Abbots Langley Local History Society

Winter Programme 2021-2022



Below is our programme of talks for the 2021-22 season. As of October 2021, our talks have returned to the Manor House hall after an absence of some 18 months due to the covid pandemic.

Talks are free for ALLHS members; visitors  are welcome for a suggested donation of £2.

Manor House Sports & Social Centre Gallows Hill Lane, Abbots Langley WD5 0DD
Bar and Refreshments

Please read the conditions for attending the hall in order to comply with Abbots Langley Parish Council requirements for use of their facility.

Map and directions


For the time being, we plan to continue our trial of simultaneously broadcasting talks by Zoom. This facility will be available to ALLHS members who will be invited by email to the Zoom talks.

To become a member, please email for an application form. The membership year runs from 1 June and is currently £8 per year for single membership and £12 per year for family membership.


Talks start at 8pm - Zoom meetings open at 7.45pm (*AGM starts at 7.30pm).

Click on a talk title (or the + sign) for more details of the talk.

Monday 27th September 2021

The story of Sir Arthur Lasenby Liberty of Chesham, Bucks. who in 1875 founded the shop Liberty in Regent Street, London

William Phillips
Monday 25th October 2021

This presentation takes a tour of the former Royal Gunpowder Factory at Waltham Abbey. It examines both the history of the site and the development of gunpowder and chemical explosives including nitro-glycerine, guncotton and cordite. It looks at the canals and boats that formed the backbone of the transport system within the site.

Richard Thomas
Monday 29th November 2021

A history of the short-lived Rickmansworth to Watford railway line and how it was intended to provide an early railway "M25" to bring cheap Welsh coal to the people of Watford. It was originally intended to join up with the GWR at Uxbridge but would it have been broad gauge or standard gauge?

Chris Hillier is a retired engineer with an interest in local industrial history.

Chris Hillier
Monday 13th December 2021

A talk which explores how our colourful Christmas traditions and customs came into being and how they are celebrated. The presentation also includes some of the lesser-known folklore including Jesse Trees, Chrismons, Mumming Plays and Wassailing.

About the Speaker

Mark is a freelance artist, designer-silversmith and semi-retired university lecturer who has enjoyed a wide-ranging teaching career. Until the summer of 2009, he was a Principal Lecturer in the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design at London Metropolitan University. He currently lectures part-time at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in London and is a visiting lecturer at Birmingham City University.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Horners. Mark is also a folklorist and has been an active member of the Folklore Society since 1987, speaking regularly at their conferences around the UK. Mark has a particular interest in unusual local customs and rituals and in 2013 he published a book on the folklore and popular customs of the church. Furthermore, he is a pharologist (passionate about lighthouses!) being an active member of the Association of Lighthouse Keepers and a founding member of the World Lighthouse Society.

Mark Lewis
Monday 31st January 2022

A talk by Sally Humphrey about the history of The Grove, once home of the Earl of Clarendon.

Sally is Front of House Manager at The Grove and is passionate about its history.

Sally Humphrey
Monday 28th February 2022


Kate Macnish
Monday 28th March 2022


Brian Thomson
Monday 25th April 2022


Simon West
Monday 23rd May 2022*




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