Homelessness threatens existence of London Colney history society archives

PUBLISHED: 17:30 22 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:35 22 May 2018

Pictures from the London Colney archive. Bell Inn (now Macdonalds)

Pictures from the London Colney archive. Bell Inn (now Macdonalds)

Archant

Unique local history records are in danger of being destroyed.

Pictures from the London Colney archive. Bell Inn (now Macdonalds)Pictures from the London Colney archive. Bell Inn (now Macdonalds)

The London Colney Local History Society is searching for a home for their archives, which include about 3,000 photographs and paper records that exist nowhere else.

The extensive documentation used to be stored at the London Colney Library, then in the JW&Co Langleys estate agents offices, and then in a member’s garage.

Now that member is moving house, six filing cabinets full of valuable archives are homeless again.

The society says it has unsuccessfully approached London Colney Parish Council and St Albans district council, and is now appealing to businesses, residents, or other societies.

Pictures from the London Colney archive. High Street, London Colney, 1910.Pictures from the London Colney archive. High Street, London Colney, 1910.

Committee member Ken Barker said if they are forced to approach the Hertfordshire Archives, they will probably have to bin some of the files.

He said: “It would be a shame if these collections of archive material would be lost.

“It will be a last resort because we will be in a situation where, I have little doubt, some of it would be destroyed.

“No-one personally has sufficient room at home to sort the cabinets - if no-one is able to help the problem at all then we will have to hire a skip.

Pictures from the London Colney archive. Tillbrook Stores.Pictures from the London Colney archive. Tillbrook Stores.

“The records have lots of photographs of the high street, the pubs, plenty about the characters in London Colney, and the paper records are unique to London Colney and once they are gone, they are gone.”

He said the photographs have been digitised, but “obviously the originals are the ones with the historical value”.

It is unclear when their current home will no longer be available, and so the committee is acting quickly.

Ken is also the editor of a history magazine called The Record, which uses the archives. He has been a resident of London Colney for about 20 years and has been helping at the history society for 10.

Pictures from the London Colney archive. Mrs Tilbrook, 1910Pictures from the London Colney archive. Mrs Tilbrook, 1910

The London Colney Local History Society was founded in 1997 and has about 120 members. Find out more at www.londoncolneyhistory.co.uk/

St Albans district council was not aware of any formal approaches by the society. Anyone who could help should contact Ken on 01727 822 564 or admin@londoncolneyhistory.co.uk

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