The "Arc and Arc" and the Herts Advertiser

"The Arc and Arc" is much less of a mouthful than the St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society. SAHAAS is a splendid and learned survivor from the days of Victorian self-improvement and organises a seriously impressive set of lectures, events, streams of research and archaeological digs, as well as organising the rota of volunteers who man the Clock Tower. I don't go to nearly enough of their events, but last night's New Year party at Verulamium Museum was very enjoyable, even if I got less than half of the quiz answers right..

Noel Cantillon, editor of the Herts Advertiser, was one of the guests of honour. The Herts Ad is almost as old as the "Arc and Arc". It is about to be the end of an era as Noel hangs up his boots as editor in three months time after 22 years in the chair and over 30 at the newspaper. He has been part of the media landscape for all my time in St Albans.Before him I remember Robert Richardson who combined editorial duties with writing detective books starring Augustus Maltravers and set in a fictionalised St Albans re-named Vercaster. At the time it was a slugging match between the Herts Ad and the Review with the Observer and the Herald popping up too, and I am not sure that the Herts Ad gained from Robert's forays into detective fiction.

Nor do I think that Augustus Maltravers has stood the test of time, although "The Latimer Mercy" sits on my bookshelves as a local literary oddity. The Herts Ad and the Review are the last men standing but it's a tough time for local papers as the advertising market crashes. I have my run-ins from time to time with both local papers but they do a good job, and people like Noel play a crucial role in training young reporters. I'm not sure he ever expected to be celebrated at Verulamium Museum as an ancient monument though!

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