Welcome to the Elstree & Borehamwood Museum blog.

This blog is about a few museum items that have caught our attention from events and exhibitions, to new discoveries in the collections, to news and views.

Any comments and items to go here please contact Simon on

Here is a picture of an old telephone ... won't need this to contact us....

Writers In The Wood Meets The Friends

Thursday 23 February 2017

Getting Ready For the Start

Lorraine Reading

Last night The Friends of the Museum gathered for an event organised by the Writers in the Wood group, ably assisted by Matt Caro and Maureen Corman. Lorraine Reed, the guiding light of the WITW, started the proceedings with readings of her children’s times-tables poetry, followed by slightly more scatalogical, but extremely amusing, adult works.  Lorraine had a quick quiz for all of us based round the history of Borehamwood, and Brenda Treacher won the Tesco voucher!

Lorraine also managed to get 11 volunteers to stand to slowly reveal the letters of Borehamwood from her poem, although unfortunately they were back to front!

Madge In Full Flow

Lorraine was followed by Emily ‘Madge’ Payne who read some of her poems to us based on her Poetry Princess character.  Madge has written over 300 poems by now and the audience were enthralled at her words and rhyming from the few she read us.

There then followed a few swift drinks and nibbles and a bit of magic from Magic Mike who confounded us all with his card and dictionary mind-reading trick.  Lastly came Steve J Pemberton who read us one of his science fiction stories specially created for the evening. Drawing us all into his alien worlds with his quiet purposeful voice we could see how Steve has produced such a number of cult classics.

Steve in the Twilight Zone

Finally a couple of poetical Friends read out their poems – the aforementioned Brenda with her ode to The Wood, and Joyce Seward read a poem about her long-lost cat.  Joyce won the initial Friends Poetry Award by a cats whisker.

A hugely enjoyable evening for all students of the iambic pentameter and outer space!

The Writers Gathered Together

Teachers Drop In

Friday 10 February 2017

Five teachers from Cowley Hill, Kennilworth and Meryfield schools visited the drop-in event at the Museum, held over three afternoons in February. Teachers had a chance to view the current exhibition and learn about the outreach services that the Museum can provide. The three schools received a free Curriculum Resource Pack, linked to the exhibition From Village To Town: Celebrating A Century of Migration.

Going Down The Village with Vic

Thursday 2 February 2017

Vic Rowntree, author of From Ladbrooke Grove to Borehamwood, gave a presentation on his memories of moving to Borehamwood as a boy in the 1950s. A bygone era of newly built houses on the edge of fields and the countryside beyond, quiet roads in which children could play unattended, and local merchants delivering milk, bread and groceries. The many and varied photographs of the time prompted lots of memories and discussion.

Next meeting: Thursday March 2nd. Topic: Factories

Going Down The Village for Christmas Food

Thursday 8 December 2016

With the festive season in mind the Reminiscence meeting this month was based on Christmas shops, food and restaurants​. As well as an interesting discussion about food eaten at Christmases past, the making and baking of pies and puddings, the thought of looking for silver threepence coins inside a pudding brought back memories. The PowerPoint  presentations showed some of the eateries that were once based in the area and also some of the former shops that sold Christmas food. To complement the session tea, coffee, mince pies were handed out.

A Visit From The Local Pack

Monday 5 December 2016

A group of 16 Guides and Brownies from the 5th Borehamwood pack visited the museum on Wednesday 23rd November in the evening. They were very interested in the museum cash register, handling pre-decimal money and weighing out sweets.  Lynda Marshall and Dave Armitage discussed what we were doing at their age, and illustrated this by the use of photographs. The museum tour was conducted ty Lynda Parkin.

Our Monksmead Friends Visit Us

Friday 25 November 2016

In November two classes from Monksmead School visited the museum. Great fun was had by all using the old-fashioned cash register , handling pre-decimal coins and weighing out 2oz of sweets in Hanson and Maud’s sweetshop.

The children explored the museum and both classes took part in a Curious Curator workshop, handling a range of artefacts including a Bakelite telephone and an Edwardian hot-water bottle.

In another workshop, the Year 2 children used maps and photographs to find out just how much Borehamwood had changed in a 100 years.

The younger children in Year 1 handled and played with a range of old-fashioned toys including a Diabolo and a spinning top.

Haberdasher's Aske's Visit the Museum

Thursday 24 November 2016

A class of 6th form boys from Haberdashers’ Aske’s school visited the museum on Thursday 17th November.

The visit was undertaken as part of their A-level Geography course with the aim of exploring "the developing character of a place local to your school".

As well as the museum tour, the day included interviews with people who live in the area, and a PowerPoint presentation on the changes to Borehamwood since 1940.  After leaving the museum the boys went on the explore the town and see the many changes for themselves.

Going Down The Village : Open Places, Rivers and Waterways

Wednesday 9 November 2016

The monthly Reminiscence meeting - Going Down The Village - is proving to be very popular.​ This takes place in the rear hall at 96 on the first Thursday of each month.

The topic for November was Open Places, Rivers and Waterways.  18 visitors brought memories of their time at Aldenham Lake, and also the water splash in Theobald Street, as well outings to Meadow Park. This was supported by 25 photos on a PowerPoint presentation. These showed many views of Borehamwood through the ages, including the construction of Aberford Park, the sewage farm in Eldon Avenue and the aqueduct at the Brickfields.

The photos generated quite a discussion on dates and time for the various locations. The meeting is aided by free tea and biscuits.  Next month we’ll be discussing Restaurants and Christmas Food.

October's Down The Village

Tuesday 11 October 2016

At this month’s meeting of Going Down The Village our regulars reminisced about Health and Old Time Remedies. Do you remember taking cod liver oil or having your chest covered with Vick if you had a cold? Want to get rid of a boil, then heat the spout of a bottle and place it over the boil. As it cools the boil burst! Painful, but apparently effective. BUT DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!!

It was 5 shillings to see a doctor and many families paid into an insurance to cover the cost. So many home remedies were of importance because seeing a doctor was expensive for many families.

In November we will be looking at Open Places, Rivers and Waterways.


Wednesday 28 September 2016

The Friends of the Museum met last night for an entertaining and illuminating talk by Fred Thomas.  Fred ran the Boreham Wood ironmongers in Shenley Road for over 50 years and was a regular fixture in The Village. 

The evening was introduced by the Mayor Clive Butchins and Museum Manager Dave Armitage, and then the event organiser, Maureen Corman, proceeded to prompt Fred’s fascinating journey through his life from Stanmore to Keele to Kenilworth and back to the Boreham Wood shop.  A video shot just before Fred retired and closed the shop in 2000 revealed both his depth of hardware and d-i-y knowledge, and his depth of stock, not to mention his knowldege of the area and his loyal customers.  Now of course we have to buy screws and nails in packs, but then you could buy them by weight, and Fred could help you with whatever your current project needed.

The evening was rounded off with drinks, nibbles, and a raffle, and Friends could visit our Down The Shops Exhibition.  If you would like to join The Friends please visit their page on this website for full details.

Maureen, Fred and Dave

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