The Early Days Of The Potters Bar Society
Colin Davies, who we think is our only surviving Founder Committee Member, has contributed this personal reminiscence of the early days of the Society.
A little over 50 years ago I was approached by the late Don Wilcox to meet at his home, together with a handful of other Potters Bar residents, to discuss our increasing concern about the environment of our town. Don was the scribe and mainspring for our informal meetings and became the first Secretary of the PBS.
The small group met informally several times and eventually decided that it was time to organise an open, public meeting to discuss and formally establish a civic society - originally to be called The Potters Bar Civic Society but eventually The Potters Bar Society. The 'Rules' to be put to the open meeting were drafted by the small group of Founder Members in February 1961. The PBS was created at the first public meeting on Friday 14th April 1961 in St John's Methodist Church Hall.
On the occasion of the 21st anniversary in 1982 I was very pleased to be made an Honorary Life Member, and in 2001 I was delighted to be invited to the 40th anniversary celebrations at Tilbury Hall. For many years in the early days I was a very active member but unfortunately not so in more recent years - although I am still a committee member of the North Mymms & District Green Belt Society.
Some of our earlier Potters Bar concerns were to keep the town and countryside clear of dumped rubbish and fly-tipping. One Saturday morning each month the Potters Bar Urban District Council (as it was then) loaned the Society an open truck and driver for three or four members to tour the country lanes to clear rubbish - which included bikes, mattresses, furniture and even the carcasses of dead animals - you name it, we found it (even a complete timber shed with contents, which defeated us) but we never found a discarded Picasso! We frequently had as many as three truck-loads of rubbish which were taken to an open tip at the Cranborne site where we now have local authority skips. We had a great deal of press publicity and one Saturday morning activity was filmed for television. It was a filthy job which required a hot bath afterwards. I suspect there are currently too many "elf and safety" and insurance regulations which prohibit such civic activity now.
Over the years the Society has kept a keen watchful eye on all matters relating to the environment of Potters Bar, especially those affecting planning and the Green Belt, and I trust that current members will continue the good work started by a small group of enthusiasts over 50 years ago.