Trace Old Town’s past with a unique heritage trail

An example of the plaques used along the new Old Town Heritage Trail, here shown on The Bury

An example of the plaques used along the new Old Town Heritage Trail, here shown on The Bury

Visitors to the newly-renovated Old Town in Hemel Hempstead can find out all about the history of the area thanks to a new trail of heritage plaques.

Dacorum Borough Council commissioned the round black and gold badges to fit in with the colours and materials in the High Street’s new street furniture, and will be officially launching them in conjunction with the inaugural Old Town Street Festival on Saturday, from 1pm to 6pm.

While English Heritage operates the National Blue Plaque Scheme for buildings where an individual of national historical importance lived, the local authority has developed its concept by marking places of general interest along the route from Piccotts End to Queensway – including the Bury and Old Town Hall.

This emblems, which are 16ins in diameter, feature key facts about the buildings’ architectural, historic and social background.

A Heritage Trail leaflet has been compiled by the council and volunteers from the Dacorum Heritage Trust, who were consulted with to ensure factual accuracy on each of the plaques.

The leaflets are free to all and can be picked up from the civic offices in Tring, Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead, the Old Town Hall and directly from the Dacorum Heritage Trust.

Other places included in the trail are the 1882 build formerly hometo Lloyd’s Bank, which operated from 1926 until 1997, along with the White Hart pub which dates back to 1655 and has ghost stories associated with it.

The home to the Hemel Hempstead Institute and Club since 1919 on Queensway has been chosen to receive the honour, along with the Oak House in the High Street.

The Norman St Mary’s Church – which features one of the tallest spires in Europe dating back to the 14th century – will also be adorned with the signs.

Council leader and cabinet member for planning and regeneration Andrew Williams said: “We have an incredible heritage, and one which we remain justifiably proud of.

“This is our opportunity to showcase the area’s rich history to all who live, work or visit Hemel Hempstead Old Town. I hope the heritage trail will be enjoyed and well-used by people in years to come.”

Using the leaflet, people can visit the historic sites on a self-guided tour which takes around an hour. They can follow the trail in any direction and do not have to complete the entire route.

Visit from Saturday for more.




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