Home Walks Dr. Cyril Hart, OBE

Dr. Cyril Hart, OBE DR. CYRIL HART, OBE.

(This tribute is from Barten Venner, MBE, Leader of Forest of Dean District Council 1995-99)

Cyril Hart was born just before the end of the First World War in Coleford; his love of the Forest of Dean is as strong now as it has ever been. He cannot stop researching various projects about the area; he always has several "on the go". Anyone visiting him at his home is rapidly taken along his current enthusiastic route of the need to know.

I have known Cyril for more than 40 years in a professional capacity as we have both spent our lives with trees. Cyril was born here, attended the local schools, gained his major knowledge at Bells Grammar School and he obtained his MA through Bristol University. He was awarded his Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) by Leicester University after three years of research work based on Forestry, Economics and History. My career in Forestry started in the Isle of Wight, but I met Cyril when I transferred to the Forest of Dean in the 1950's. He was by then the Forestry Lecturer at the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester where his love of Forestry was transmitted across the world via the different nationalities of the students attending that establishment.

Although many of his books deal with Forestry in general, both British Isles and World wide, it is his intimate knowledge of the Forest of Dean where his true allegiances shine forth. His determination not to let any part of the local history be lost is paramount; to his credit there are books of Industrial Archaeology; Forest History from Doomsday to current day; Coleford, the History of a West Gloucestershire Market Town, and, soon to be completed, the Saxon history of the area. He is President of the Forest of Dean Local History Society and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Cyril is the Senior Verderer of the Forest of Dean. He has served that august body since his election as a Verderer in November 1952 when he was the youngest known person in recent history to have been elected to that office. His knowledge has been of immeasurable help to his colleagues and the successive Deputy Surveyors of the Forestry Commission. He has worked with at least nine of these gentlemen since 1952. In 1999 he was honoured by having the Forest of Dean Arboretum near Speech House named after him. The Arboretum, which now covers 15 acres, was started in 1915.

He has been involved for many years with the Forest of Dean Newspapers and is the Chairman of the company.

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