A HISTORY OF RIVERSIDE GREEN & THE JOLLY
by Ron Dale
One of the area’s most popular inns, the Jolly Fisherman, cannot be separated from its riverside venue, where every summer river boats are moored and cyclists park their bikes for a refreshment halt. Affectionately known as the Jolly, here are tables and benches on the grass next to an unusual cluster of stone sculptures on what has come to be known as Riverside Green. Here is provided a welcome chance to relax in the sun or in the shade with a glass of wine or a jug of ale, only yards from the pub or from the river. The Jolly Fisherman is a grade II listed building and was first built on the site in 1736 when a row of cottages was demolished. These had occupied the site since 1636, according to McMullens Brewery, Hertford. From the start it was known as the George & Dragon and in 1756 it advertised to have stabling for eight horses. When trains arrived in the village in 1843, the building was given a new façade and renamed The Railway Inn and later still, The Railway Tavern. In 1948 it was renamed The Fisherman’s Friend and eventually it adopted its present name.
The valuable space between the pub and the river has never been wasted. In the 19th century malt roasting houses occupied the site. A perusal of the company history of Bryan Corcoran & Co. of Mark Lane, London, suppliers of malting equipment and mill-
Roasting factory once on the site of Riverside Green
Picture courtesy of Stuart Moye, taken in 1960.
Old malt roasting-
The sloping grass bank is now concreted for mooring boats.
The illustration below shows the Jolly in about 1930 from the roadside with a yard entrance separating it from the house once occupied by William Heesom, the manager of French & Jupp Maltings, next to the double-
The Railway Tavern, St. Margarets c. 1930 (Jolly Fisherman) showing the front of the malt roasting house extreme left. Copyright Directory of public houses in the U.K. etc. (Hertfordshire)
The fire which destroyed the roasting factory in 1962 saw the end of malting on this site and production was moved to the Roydon Road malting, where it continues to this day.
Meridian Centenary Stones inside giant stone compass.
Riverside Green at the bridge, a relaxing spot where both shade and sun are provided.
(picture: Brian Johnson)
Blake quotation stone......’in Eternity’s sun-
(Courtesy Stuart Moye)
THANK YOU: It has taken some time to find any information about the Meridian Stones. I, therefore, decided that there should be a permanent explanation, together with the name of the sculptor/aerist.and I am obliged to thank my colleague Ray ‘Dick’ Dixon for discovering the name of the sculptor, together with information from robinsspace.com. I am also indebted to Stuart Moye for providing photographs and information about the malting fires. And, as always, I am grateful to Brian Johnson for providing further photographs. Thanks are also due to Alec Peever, the sculptor, trading as ‘Fiona and Alec Peever, Lettering & Sculpture,’ for explaining some of the mystique. He told me that he is thrilled to hear that his work still engenders interest. (Ron Dale)