All the talks take place on a Wednesday in the Mead Hall in East Lane, Wheathampstead

       (behind The Bull, next to the free car park, starting at 7.30 pm).

         Admission is £1.00 for members and £3.00 for non-members and guests.


March 2022 update

The relaunch of our programme of monthly talks at the Mead Hall is going well. The five talks held so far have been well attended and much appreciated. They are still (at the time of writing) subject to a maximum attendance of 30 people and members may wish to wear face coverings. We are now planning the programme for the rest of the year and will alert all members to forthcoming talks as well as putting up posters in the village.




20 October

Kris Lockyear





Mapping Verulamium  

  In this talk, Kris brought us up to date with the latest findings that he and his team of volunteers have made at Verulamium, particularly in the western half of the old city, now the estate of Gorhambury. He showed how combining three methods of geophysics (ground penetrating radar, magnetometry and earth resistance surveys) can reveal extraordinary detail of what is underground without the need to excavate. For more about these methods, click here.  

17 November


Jon Mein


The Red Lion - a story of a

500-year-old St Albans inn

  The Red Lion inn, under a series of different names and rebuilt at least twice, stood on the corner of French Row and High Street in St Albans. Jon showed how, starting in the 15th century, the fortunes of the inn ebbed and flowed according to the state of the coaching business. When St Albans was a day's ride from London, the inn boomed along with more than 20 others in the town. The introduction of an up-market competitor in Fishpool Street damaged the business and the arrival of the railways made things even worse. The emergence of St Albans as a tourist attraction and business centre, and mass ownership of the motor car, led to some revival.   

15 December

Mike Smith 


        Christmas Day

       in the workhouse  

 Using a variety of photographs and slides of original documents kept at HALS, Mike described the historical background and legislative context of the opening of the Wheathampstead workhouse in High Street in the mid-18th century. A document dated 1821 listed the 30 occupants of the workhouse at that date and another, dated 1824, stated the 'Rules for the Poorhouse'. Particularly fascinating were the letters exchanged between different parish authorities concerning settlement disputes and which authority should pay for the support of individuals and families who had moved between parishes. The Wheathampstead workhouse closed in 1836 and the building and contents were sold. Mike showed us the inventory of the contents and his reconstruction of the layout of the building which was demolished in 1936.  



19 January

Mike Smith




                in ten objects

  In an entertaining and informative sprint through the history of Wheathampstead, Mike took us from Wheathampstead Lake half a million years ago, via the Iron Age, Romans, Saxons, medieval and modern periods, to the 19th and 20th centuries. He showed how the village has lived through periods of boom and slump, and finished on an optimistic note for the future. In discussion, many members were able to contribute to the main presentation.

16 February

Tony Berk


        The origins and history

                of Harpenden

  Dr. Tony Berk gave a fascinating presentation about the Origins of Harpenden that effectively challenged the old notion that Harpenden owed its growth to the coming of the mainline railway in the late 1860s. Two crucial drivers helped to raise Harpenden's profile and to foster growth. The first was the establishment of the Rothamsted Experimental Station in 1843 by John Benet Lawes and its highly influential work on crop yields. The second was the Harpenden horse races that ran from the 1830s until 1914. The first regular race in 1848 attracted a crowd of 10,000.

16 March

Ken Griffin



Gallows Hill and

Hertfordshire executions


20 April

Elizabeth Eastwood



The lost palaces of Hertfordshire


18 May

Dianne Payne



Researching and writing

a book for Wheathampstead


15 June

Heather Falvey


The jottings of two Buntingford vicars:

the Layston Parish Memorandum Book 


20 July

Zoe Jasko


What the wind saw - short stories

from the heart of Hertfordshire





 There will not be a meeting in August


21 September

Elizabeth Eastwood


The Wicked Women of Hertfordshire





The following local and national societies offer a wide variety of online talks. 


The St Albans History Society (SAHAAS), better known as the 'Arc & Arc'. Click here  


The Hertfordshire Association for Local History (HALH). Click here


The Institute for Historical Research (IHR). Click here.


The National Archives. Click here


Gresham Lectures. Click here.