Summer trips

We run our trips in conjunction with the Berkhamsted Probus Club. We try to organise these trips where a midday meal is available for those that require it. The cost is usually between £20 and £30 per person. If you are interested please contact Bill Willett on 01442 863760 or email here

Canal_2017-08 (24)

Port of Berkhamsted

31 May 2018
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

On this trip, there is the opportunity to visit the Naval College, Cutty Sark and the Royal Observatory. At the National Maritime Museum, there is a photographic exhibition ‘The Great British Seaside’. (Entrance fee applies, but the Museum is free).

2 Aug 2018
Althorp House

This house is to the north of Northampton and is the home of the Spencer family. Princess Diana is buried there. The house (with its picture collection) and gardens are superb. A stop at Charles Rennie Mackintosh House in Northampton will be included on the way, with an opportunity for lunch there.

27 Sep 2018
Blenheim Palace

This is well-established on the tourist trail but we have never been there. It is truly a Palace set in a Capability Brown landscape and the home of the Duke(s) of Marlborough.

Heritage Open Days

Come and celebrate Berkhamsted’s architecture and culture
at this year’s Heritage Open Days

HOD poster

Thursdays to Sundays 6 to 9-Sep-2018 and 13 to 16-Sep-2018
More details here

Winter talks

Berkhamsted Local History & Museum Society meetings take place at 8:00pm in the Wellcome Great Hall, Town Hall, Berkhamsted from Sep to Mar. Visitors are always welcome @ £3 at the door.

Winter on the canal in Berkhamsted

Winter on the canal in Berkhamsted

26 Sep 2018
William Camden and the 1618 grant of arms to the Borough of Berkhamsted

Patric Dickinson will talk about the granting of Berkhamsted’s coat of arms and about William Camden, the eminent antiquary who in his role as Clarenceux King of Arms actually made the grant. Mr Dickinson has worked at the College of Arms since 1968
and has himself been Clarenceux King of Arms since 2010.  He is also Secretary of the Order of the Garter.

17 Oct 2018
The Prison at Norman Cross: The Lost Town of Huntingdonshire

Paul Chamberlain is a retired Government Scientist who worked on viral vaccines. He has a life-long interest in the Napoleonic era, writing and lecturing extensively on the subject, with a specialist interest in prisoners of war of that period. His book The Napoleonic Prison of Norman Cross: The Lost Town of Huntingdonshire was published by The History Press in March 2018.

Two hundred years ago, Peterborough had a population of 3,500, but five miles to the west was a vibrant community of nearly 7,000. A community of houses, administration buildings, a hospital, school, a theatre, a cemetery: all the features that would be found in any town. This however, was a prison depot housing many of Napoleon’s soldiers and seamen. All towns have an economy and Norman Cross Prison Depot was no exception.

This talk tells the story of the prisoners through the prison economy: who made money, how, why, and what that money was used for. It is a story of bone ships, domino boxes, and forgery of banknotes and bribery of soldiers. It also explains why such a prison was built at this site, and what remains of the prison today.

14 Nov 2018
Daniel Axtell:  The Berkhamsted Regicide

Murray Neil is a Trustee and Committee member of the Tring Local History and Museum Society and the author of The Washingtons of Tring. Originally from Scotland he has had a home in Tring for 35 years. He has a keen interest in American history due to a family connection with Custer’s 7th US Cavalry.

Daniel Axtell from Berkhamsted fought as a Parliamentary soldier in the Civil Wars in England and Ireland.  He was the Captain of the Guard at the trial of King Charles I and, as a result, he was deemed to be a Regicide and paid the ultimate penalty. The talk is set in the context of the Civil Wars and the fate of the other Regicides together with information on the Axtell family descendants in America.

12 Dec 2018
Historic Gardens around Berkhamsted

Kate Harwood is the Planning and Conservation Officer for Hertfordshire Gardens Trust and a former university lecturer (in Garden History).  The talk will be about the historic gardens round Berkhamsted from Capability Brown to the Arts and Crafts, with a quick look at possible gardens at the castle and one or two a bit further afield.

16 Jan 2019
Art & Design in the Chilterns

A retired University academic Dr Graham Twemlow writes and lectures on design history and decorative arts subjects. He has given talks at numerous institutes and venues including Christie’s South Kensington, the Royal Society of Arts and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Chilterns has played host to many artists and craftsmen. Graham’s talk will focus on some of the 20th century artists who either made the Chilterns their home or found inspiration here – and sometimes both. Works by artists such as Paul & John Nash, John Piper, Eric Gill, Clare Leighton, E. McKnight Kauffer and the textile designer Marion Dorn will be discussed and include their contribution to the applied arts in its many forms.

13 Feb 2019
The Siege of London in 1066 which concludes with the surrender of rebels at either Westminster or Beor ham stede (identified as Berkamstead by Victorians)

Kathleen Tyson is a geographic historian particularly interested in the connections between trade, conflict, conquest and migration in ancient Britain.

13 Mar 2019
Lord Austin and Lord Nuffield, giants of the British Motor Industry

Julian Hunt was born in Worcestershire and worked in Birmingham Reference Library. He was Local Studies Librarian in Oldham and then in Aylesbury. He is now a free-lance writer and lecturer on English local history. This talk follows the AGM.