Programme of meetings for 2020, and links to reports of recent meetings

The Society normally meets at 8 pm on the fourth Tuesday of the month.  


However, in the light of the Covid-19 crisis we had no alternative to cancelling talks arranged for 2020,which were to to have been held at The British Legion,Bennets. 

Although we hope to re-book speakers, we do not anticipate being able to resume a programme of meetings until later in 2021.

Zoom meetings are under consideration for late spring/early summer 2021

Programme Secretary: Janet Keen - 01582 760423

The programme for 2020

24 March       "70 years On the Crest of a Wave:The History of the Harpenden Gang Show" - speaker Ewan Murray

28 April           "Discover, Protect, Innovate, Inform - 175 years of the 'Arc & Arc'" - speaker Sandy Walkington. 

26 May             "Redbourn, 70 years ago, through the Lens of Harpenden's John Heather" - presented by John & Pauline Ridgwell

23 June             "St. Albans Town Hall: The Making of a Museum and Gallery" - speaker Sarah Keeling

22 September     "Nursing: Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole" - speaker Colin Oakes 

27 October          "On and Off the Footplate" - speaker Bill Davies

24 November       Short contributions by members, and refreshments

Reports of Recent meetings and visits - click on the blue link to the report on this website. Reports are first published in our Newsletter, and then added to the website.

25 February 2020 - Welcombe: 300 years of the House and its Occupants -speaker: Rosemary Ross (John Carpenter hopes to give his paper on the building later in this year's programme

28 January 2020 - Me and My Year as Mayor of Harpenden - Speaker: Cllr David Heritage

26 November 2019 - Short contributions by MembersPeter Tomkins: Letters from Rothamsted Manor (Peter Dawson, 1946); Gavin Ross: Ronald Fisher: Harpenden's pioneering statistician and geneticist

22 October 2019 - Harpenden Common - speaker: Karen Poore (Commons & Greens Support Officer, Harpenden Town Council)

24 September 2019 - "Brocket Hall" - speaker: Andy Chapman

25 June 2019 - "The Restoration of St Albans Abbey": speaker: Jane Kelsall

28 May 2019 - "Rothamsted, the Bee and Me" - speaker: Peter Tomkins

30 April 2019 - "From Fact to Film to Fiction" - speaker: Dr Jane Hawking/Hellyer Jones 

26 March 2019 - "World War 1 in the Air" speaker: David Keen. 

26 February 2019 - "Growing Arable Crops in Hertfordshire" - speaker: Jamie Burrows - Chairman of Hertfordshire NFU 

22 January 2019 - "Harpenden's (and other) butterflies in verse" - speaker: Dr Richard Harrington

27 November 2018 - Short papers by Members: "Curating Harpenden's collection" - David Keen; "Researching enquiries"- Diana Parrott; "Field Names" - John Wassell; "Harpenden's New Public Halls in 1938" - Rosemary Ross

23 October 2018: "The Banana Republic of Elizabethan England: a Tour of the Badlands of England's Fiscal Frontier"Speaker: Dr Simon Healy

25 September: "Life and Death During World War I - "Stories of William and Leonard Fisher, Mesopotamia and The Somme"Speaker: Jonathan Sinfield

26 June, 2018: "Rothamsted's Contribution to Pest Control during the 20th Century" – Speaker: Dr Andrew Farnham

22 May 2018 "Winston S. Churchill and Frank O. Salisbury"Speaker: Nigel McMurray

24 April, AGM followed by "My 300 Years of Harpenden Ancestry - Part II : 1823 onwards"Speaker: Peter Wilson

27 March 2018: "Orchids" Speaker: Professor Ian Denholm

27 February 2018: "The curious disappearance of Glenn Miller" by Tony Eaton

23 January 2018: "Salisbury Hall and the de Havilland Aircraft Company" by : Alistair Hodgson, curator of the De Havilland Aircraft Museum

28 November 2017 Members' contributions:  "St Mary's Chapel, Childwickbury" by Christine Aitken;  "How Harpenden has changed since I moved here 30 years ago" by Mary Maynard

