HARPENDEN & ST ALBANS TRIP
Saturday 23th September 1995
Somewhat belatedly HASSRALE has decided to embark upon the first of its "Summer" all day trips. Although the research took place in the summer the timing of the events has been delayed, mainly due to laziness on the Secretary's behalf. Anyway this trip (the trial for which took place in pouring rain incidentally) follows on from an original trip devised by Dave Saffery who has now migrated to Leeds, to celebrate his 50th birthday on 31st March 1990 (no secrets round here, Dave). Trains to Harpenden leave Blackfriars at 07, 22, 37 and 52 minutes past the hour, (6 mins earlier from London Bridge) arriving at 45, 01, 14 and 29 past the hour. I would recommend the 11.37. On emerging from the station turn right down the approach road (noting the chip shop at the end, Cod & Chips £1-99) to Station Rd itself then left along this narrow road until the T-junction with the High St. On the left is our first port of call. Approximate leaving times are shown in [ ].
1. Harpenden Arms - High Street [13.15]
Fullers ESB, London Pride, Summer Ale, Hock.
This is a comfortable one-bar pub with a fair amount of seating and an extensive restaurant area at the far end overlooking the common. There also appears to be a library perched above the bar. A small through fireplace forms a partition in the middle and resticts the area in front of the bar at that point. The restaurant starts serving at 12 noon, and specialises in Thai and Continental food. Unusually we shall be calling back later, but I do not think they will still be serving food by then. On leaving cross over Station Road to the High Street and head to the right. You will note that the main road is set apart from the shops which are down to your right. We need to follow along here until on the right is ...
2. The Cross Keys - 39 High Street [14.00]
Wadworth 6X; Brakspears Bitter; Boddingtons Bitter.
Splendid, quiet old-fashioned pub with a low roof and a flagstone floor in the public bar that has the brass cross-keys emblem let into it. The second bar is plusher and carpeted. Seating comprises old chairs and rickety benches round the walls. Impressive old beams (but not from the locals) are festooned with pewter tankards, all numbered, but at 100+ can they all be for the regulars?. Emerge from here and walk up to the High St again. Cross at the lights and up on the left past the church is ...
3. The Old Cock Tavern - High Street [14.30]
Courage Directors; Theakstons Best; Websters Yorkshire Bitter.
Very popular establishment, especially so due to its proximity to the church. Hence the wedding party occupying most of the place on the trial run. Quite sizeable with authentic fibreglass beams and a large seating area. A former Chef & Brewer pub this still boasts a reasonable range of food at reasonable prices too. Open all day as were all the other pubs that we visited. Exit past the church and continue along Church Green. This leads to Leyton Green diagonally across which on the opposite corner is ...
4. The Oak Tree - 15 Leyton Green [15.15]
Eldridge Pope Royal Oak; Fullers London Pride; Wadworth 6X; Theakston XB; Tetley Bitter; Boddingtons Bitter; McMullens AK Mild.
Formerly a McMullen's pub called the Oddfellows Arms, this now appears to be a free house judging by the range of beers. It has been recently refurbished and the interior is light and airy somewhat reminiscent of a village tea shop. Large U-shaped bar with a food area on one side (serving only between 12 and 2pm unfortunately) and a raised seating area on the other. There is also an enormous beer garden. Not at all busy and presumably stays open throughout. Now turn left back down to Leyton Rd then continue along to the right to is ...
5. The Inn on the Green - Leyton Road [15.45]
Greene King Abbott, IPA and Kings Champion (summer ale @ 3.8%).
Not mentioned in the 1990 Hertfordshire beer (but apparently one of Mr Saffery's relatives used to work there!). Seems to comprise a modern extension stuck onto an older back half. Large one bar pub with a strange "reserved" section overlooking the car park to the rear; sit there at your peril. Obviously catering for the young set later on with special offers on lager and bottled beers. There is also a small garden area to the left which hopefully will not be deluged by a thunderstorm as on the trial. We did look in at The George as per the trip five years ago, but "Hertfordshire's Premier Pool Venue" has a singular lack of both charisma and indeed beer hence we shall return to pub no.1, so cut back across to the High St where you will spot the mini-roundabout on the corner with Station Rd is still ...
6. The Harpenden Arms - Station Road [see text]
Beers:- as above.
Description as before unless it has been demolished or burned down. This is the nearest decent port of call to the station so we shall visit it again. The railway station is a leisurely 10 minutes away and we should aim to catch the 16.39 for the six minute journey to St Albans. From the platform cross over via the footbridge then exit via the booking hall. straight ahead is another set of steps that take you up to Victoria St. Now continue down to the right to the cross roads by the church. Cross over Beaconsfield Rd then to the south side of Victoria St where further down on the left is ...
7. The Robin Hood - 126 Victoria Street [17.30]
Marston's Pedigree; Boddington's Bitter.
Pleasant comfortable one-bar pub with a boxing theme i.e. the walls are covered with photos, paintings and posters etc. alluding to boxing, rather than it was full of customers brawling. It has a reputation for food at lunchtimes, but fortunately we'll be there long after that. Large double bay area at the front, plenty of tables and seats round the U-shaped bar area. There is a small terrace at the back. Continue along Victoria St up to the traffic lights with Marlborough Rd. Turn left, then down to the end and cross over London Rd to Keyfield Terrace where on the second corner on the right is ...
8. The White Hart Tap - 4 Keyfield Terrace [18.30]
Flowers Original, IPA; Boddington's Bitter.
The selection of beers seemed rather strange since this has always been an Ind Coope pub with guest beers (not from the Whitbread stable either). Perhaps there will be others on the day. Small one-bar pub split into two seating areas with the right-hand end encompassing a pool table. Not at all busy (it was still pouring with rain). Apparently there were interesting pictures of a bygone era on the wall. Now carry on along the terrace until Albert St, turn right and about 50 yards up on the right is ...
9. The Garibaldi - 61 Albert Street [whenever]
Fullers ESB, London Pride, Chiswick and Summer Ale.
A popular (busy) pub on two levels round an island shaped-bar. There is seating all round both at the bar and on padded benches. The food bar was still serving in the evening and that overlooks a separate dining area. Anyone who has made it this far can ask me for directions back to the station, not that there is any magical short cut. The walk is 10 - 15 minutes depending on the urgency. Trains up until 8pm are fairly frequent otherwise they are on the hour or half-hour (all take 34 mins to Blackfriars).
Trial run Saturday 17th June 1995; participants - John Wright, Edmund Featherstone, James Featherstone.
Back to 1995 Trips