Borough museum bid: fingers firmly crossed as Dacorum delegation heads to summit session

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Dedicated guardians of Dacorum’s heritage who have been working for years to bring a permanent museum to the borough will have their fingers firmly crossed today.

A team representing Dacorum Borough Council and the Dacorum Heritage Trust is heading for Cambridge for a crunch meeting with Heritage Lottery Fund administrators.

The Bury, Hemel Hempstead.

The Bury, Hemel Hempstead.

And if things go well, the purse-strings could be loosened and the project can take another important step forward.

Trust chairman Roger Hands, who will be part of the delegation, says the meeting aims to build on a similar session in January 2012 when lottery fund bosses were first briefed on the Phoenix Project, which aims to develop The Bury – currently the Hemel Hempstead town centre home of Herts County Council’s register office – as a museum and art gallery, including a purpose-built museum store.

Mr Hands said: “At our earlier meeting the signs were very encouraging – our projects have been carefully calculated and will meet an obvious need in the borough.

“At a time when visitors are being encouraged to come to Dacorum, it’s clear that we need a proper museum where we can display our rich heritage to its best advantage.

“This has been a dream for many years how, but at last it looks as if we might be able to turn it into a reality.”

Also on the table are ambitious plans to buy the Grade I listed Piccotts End cottage which contains unique pre-Reformation wall paintings which drew big crowds for rare public tours last month – see video report.

The Trust is now planning a series of open days at The Bury, which has played a key role in the history of the town, next spring.

The Trust claims to be unique because it has full ‘accredited museum’ status even though there is no actual museum – but it is keen to be able to put that right, as long as heritage and other funding can be secured.

Experts will be offering valuations and tips at Ashridge House on Sunday to help raise funds for the trust. The event is open from 10am. until 4pm, charging £3 per item (maximum of 5 items per person). Find out more at www.dacorumheritage.org.uk