watson said: “It has long been a desire of Woolmer Green Parish Council to honour Harry MacDonald.

“Sadly his house and garden were demolished on his death – a total tragedy for what was only the third model village in the country.

“The blue plaque marking his life is now proudly displayed on the wall of the pair of houses now standing on the spot of his life’s work.”

The plaque was paid for by Jeff Jackson of Jackson’s Garage in Knebworth, who has a long association with Woolmer Green.

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