Welcome to the Elstree & Borehamwood Museum blog.
This blog is about all those happenings inside and outside the Museum that have caught our attention.
From events and exhibitions, to new discoveries in the collections, to news and views.
Any comments and items to go here please contact Simon on email@example.com
On Wednesday night local celebrity, film historian and excellent raconteur, Paul Welsh, spent an evening with The Friends of the Museum. Linked of course to our current exhibition about his successful efforts to Save Our Studios, it was a chance for us to hear first hand how he and a dedicated team had managed the seemingly impossible task of ensuring Elstree Studios did not become more supermarkets and blocks of flats. To undertake this enterprise with no financial backing and against heavyweight business interests, and then succeed against the odds has become a key event in our local history. So Dave Armitage introduced Paul and told how well the Exhibition was going. Paul spent some time explaining how the campaign worked out and what was involved. Then Maureen Corman, our Friends Organiser, used the rest of the time asking Paul about the films and stars he had met and interviewed over the years. Many a fascinating story was heard before the tea and bioscuits. If you are not a Friend you should be, here.
After last week’s visit by Monksmead Year One, this morning we were very pleased to welcome Year Two from Monksmead School. Dave, Helen and Matt led the children in three activities. Dave delighted our young visitors by working with them to create animated ‘flip’ books, allowing the children to create their own mini cartoon. After this, Dave showed them 8mm film, and explained the process by which it is edited.
Helen showed the children costumes from The Railway Children film and allowed them to participate in a clip from the film, using our very own CGI. Finally, Matt explained how old-fashioned toys entertained ‘pre-tablet’ generations of children! Our visitors then left, after thanking us for the lovely morning they had enjoyed. Thank you, Monksmead School, for bringing your class. Special thanks to Mrs Moynihan, and her colleagues for arranging this. We look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Today, the Museum was delighted to welcome 27 pupils from Year One of Monksmead School. With the help of Dave and Helen, the pupils engaged in three activities.
Firstly they looked at 'Traditional Toys', from before the Ipad and tablet era. Amongst these were the Diablo, the Yo-Yo and the Skipping Rope. Only us older people really knew what they were.
Then the pupils dressed up as characters from The Railway Children film, which was made in Elstree. They did this against the background of a scene from the film, giving them the impression of being in the film itself.
Finally the students worked with Dave, to create 'flip books'. These were the traditional way of making animated cells before the advent of CGI. Dave allowed them to handle 8mm film, and showed them how 'still' pictures become a movie.
All of our young visitors thoroughly enjoyed their day. A number of them told us it was the 'best morning ever'! Many thanks to Mr Murrin for bringing his class to us. We look forward to welcoming Year 2 next week.
Dave Armitage gave one of his fascinating talks to the Shenley Fellowship this week and was well received by the members. Focussing on The History of North West Borehamwood, Dave expanded on his themes in the recent History Walk to explain the particular details of this area. The development of Theobald Street alone is a lengthy history talk, and when you take in the Organ Hall estate and its changes through the years, let alone the Leeming Road area, there is plenty to explore.
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The “Rail Trail” : Back by Popular Demand
2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of our railway service. This event triggered the rapid growth of Borehamwood and then attracted the studios which have prospered here for over 100 years.
As part of a programme to celebrate this anniversary, in May we held a guided tour of local places associated with the railway. Led by John Cartledge, the founder of the popular series of “Teddy’s Trails” in association with Elstree & Borehamwood Town Council, the walking tour lasted almost 3 hours and included a special authorised visit to the railway station.
The group’s feedback was very positive (“most interesting”, “material you gave us was first class”, “all very well organised”, “very enjoyable”, “lovely to meet everyone”) and so we will run a second session of the “Rail Trail” on Sunday 7th October, starting at 1:30 sharp at Allum Manor (2 Allum Lane WD6 3PJ) Parking is free.
After a short presentation, walkers will receive an extensive information pack before they set off, first to the railway station and then farther afield. We expect to return to Allum Manor by 5:00.
The group will not exceed 30 people; each walker is responsible for wearing footwear and clothing appropriate to the weather, and for observing all safety rules. At no time will the group get closer to the railway lines than when standing on the station platforms.
