Potters Bar historian entertains care home residents

PUBLISHED: 09:27 02 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:27 02 May 2018

Potters Bar historian Chris Cook talks to Cooperscroft resident Patrick Hastings.
Picture: Supplied by Jill Hellary

Potters Bar historian Chris Cook talks to Cooperscroft resident Patrick Hastings. Picture: Supplied by Jill Hellary

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Care home residents were able to reminisce thanks to a talk on the history of Potters Bar by a local historian.

Potters Bar historian Chris Cook with Jill Hellary at Cooperscroft care home.
Picture: Supplied by Jill HellaryPotters Bar historian Chris Cook with Jill Hellary at Cooperscroft care home. Picture: Supplied by Jill Hellary

Chris Cook, a member of the Potters Bar and District Historical Society, recently paid a special visit to Cooperscroft Care Home in Potters Bar.

Mr Cook began by explaining some of his personal history, including memories of specific events.

He went on to explain how Potters Bar emerged from the dominance of South Mimms and how the various hamlets such as Dugdale Hill and Coopers Lane came to be subsumed into the town.

In the mid and late 1800s, school logs showed how Potters Bar was still heavily influenced by agriculture with children working in the fields instead of returning to school in August.

Potters Bar historian Chris Cook gave a talk to Cooperscroft residents.
Picture: Supplied by Jill HellaryPotters Bar historian Chris Cook gave a talk to Cooperscroft residents. Picture: Supplied by Jill Hellary

Residents were treated to two digital slideshows of Potters Bar, created by Jill Hellary.

The history behind several of the places, including St John the Baptist Church in the High Street, was explained and reference made to the first wedding on February 14 1840 between George Attwood and Emma Stafford.

The groom, bride and witnesses all signed by means of an ‘X’ highlighting the lack of education at the time.

It was another 20 months before the next wedding.

Mr Cook explained how St Mary the Virgin took over as parish church in 1916 but that St John’s was not demolished until 1968.

A reading from a PBDHS booklet ‘Memories of Potters Bar 1913 – 1920’ by Eileen Baillie was given, which dramatically conveyed the stunned silence as guests at a garden party became aware of the rumblings of the guns in Flanders.

A brief account of how Potters Bar developed into a commuter town in the 1930s was discussed and the talk concluded with some brief details of the downing of the Zeppelin in 1916.

Residents were interested to know of the origins of Billy Lows for which two accounts were offered. Other local names such as Dancers Hill were mentioned and the famous quote relating to Admiral John Byng being executed ‘pour encourager les autres’.

“Having been a Potters Bar resident for many years, I knew some of the history but it was very interesting to have some clarification from Chris who was very knowledgeable” said Cooperscroft resident Patrick Hastings.

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