Events 2024 


The NHS: Reform or Privatise?

Park Hall, Leyton Green, Harpenden AL5 2LX

Background Information:

BACKGROUND INFO: Marmot and Wanless Reviews 2020/21

Fiona Bruce knows a thing or two about Skateboarding.

TV presenter of Antiques Roadshow and newscaster Fiona presented a section recently about  Skateboarding from Clissold Park in Hackney.

A local veteran explained how it all began for him and friends back in the 60’s when roller skates were attached to wood boards, graduating on to Go Carts before making individually designed boards as forerunners of those today, Many of these are now ‘vintage boards’ as seen on the programme.

The art of boarding took place originally in industrial sites when closed before the demand for Park sites became the norm.

Skateboarding now isn’t just for the younger generation, there’s quite few oldies still on the scene,...Harpenden take note.

We were all part of Harpenden's Local History Day on 20 April

Over 1,200 were at the Local History Day at the Eric Morecambe Centre; the contributors, exhibitors, marshals, etc. were joined by over 1,100 members of the public, making the event a great day for Harpenden and district.  The venue was rocking!  

Annie Brewster at the close of the Day, for which this was her first public event as High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, said “When you asked me last summer about the idea for this event, I would not have believed what a success it could be, thanks to the legion of volunteers. We have learned so much about our past. We have also witnessed our future with the young children on stage.   Hopefully, this is the first of many such spectacles the Society will create for us.”

Below: The official event opening with High Sheriff Annie Brewster, Town Mayor Fiona Gaskell and Society Chair Roger Butterworth

Cllr Fiona Gaskell, Mayor of Harpenden, says, "The Day was a memorable event. There was a real buzz throughout, with enthusiastic residents enjoying the museum, talks and exhibitions. Many people appeared to stay throughout the day as there was so much to see and do.  Warmest congratulations to the team who worked so hard on the event, and I look forward to seeing and hearing a lot more of the History Society in future."

I heartily thank the High Sheriff, the Mayor and all contributors, including those from other organisations, and the children who entered our competition, plus all marshals and other volunteers, together with the staff of EMC, who shared in the excitement, all of whom made a vital contribution to the overwhelming success of the day.  Not only was the total number, 1,200, pleasingly surprising, but the vitality of those attending throughout the four hours was tremendous.  And thank you to all those who came; your interest and excitement was itself a tremendous for the team.

Owing to limited space the High Sheriff cut the ribbon at the Museum doorway at a private gathering some time prior to the public being in the building.(Below with Chair Roger Butterworth and  School Arts competition organiser Pamela Doran)

Laura Bull, our 500th visitor on the day, (Above) was awarded free membership and was photographed with the Mayor and our Chairman.

The Herbert family including our 1,000th visitor, also receiving free membership, and were photographed with our chairman, Dr Alexander Thomas, one of the speakers, and Kate Barton, EMC manager.

Numerous people visited the new Museum for the first time.(Above) From 27 April the museum will open 11am-3pm every Saturday and as many Tuesdays and Thursdays for which we have volunteers.

Comments received included: “The talks, which were excellent, attracted queues, so the room could have been filed 3 times over!”

(See above Talk by Dr Tony Berk ) “The quality presentation of the maps and old photos was impressive; people lingered so long to take them all in!”  “Children were really getting stuck into being creative at the art table.”  “Wasn’t the Roman soldier wonderful.”  “So good to see the villages represented here, as well as Rothamsted and St Albans.”  “Surprisingly, more people had heard of Frank Salisbury than expected and were showing a real interest.”  “Good to see the children involved and on stage as their reward.” (Below right: Town Mayor Fiona Gaskell awarding prize in the My Harpenden art competition. Below left;People looking at the Growth of  Harpenden exhibition boards)

We put on this event to relaunch the Society, now we have our museum, to educate the public on our local history and to make a contribution to the cultural life of Harpenden. We also aimed to significantly increase membership, which was fulfilled – on Saturday alone our membership increased by 50%. 

If you enjoyed the event, or have simply heard about it in the magnificent press coverage, why not join the Society. 

Also, why not participate in our activities and volunteer for the museum rota or other vacant roles in running the Society.

Report from Roger Butterworth. Chairman

Harpenden Rugby Club names local charity, The AT Society as its Charity of the Year.