24 October 2017: "Remembering the Coronation, 1953", Speaker John Seabrook, followed by films ‘Harpenden Carnival, 1953’ and ‘Coronation Revels on Redbourn Common’, shown by Pauline and John Ridgwell of Redbourn Museum

26 September 2017: "Life in Another World: Electron microscopes at Rothamsted" by Roy Woods, Former Head of Electron Microscopy and Jean Devonshire, Rothamsted Research

27 June 2017 "Lawes & Gilbert :an unlikely Victorian Agricultural Partnership" by Prof. Roger Plumb, voluntary archivist, Rothamsted Research

23 May 2017: "My dream Job as a Producer with the BBC Natural History Unit - Growing up in Harpenden from 1945 to the 1970s and beyond" by Mike Salisbury, OBE

25 April 2017: "Treasures of the Hertfordshire Archives" by Diana Hodgson, Archivist at HALS

21 March 2017: "The Impeachment of Francis Bacon, 1621" by Simon Healy, History of Parliament Trust

28 February 2017: "The Flora of Harpenden" by Professor Ian Denholm

17 January 2017 : "Gorhambury through the Ages - 1777 to 2017" by Viscountess Grimston

22 November 2016: "The role of maritime literature in history" by Julian Parker OBE

25 October 2016 : Short contributions by members - "Marianne Sherman's Dance Manuscripts : a Glimpse into gentry life in Harpenden at the time of Jane Austen" - Rosemary Ross and Alison Macfarlane; "A Harpenden Connection to the Sinking of HMS Royal Oak at Scapa Flow" Margaret Pratt; "The Festival of Britain" Dr Brian Ray

20 September 2016: " Living on the Common : a landscape history of Harpenden" by Anne Rowe

4 September 2016 Visit to the Shuttleworth collection

28 June 2016: "The Clinton-Baker Pinetum - a surprising  Heritage Site in Hertfordshire" by Dr Edward Eastwood, Curator

24 May 2016:   "Sex, crime, punishment & philanthropy : everyday stories from the life of Sir John Bennet Lawes as revealed by his diaries" by Dr John Jenkyn (Rothamsted Archivist)

26 April 2016:  "F. H. Crittall - Metal windows and modernism" by Adam Smith

16 April 2016: Visit to Medieval Churches in North Bedfordshire

22 March 2016: "Harpenden, Batford and the Danelaw boundary, including an archaeological survey of Batford Farm", by Alexander Thomas, PhD student in Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Bristol 

23 February 2016: "Being prepared in Harpenden & Hertfordshire: a selective history of our Scouts"  by Dr Richard Harrington

26 January 2016: "Before the developers got at it: Harpenden, 1945 - 1960", by John Seabrook 

24 November: Members' Evening - short talks on Mike Westmacott, the other Harpenden Everest Hero; Pat Wilson and the WEA Class of the 1970s; The Harpenden Sign; Diseases in Victorian times.

27 October: "The Great War: Rothamsted's Contributionby Professor Roger Plumb - the link is to a report of a similar talk by Roger Plumb.

22 September: "Time flies at Old Warden - history of the Shuttleworth Collection" by Debbie Lang

23 June 2015 "The spy who is buried in St Nicholas churchyard - comments on the Dreyfus affair" by Dr John Versey. Follow the links to pages about Esterhazy 

26 May 2015 "The Dirty Diggers - The story of South Harpenden Allotment Society (SHAGS)" by Richard White

April 28 2015: "Recording people's memories - The Smallford Project" by Sarah Lloyd and Jeff Lewis

March 31 2015: "Dr Griffith Pugh and the Everest Story : the man who made it possible" by Harriet Tuckey

24 February 2015:  "Historic Churches in Herts & Beds, with local examples", by  Meric Jenkins

January 27 2015:  "The Rothamsted Insect Survey, a National Asset with a local history", by Dr Richard Harrington

25 November 2014: "From Tiller Girl to Vermont Girl", by Sheila Parker; followed by a selection of slides of Old Harpenden from the Society's archives.

