The BLH&MS Collection Policy sets out the conditions for acquiring items for the Society’s collection.

When Birtchnell’s gentlemen’s outfitters closed down, the Society was grateful to receive from Bob Clark a number of items from Percy Birtchnell’s local history collection. Les Mitchell identified the locations shown in an extensive collection of small and large photographs. Also included were books and documents, clothes and artefacts.

One set of pictures was mounted on a display board, entitled ‘The Beating of the Bounds of Great Berkhamsted Rural, July 15 & 17, 1903′.

Beating Bounds at Thunderdell Lodge

Beating the bounds at
Thunderdell Lodge

Beating the Bounds, remembered by Sydney Chappell…
“I believe the last occasion on which the bounds of the Parish were beaten was during my time as a Bourne scholar, in 1905 or thereabouts. On the second day of the event, the boy scholars were invited to be present. So we twenty boys with about the same number of local dignitaries assembled in Shooters Way at the top of Gallows Lane. We were all issued with a six foot osier wand with which to do the beating. Also a bunch of narrow ribbons, light blue, yellow and black, the colours of Berkhamsted, to pin to our caps. I still have my bunch of ribbons but they are now very bedraggled.

We started off down the lane to the bottom and turned left across the fields to Soldiers Bottom. Then through the Hockeridge Woods on to the Chesham Road. After a short rest for refreshments (ginger beer for the boys, something a bit stronger for the men) and pork pies, we crossed onto Haresfoot Park and up to the Haresfoot house.

Anyone accosted on the route was forced to run the gauntlet, which meant running through a double row of the assembly, who used their wands to hurry him or her on. At Haresfoot Park the elderly Lady Smith-Dorrien, graciously came out on to the lawn and walked between the double row with wands forming an arch.

The house was apparently built right on the boundary so one of the company had to walk through it as near as possible over the boundary.

From then on we continued through the park to Brickhill Green, where after disposing of the remainder of the refreshments, we dismissed.”
(Berkhamsted Review, Nov 1990).

Acquisitions of BLH&MS in the last few years:

  • Minute book of the Berkhamsted Dramatic Club,1866-1914 which has a wealth of social and historical information
  • Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery (given as a prize to a Berkhamsted resident)
  • Set of 3 wine bottles from New Frithsden Vineyard
  • Survey chain and level
  • Polaroid land camera
  • Straw splitter, used in the plaiting / hat making industry
Straw splitter: straw was pushed through the hole with the desired number of segments. Finished plait was sold in markets and sent to the Luton hat makers

Straw splitter: straw was pushed through the hole with the desired number of segments. Finished plait was sold in markets and sent to the Luton hat makers

  • Booklet: “Fair Neville’s Woe” by Cicely York
  • Indenture and attachments for the Bell Public House
  • Bottles and boxes from Dickmans Chemist
  • Book of Coopers press cuttings and testimonials
  • Fees, ledger and photos of Town Hall from Betty Pitkin
  • Wicker basket from Corby, Palmer & Stewart from Mrs Betty Sage
  • Singer sewing machine originally from Corby, Palmer & Stewart
  • Legal documents from Metcalfe undertakers
  • From Mrs Beningfield – two shepherd’s crooks, two sheep’s bells, one lamp and a seed broadcaster
  • From Bernard Wilding – the address by the people of Berkhamsted to Louis XVIII and his reply, from 1814
  • Purchase at auction of Jack Merriott carriage print of Berkhamsted
  • Pictures and books from Polly Rafter’s collection
  • Wrought iron stove from J. Wood & Sons