Transatlantic Relations

The town of Waltham, Massachusetts, United States was established in 1634 by settlers from Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, England. In 1930, Joseph B Franklin Esq, Chairman of Cheshunt Council, visited the American Waltham for an early celebration of the tercentenary of the town's founding. He was gifted an Amur cork tree, which was planted in Cedars Park on his return home. The visit and donation were marked with a plaque, which is no longer in the park.

This was followed up in 1941 with additional gifts from America to England of a mobile canteen worth $1500 ($21,000 today) to the (at the time) joint towns of Waltham Cross and Waltham Abbey. The current location and condition of the mobile canteen are unknown.

After the tree died from storm damage, the American Waltham kindly donated a new one in August 1980, which later died. A new tree was planted in recent years, which was ring-barked in 2019 (likely by muntjacs) and died in 2020.

Officials from both towns at the cork tree

English newspaper article dated 9 July (1941)


Residents of Waltham, Mass., U.S.A., have decided to show their sympathy with their namesake town, Waltham Abbey, Essex, by providing, at a cost of 1,500 dollars, a mobile canteen for the use of the joint parishes of Waltham Abbey and Waltham Cross. Further practical help is also promised.

The American Waltham, a town of about 50,000 inhabitants, takes its name from this Essex locality, from which many of its original settlers came. The news of the gift was read by Mr J. B. Franklin, J.P. who ten years ago, when chairman of the local Urban Council, visited America as the guest of Waltham, Mass., on the occasion of that town's ter-centenary.

Some years ago the American city presented an Amur cork tree to Waltham Cross, and this rare plant, the only one of its kind in this country, is flourishing in the Cedars Park, Waltham Cross.

A prominent American Walthamite, writing to Mr J. B. Franklin, says: "We Americans admire the gallant fight you Englishmen are making for the cause of democracy."

Damage and death of tree

After the newest cork tree was severely ring-barked, Tarant Hobbs attempted to save it using a mud plaster technique, which was successful in extending its life, however the tree later died and was removed.