To register for this FREE event please visit Hertfordshire County Council’s “Walks and More” website here.
Friends Arrive For Their Tour
Yesterday afternoon the Friends of the Museum gathered for a tour of Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School in the Aldenham sunshine. John Wigley had visited us last October and given a fascinating talk on the history of the school, and he invited us then to pop round for tea. John has written the official history of the school, Serve And Obey (the school motto), and he is a master with a long association with Habs.
John Greets Us with our Info Sheets
We split into three groups, with John leading one, and your scribe being guided by Keith Cheyney. He introduced himself as having had an aunt who was beheaded. Since it was Anne Boleyn, it was a while ago. We were taken through the original house, the home of Lord Aldenham, and out to see the original courtyards, the old BBC building – so called because the BBC had requesitioned the house in the war – and then back via the splendid new Medburn Centre for sports, and the large library and hall.
This was followed by serious tea and scones or cake, and thanks all round. Thanks for a very interesting tour of an important local school.
On Monday 13th July 1868, the new Elstree Station opened its doors for the first time. 150 years later, on Sunday 15th July 2018, First Impressions, who have worked in partnership with the Museum on the current and continuing All Change! exhibition, hosted a gala event at the railway station in honour of this prestigious anniversary. Representatives from the Town Council, Hertsmere Borough Council, Elstree Screen Heritage, Elstree and Borehamwood Museum and Hertfordshire County Council gathered to celebrate with music from Borehamwood Brass, presentations and a cream tea at Allum Hall. As part of the celebrations, a brand new heritage plaque was unveiled.
Photos courtesy of Clive Butchins
Yesterday the crowds gathered at the Organ Hall Open Space for the annual Museum History Walk, the last event in the Civic Festival fortnight. Graced by the Mayor, Victor Eni, we assembled under the watchful eye of Dave Armitage, the Museum Manager, for a two hour, 3.7 mile walk around the north of Borehamwood.
Heading out of what was the Organ Hall estate, up Theobald Street, past the current Organ Hall farm, the Watersplash and up to Little Organ Hall (now called ‘Fields’), around 20 of us historical walkers were already heating up. Thankfully the organisers had provided water for us, but it was a very hot afternoon. Along the way Dave had photos of the significant points of interest, and we stopped to learn more as we went along. Dave was ably assisted by Teddy’s Trails creator, John Cartledge, whose wealth of local knowledge certainly added to the afternoon.
After a trip under the railway line, down Tykes Water Lane, and towards the Kendall Hall estate, we went back to cross Theobald Street again and up Rossington Avenue. Wending our way back to the start via Haggerston and Aberford Parks, Croxdale Road, the Old Haberdasher’s Sports Ground, and Gateshead Road.
An excellent afternoon excursion into the history and geography of a part of Borehamwood that is rarely discussed, but which has plenty to offer us history hounds.
John, in the brown hat, and Dave, with the photo, explain the history of the Old Habs Sports Ground
Our Museum Volunteers were out in force at Families Day yesterday with a bright blue sky and a beaming hot sun. We had two stalls this year – one featured Tony De Swarte’s amazing model of Elstree Station in 1900 (see elsewhere in the blog for more details), and the other included information about the Museum and the current All Change! Exhibition.
Tony’s model drew much interest, with families all around the display. We were also handing out tickets for a free steam train ride in Meadow Park. Built and operated by the St Albans Model Engineering Society it was a real miniature train complete with miniature coal, but real steam. The tickets advertised the Exhibition and a BR hole punch created that “welcome aboard” experience. Needless to say it was a most successful attraction with hundreds of families queueing up for their ride.
Three of us dressed up as British Railways operatives to add to the flavour of the day, and the train’s noises and steam whistle completed the picture.
Dave, Helen (who organised the whole day) and Simon try to look the part!
Bushey Model Railway Society and First Impressions held a display of railway models at 96 Shenley Road on Sunday 24th. The detail of these layouts had to be seen to be believed, and were the result of many hours of effort. The day and displays were entirely free and celebrated 150 years of our local railway service.
Also on display was the amazing model of our station in 1900 by Tony De Swarte which has been added to since last shown in 96. It was soon to feature in Families Day…