This teaching and research project is a three-year long study of the past history, current condition and future outlook for Old Hatfield. It is one of the neighbourhoods of Hatfield. Old Hatfield is a historical town along the Northern Road adjacent to the palace of Hatfield House. It comprises of Grade-II listed buildings of residential properties, historic public houses, churches and high streets. The project developed as a collaboration between the Architecture-Interior Architecture programme, the Old Hatfield Residents Association, the Hatfield House Estate Office, and the Welwyn-Hatfield Borough Council. The main scope of the project is the documentation of historic buildings and the urban fabric of the old town. The project has allowed the close involvement of local residents with the student work in the University, and as a result, documentation of the views of the residents on the everyday life of Old Hatfield.
The students have been researching through maps, drawings, sketches, photo essays, physical and digital models. Their enthusiasm for Old Hatfield architecture and town layout has drawn the attention of locals, with several residents and community group members being involved with the student projects, giving interviews, providing access to their properties and attending students’ presentations. Even though the student projects are fictional, the spaces the students engage with and the people they meet and consult with are not.
The former barbers-shop on Salisbury Square serves as community centre, exhibition space for student work, and a place for the students to meet the residents. A publication and exhibition will conclude the project at the end of the three-year research.
This project is funded by a Heritage Hub Match-Funding Award 2017-2018, at the University of Hertfordshire.