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The land was formally part of the grounds of Harpenden Lodge, which was built in 1803 and bought by the Lydekkers, one of Harpenden’s oldest families, in 1857. The property remained in the Lydekker family until 1987.
The last surviving member of the Harpenden branch of the Lydekker family, Miss Hilda Lydekker, lived in Harpenden Lodge until 1979, when she left at the age of 93 to move into a nursing home. She died in 1987. Her uncle, Captain Arthur Lydekker, was for six years the Chairman of Harpenden Urban District Council, from its inception in 1898.
In 1937, Hilda Lydekker had entered into an agreement with the former Harpenden Urban District Council that the 11 acres of land attached to Harpenden Lodge should become private open space. It was her intention that part of it be preserved as a memorial to her loved ones lost in the 1914 – 1918 War. With the demise of the Urban District Council in 1974, this agreement passed to the newly created St Albans District Council.
Following the death of Miss Lydekker in 1987, shortly before her 101st birthday, St Albans District Council entered into an agreement with the executors of the Will to retain a total of three acres as public open space with a car park. These were to be completed by the developers and donated in a finished state to the Council. As St Albans District Council was the successor Council to the former Harpenden Urban District Council, it became the beneficiary of this gifted land.
The Harpenden Town Council of that time made strenuous efforts to have the public open space and car park retained in the ownership of Harpenden Town Council.
Following discussions with the District Council, agreement was reached in 1998 that Harpenden Town Council would lease Lydekker Park and the new 93 space fee paying car park from St Albans District Council at a peppercorn rent.
In 2012 after much campaigning Lydekker Park and car park were devolved back from the District Council into the ownership of Harpenden Town Council.
Last updated about 1 day ago