28 October 2014 : “Front Line Kent – Coastal Defences of the Kent Coast" by Peter Webster

23 September 2014 :  "Cottage Style, 1780 onwards - Hertfordshire and beyond" by Dr Sarah Lloyd (University of Hertforddshire)

24 June 2014 :  “Luton’s Market and Fairs” by John Newbury

27 May 2014 :  “The Nickey Line” by David Abernethy

29 April 2014 : “Dr Edward Wilson, Captain Scott’s Confidante and Friend” by Dr Isobel Williams

1 April 2014 : “Framing St Albans - pictures in the Collection of St Albans City Museum”   Catherine Newley  (curator of the post-medieval collections)

25 February 2014: “A Personal Contribution to the History of Harpenden - My Father Charles Hill” by Susan Fairbairn

28 January 2014: “Luton Hoo Estate”by Len Fowler

26 November 2013:  "Films of Old Harpenden” made by John Heather in the 1940s and 1950s and presented by Pauline Ridgewell of Redbourn Village Museum. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013  "The Stained Glass of Frank O. Salisbury"   by Nigel McMurray, biographer of Frank Salisbury

24 September 2013 "From Pint Pot to Coffee Pot - Breweries and the Temperance Movement in St Albans"  by Jon Mein

25 June: "Delving into Harpenden Shops"  by Geoff Woodward

28 May 2013    “The Coin Hoard from St Albans"  by David Thorold

23 April 2013        “Bells, Bells, Bells”  by Amy Coburn - (the link is to an article already published on the website).

26 March 2013      "Water Colours in the Harpenden & District Local History Society Collection”  by Patricia Yates - many of these can be seen in our Picture Gallery.

26 February 2013 “The Second Battle of St Albans” by Peter Burley and Harvey Watson.

29 January 2013    "The History of Elmfield School, from its beginning as a Sanatorium, about 1910, through until the 1970s"      by Judy Hamblin and Margaret Hewitt

30 October 2012: "Frank Salisbury: Harpenden's Portrait painter"  by Nigel McMurray

25 September 2012: "Batford Springs Nature Reserve" by Oliver Randall

26 June 2012 : "From Arkwright to Mayor"  by Michael Weaver

29 May 2012 : "Wittewronge connections in the seventeenth century" by Roger Plumb

24 April 2012 "Geology and landscape of Hertfordshire" by John Catt (preceded by AGM)

3 April 2012: "Looking at Theodora - her life and times”by Amy Coburn

28 February 2012: "The First Battle of St Albans, 1455by Peter Burley and Harvey Watson

31st January 2012 : "My ancestor made swords in 1685" by Tony Scott

25 October 2011 : "The College of Arms" by John Tunesi

27 September 2011 : "Hertfordshire and the English Civil War" by Dr Alan Thompson

28 June 2011 : "Luton Hoo - Past, Present and Future" by Zena Dickinson

24 May 2011 : "The History of Childwickbury" by Christine Aitken

26 April 2011 :  AGM, followed by "Hertfordshire Maps over 300 years" by Alan Ruston

29 March 2011 : "St Albans and the Peasants' Revolt" by Revd P Wadsworth

22 February 2011 : "The Time Team at Norman Cross" by Paul Chamberlain

8 February 2011 : "Building the St Albans By-pass (now 50 years old" by Peter Fellis

Photo:Harpenden Public Halls - the Southdown Room is on the left, and we expect to return there in January 2021

Harpenden Public Halls - the Southdown Room is on the left, and we expect to return there in January 2021

John Marlow, 2011

Bennet's, Royal British Legion Club, Leyton Road

This page was added by David Hinton on 30/11/2010.
Comments about this page

There is a portrait by Frank Salisbury in the Senior Common Room of Queen Mary, University of London, on the Mile End Road (E1 4NS). It came from Westfield College. The identity of the sitter is uncertain, but he is wearing municipal robes. Canterbury Cathedral has a FS painting of the visit of King George VI and Queen Elisabeth to the Cathedral for the Thanksgiving Service at the end of WW2.

By D.A.Preece
On 19/10/2012

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