Hatfield of Yesteryear celebrates five years of bringing people together

PUBLISHED: 17:17 14 March 2020

Hatfield of Yesteryear celebrates fifth birthday. Picture: John Hawthorne.

Hatfield of Yesteryear celebrates fifth birthday. Picture: John Hawthorne.

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A Facebook group in Hatfield – which has has brought people together from as far as New Zealand and the USA, and reunited loved ones – has celebrated its fifth birthday.

Hatfield of Yesteryear celebrates fifth birthday. Picture: John Hawthorne. 
Hatfield of Yesteryear celebrates fifth birthday. Picture: John Hawthorne.

Hatfield of Yesteryear - which has been run since 2015 by John Hawthorne, Mick Bryce, Mick Steward, Collin Bates and Neil Fairweather - turned five on Saturday.

John, a founder of the group, said: 'I didn't think for one moment it would become so popular.

'Lots of the people have moved away and its a good way for them to keep in touch with [their] town.'

The group - which shares old photos and memories from Hatfield's past - has also turned John into a local celebrity.

Hatfield of Yesteryear celebrates fifth birthday. Picture: John Hawthorne. 
Hatfield of Yesteryear celebrates fifth birthday. Picture: John Hawthorne.

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When interviewing John at Erol's Cafe, to celebrate the five years, this WHT reporter was interrupted by a fan of John's who wanted to thank him for posting old photographs. She recognised the picture of his mother that he posted recently.

John, 63, has many photographs from over the years thanks to his grandfather Charles Chapman - who was a gamekeeper at the park at Hatfield House, and friends with the owner of photography shop in Hatfield.

However he lost many of the photos as they became stuck together due to the cold - and not realising they could be saved - he took them to the dump.

Hatfield of Yesteryear celebrates fifth birthday. Picture: John Hawthorne. 
Hatfield of Yesteryear celebrates fifth birthday. Picture: John Hawthorne.

His father bought land, where the Galleria now stands, and built a house in the early 1930s and in the 1970s John worked in demolishing houses and then later made electronic drums in St Albans. He then left that job to work for the railway, which he was made redundant from, and has since retired.

Laura Churchill, who regularly posts in the group, said on March 6 she was travelling home on the 653 bus when she noticed how the Roe Green deli has changed. She always remembers there was a dip and there where a 'big rope swing [was] fixed high up on a tree. The Land Girls that were working on the farm joined us and we swung right out and around the dell.'

The get-together took place at Sparks Community Cafe, located at the bottom of Queensway House, and was attended by patrons of the group.

You can find more on Hatfield of Yesteryear by searching Facebook for the group.


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