The AT Society, a small charity based in Harpenden, was delighted to be chosen as the first ever local Charity of the Year for Harpenden Rugby Club for the rugby season 24/25.Harpenden Rugby Club has produced many top professional players at both club and international level. With a history spanning over a century, the club stands as one of England’s premier level 5 amateur clubs, boasting a vibrant community comprising 3 senior men’s sides and a women’s team, minis, juniors (both girls and boys), and a mixed ability group. Additionally, the club hosts various tournaments throughout the year, such as the annual Pubs 7’s event, now in its 54th year.The charity partnership presents an excellent opportunity for fundraising as well as raising awareness around the rare, degenerative condition, Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT), and the people living with this condition whom the charity supports.Founded 35 years ago by the parents of two children with AT, the charity's connection withHarpenden Rugby Club was initiated by Nick Gull, a charity Trustee and club member.

“We are absolutely delighted to have been selected as Harpenden RugbyClub’s Charity of the Year. The partnership will have a huge impact forThe AT Society, enabling us to supportmore families who have a child with the life-limiting, disabling condition, AT. We have already received a great responsef rom members of the club and we can’t wait for the partnership to start ”Susie Norbury, Director of Fundraising & Operations.

Pictured above: Sally Milligan, Fundraising Manager, pictured with Will Hutchins, Club President and Nick Gull at Harpenden Rugby Club.

Flying the flag for local artists

on June 8th & 9th June at Art on the Common.

An amazing range of art with paintings,illustrations. ceramics, wood cuttings, photography from Harpenden based artists and surrounding towns.

This Event is now established as THE place to see and be seen in Herts.

A truly inspiring exhibition of beauty and creativity.

Harpenden welcomes thousands to the Summer Carnival on June 8.

Harpenden Town Council welcomed thousands of residents and visitors to the 57th Summer Carnival on Saturday (8th June). The event was an exciting summer celebration in the heart of vibrant Harpenden.

The Carnival, which was free to attend, raised money for charities including the Town Mayor’s chosen charities Youth Talk and the Harpenden Trust's Wellbeing Hub and others selected by the Round Table. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, stallholders, participants and visitors, money raised over the years has supported countless great causes.

An invitation to join a Harpenden Learning for Leisure course in September 2024

Dear Student, Our apologies if you have already received this message. We have had email problems of which none of us are immune.

Are you are interested in what goes on around you? Would you be interested to learn more of a favourite topic or to learn something of a topic you know nothing about? Do you want to keep your brain active, stimulate those little grey cells? How do you feel about participating with like-minded people? If the answer is ‘Yes’ to any of those questions then an HLfL course may just be what you are looking for.

Harpenden Learning for Leisure is a not-for-profit organisation run by local people.  It runs courses on a wide range of topics, each led by an experienced professional.  Each course comprises 10 weekly daytime sessions, each session lasting 1½ or 2 hours.  No qualifications are required to attend. There is no homework and no exams.  Fees are payable, but are set at a level to only cover costs. Our participants find courses an affordable, friendly, informal and enjoyable experience, with many returning every year.

Favourite courses include John Winter’s Music appreciation course, this time we will look at ‘Britain Land of Song’. Michael King explores ‘The Celtic Contribution’ in his popular series of Literature courses. Ian Waller continues his ‘Victorian Social History’ and Adam Smith examines ‘The English Country House’. Ever popular Virginia Briscoe returns with her lively Current Affairs class. We have new courses: Michael King will cover ‘British Poetry of the 20th Century’ and Tim Parrott will ably guide us around the ‘Design Challenges of Iconic Buildings and Bridges’. We have two 5 week courses this autumn: ‘20th Century British Art - The Great Bardfield Artists’ and ‘Great British Comic Artists’ presented by Rosanna Eckersley and Martin Attridge respectively. This is something of a departure from the full term courses, see how you like them.

Courses take place in the Autumn and Spring terms from The Harpenden Trust Centre in Southdown, and the Function Room of the Plough and Harrow, just across the road. The Plough and Harrow Function Room has its own entrance at the rear of the building.  Ample parking is available at the CO-OP nearby. There is usually a break for schools’ half term.

If you would like to find out more then do visit the Harpenden Learning for Leisure website: If you have any further queries then please reply to this email message or send a separate one to: If you need some guidance about enrolment then send an email message to Elaine O’ Elaine will happily call you back if you would like to speak to someone in person, but remember to include your telephone number.

September may seem some way off but please note that courses get booked-up. We limit the number of attendees so do apply soon. Take a look at our website, choose a course or courses, complete a form and make your application. If you are interested in a Spring 2025 course please hold your application until towards the end of the Autumn term. We will let you know when nearer the time. You can download a printable handout of the courses by clicking on the following link:

Wherever you happen to find yourself this summer, I hope things go well for you and enjoy the good weather while you can.

John W. Smith, for the committee. Harpenden Learning for Leisure.

PS. The course ‘Design Challenges of Iconic Buildings and Bridges’ is already fully booked. Sorry but we don’t have a waiting list.