Halfway down the six mile Hatfield - St.Albans railway track - now the Alban Way - sits the platform and ticket office of Smallford Station which closed to passengers in 1951. But now a group of enthusiasts have won a substantial grant to bring its history back to life and they are seeking more help from anyone interested in the project. Future plans may even include sprucing up some of the remaining stations still evident along the track.
The Smallford Residents’ Association (SRA) has received £9,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for this truly exciting project named, ‘Bringing the History of Smallford Station to Life’.
Led by volunteers from the local area, the project focuses on the history of Smallford Station and the Branch Line it served, and the impact this had on nearby communities.
The project will support local people, from enthusiasts to people who have never done anything like this before, to research and explore an aspect of the history of their community and present their findings in a variety of ways. These will include telling stories, holding exhibitions, developing a website and giving presentations.
The grant will provide project members with a series of workshops together with on-going support, a range of high quality equipment plus a number of visits – eg to The National Railway Museum in York and The National Archives in Kew.
The Project thereby represents an unprecedented opportunity for many people in and around Smallford, Sleapshyde and St Albans, to gain a deeper insight into this previously under-researched part of their local history and develop a wide range of valuable research and communication skills working with heritage professionals from The University of Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies Centre and St Albans Museum,.
Commenting on the award, Jeff Lewis, Chair SRA, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will support many local people in following and developing their interests in a wide range of areas – eg researching, interviewing, creating videos, designing exhibitions, developing a website, writing stories. We are particularly excited at the thought of finding people who recall the station and branch line when they were operating and capturing their memories for posterity!”
Robin Llewellyn, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: “Clearly the success of All Our Stories has reinforced the fact that we are indeed a nation of story tellers and that we want to explore and dig deeper into our past and discover more about what really matters to us. This is exactly what the grant will do for the Smallford Residents’ Association Initiative as they embark on a real journey of discovery.”