The First 50 Years

History of the Society on its 50th Anniversary

In 2023, being the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Society, Roger Butterworth wrote, “We are grateful to Gavin for having written this detailed, and highly readable, account of the first 50 years of our Society and a museum, amazingly with roots going back 100 years.  As Gavin recounts, the first proper history of our town was written, in conjunction with that of Wheathampstead, about 50 years ago and prompted the pioneers at the time to found the Society, and shortly after first Museum.  That came to an end in 2003, testing the resilience of the small band of enthusiasts.

“The commitment and dedication of those enthusiasts, then without a publicly accessible repository for artefacts and archives, is the most remarkable part of the story.  Gavin brings the story up to date with the generosity of Les Casey, in leaving a significant bequest to the Society, which enabled us to take out a lease on part of the Eric Morecambe Centre and fit it out as a museum and archive, now opened to the public, initially on an ad hoc basis.

“This is not only significant in its own right, but gives us a platform to relaunch the Society in recognition of its wide remit to educate the public on the local history of Harpenden.  It can now, after having been nurtured for 50 years, share with that community the museum of which the Town can be proud.”

The publication was distributed free to members in December 2023.  Enquiries by e-mail: 



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