‘Butts Close, ten acres in extent, provides another delightful and restful public open space near the centre of town’ – from the Hitchin Official Guide in 1921/2. This was quoted in Scilla Douglas and Pauline Humphries book – Discovering Hitchin. They went on to say that it is the oldest open space in the town, used for games at the end of the 14th century, and also where archery was practised- hence its name, butts being the proper name for targets. In 1730 it was temporarily the site for the market, smallpox having made the crowded usual site an unhealthy place to be. Now it mostly attracts crowds when the funfair comes to town.
In our March newsletter local resident, Tony Riley, documented the resurrection of The Friends of Butts Close:
“John Jarvis, who sadly died a year ago this month, used to keep a careful eye on Council plans and on other developments that impinged upon Butts Close. Hitchin Forum has convened a small group of members to take over this watching brief. The ‘Friends of Butts Close’ are Stuart Howarth, John Keene, Helen Reason and Tony Riley.
Stuart has been digesting the voluminous documents and articles that were held by John Jarvis and by Hitchin Forum, and although he hasn’t found Henry VIII’s archery scorecard just yet, there is still time…
* creating a wildflower meadow – achieved
* getting a lifesaver ring by the pond – achieved
* the issue of tree replacement – a satisfactory outcome
* NHDC plans for extending the swimming pool car park – plans that are now, we think, in abeyance.
We plan to use an occasional email newsletter to communicate. We are asking residents local to Butts Close, members of Hitchin Forum, and others who are interested to sign up for this and get involved. Tony will manage the account at email@example.com.
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