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Mural tours ‘trial run’ for more town heritage ideas for Dacorum

The Bury, Queensway, Hemel Hempstead.

The Bury, Queensway, Hemel Hempstead.

Plans to celebrate the little-known gems of Dacorum’s heritage are underway as a series of historical projects get off the ground.

The Dacorum Heritage Trust has recently kickstarted its campaign to establish a museum at the 15th century Piccotts End cottages, which house rare pre-Reformation Catholic wall murals, following a successful run of public tours last autumn.

Those lucky enough to view the rare paintings – which had not been put on public display for more than 20 years – have now been contacted to help raise funds to purchase the site as a historical resource for the community.

Cashing in on the success of the open days, Trust members now hope to do the same with another of the borough’s most iconic buildings – the striking white 17th century build The Bury, home to MP for Hemel Hempstead Mike Penning’s offices.

Trust chairman Roger Hands said: “We will be able to give a flavour of the building and possibly combine it with a walk through the High Street to see how it fits in.

“This will be a good trial run for future heritage events, especially for when the High Street is back up and running.

“It is all new ground for the Trust but we feel relaxed and optimistic after the success of the Piccotts End open days. It is all very positive.”

Though details on the dates of the latest walking tours are yet to be finalised, it is hoped the first ones will be held early next month.

The Trust, which houses more than 110,000 artefacts relating to the history of Dacorum in its Berkhamsted museum, is also running two oral history projects this year.

Entitled Talking New Towns and Saving the 1970s, the schemes aims to collate residents’ memories of the borough in the 1970s or Hemel Hempstead as a new town in the 1950s.

Email Nina Glencross, appointed as the Trust’s first collections manager, on collectionsmanager@dacorumheritage.org.uk or call 01442 879525 to get involved.

To support the Piccotts End cottage appeal, email the project’s volunteer campaign manager Mark Stephens on fundraising@dacorumheritage.org.uk.

 

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