Updated Tuesday 19th August 2008
Ten Years Online
Discover Hertford celebrated ten years online on Thursday the 21st August 2008.
Discover Hertford Online started as a personal project consisting of a small number of pages about the town on a personal website in 1997.
At that time, Steve Beeston was just starting out on the web and had established his own website. This site included a number of pages about the town, together with a few photos.
A chance meeting with Craig MacKenzie in W.H.Smith led to the next phase in the evolution of the site. Craig had established hertsWEB, a community website for Hertfordshire that featured information on each town and village in The County. Craig suggested that Steve copy his Hertford pages to the hertsWEB site and this happened in March 1998.
Around the same time, local shop owner Keith Marshall was busy promoting the town under the "Discover Hertford" banner. As well as promotional materials and campaigns, Keith had a fledgling website created on AOL. At this point The Web was only seven years old.
Keith was approached with a view to taking over management of the site and this happened in August 1998. Discover Hertford Online was born.
A discussion forum was added in August 2002 and has attracted over 800 members.
The webcam was added in October 2003, looking down Fore Street towards Parliament Square.
The site now features over 500 pages of information, including coverage of local events and issues over the last ten years.
Discover Hertford Online is run from a location close to Hertford Town Centre.
The Discover Hertford brand is still owned by Keith Marshall.
Past Home Pages
Here are some Home Pages from the first ten years.
Original hertsWEB pages
These are the pages that first appeared on hertsWEB before becoming Discover Hertford.
Home page from 16th September 2001
This shows the original design without photos. At this time most people were still using dialup so page content was geared to give the best download speeds. Displays were typically 640 or 800 pixels wide, hence the narrower format.
Home page from 5th August 2003
By 2003 we had started to feature photographic content on the home page. Coverage of local issues and events was growing.
Home page from 20th August 2006
Another home page from 2006 featuring the original design with photos accompanying the top stories.
Home page from 22nd July 2008
At the beginning of 2007 a new design was introduced that was 800 pixels wide. Larger photos have also been introduced along with improved navigational features. Sponsorship helps finance the site.
Over the last ten years we've covered events and issues that have seen landmarks and institutions replaced.
Retail establishments spanning generations have disappeared, such as Gravesons and Candies, along with butchers and fishmongers.
The annual Carnival that took over the town centre on a Saturday has become a Funday in The Castle Grounds on a Sunday .
The Isolation Hospital and the Addis Toothbrush factory have both been replaced by housing developments.
The Addis Toothbrush factory before Newland Gardens
The County Hospital in North Road has been demolished and replaced by a brand new modern facility.
Hertfordshire University have closed their business school at Balls Park and the land sold for housing.
Hertford is growing. The number of households increasing. Leisure facilities expanding.
The Hertfordshire Mercury moved from their premises in Fore Street into the iconic Addis building that fronts Ware Road, whilst local businessman Nick Shipton set about opening the town's second hotel in the vacated building.
Cannons opened a popular gym and fitness centre whilst McMullen's launched their Baroosh brand in Fore Street.
Whilst many High Streets struggle, Hertford maintains a mix of indepedent and chain stores. Over the last ten years we've seen Monsoon and Marks & Spencer arrive in the town.
New annual events such as the Castle Street Party and Rock At The Castle have established themselves.
The Hertford Marquee has gained a reputation for bringing well-known bands to town. We now have a skate park and the police station has returned to the town.
As Hertford develops and grows, so does Discover Hertford Online.
Together with our sister site Ware Online we continue to provide a unique resource for the town and everyone interested in Hertford's past, present and future.