Felix’s popular pictures of the past are Hitchin’ a ride on renewed interest
- Credit: Archant
Historic pictures of Hitchin are now being shared around the world through social media – and the venture has proved to be an immediate hit.
Felix Camfield-Walker, who owns Farley’s Hair Emporium in Hermitage Road, set up the Historic Hitchin Twitter account to celebrate the town’s rich architectural heritage.
Felix said: “What I’m trying to do through Historic Hitchin is collect pictures of our beloved market town from anyone who may have them, in order to share with others.
“My dad was once secretary of the Hitchin Historical Society, and penned many books on Hitchin, so I’ve always had a passion for pictures from the past.
“I set it up as I wanted to make it more relevant to people today, certainly in light of the what could happen to Top Field, for example.
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“Hitchin is a beautiful town, and there have been some beautiful buildings here.
“Unfortunately many are not with us anymore, whether it be in the name of ‘progress’ or because they were never listed, and may have slipped through the net.
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“The idea of evocative lost buildings is a popular one. It’s amazing to think the account gained more than 500 followers in a single week.
“The feedback I’ve had from everyone has been amazingly positive – there’s been so much interest.
“I think it’s very important to feature buildings which are no longer here, to remind people of what the town used to look like.
“One of my favourite ‘lost’ building was the Art Deco Hermitage Cinema, built in 1932 but demolished in 1963.
“It’s also good for discussing ‘lost’ stories, too. Not many people realise a Nazi bomb was dropped on Orchard Road on August 12, 1941 destroying two houses and killing one person.
“The damage is still visible on the houses opposite.
“You can also see how a town evolves. I posted a snowy photo from around 1860 of The Trooper pub and Moss’ Corner – which is now the Vodafone shop.
“I also posted Biggin Lane before it was cleared to make way for the new market and Bedford Road in around 1913, where the buildings haven’t changed but there were no trees lining Butts Close.
“A picture of Hermitage Road from Windmill Hill in 1955 is also poignant because it showed the beautiful building which preceded what is now Wilkinson.”
You’ll be able to see these and other pictures if you follow the account @HistoricHitchin.