About The Society

COVID-19 – we’re back, and going strong!

Due to the current situation the Society had to cancel our last three meetings of last spring. But we were able to recommence by moving on-line, and virtual meetings started in September. The three cracking meetings we’ve had so far, and those still to come, are now on the Programme 2020/2021 tab. Members will be invited automatically – non-members can ask to be invited through the Contact Us form (or of course can ask to join, even better).

At some stage after Christmas, and depending on government advice and regulations nearer the time, we hope to be able to return to Cloisters Hall – but we won’t know for a while, and we’re planning on our next few meetings being on line as well.

We’re very conscious that this doesn’t allow all our members to take part, but we’ve had encouraging support from some of those who can’t. Better, we believe, to serve most well enough than to withdraw altogether.

It may be of interest that one of our members is now researching Pest Houses and Pandemics, following a strand of public health management from medieval times to the present…. Watch out for a book and a talk (or two) of unexpected relevance!

In any case our writing and researching has continued, and Issue 22 of the Rickmansworth Historical Review was issued to members in October. It has (among other things) articles on local medieval wills by Heather Falvey, the long walk by Brian Thomson ‘in the steps of Herbert Tompkins’, a article by the late Godfrey Cornwall on Shepherd’s Farm, and an outline of future research around the changing urban landscape of Rickmansworth. Members are, we hope, enjoying it – and so will non-members when they join (see below)!

Vacancies (and Jobs) on our Committee

At the AGM we lost two long-standing Committee members. Alison Wall has found her time too squeezed by other interests, and has stood down while remaining a member of the Society: and Pat Hamilton, who has organised our talks programme for some years, has relinquished her role.

So we have vacancies, and exciting opportunities! In particular, a Talks Organiser would be very welcome: it gives you the chance to meet a range of very interesting people, and to make a real contribution to local history in our area.

We’d normally have canvassed hard at meetings for fellow-members to step forward – but of course we can’t, so please take this as an invitation to get involved in your local Historical Society!

Don’t all rush at once…. but do ‘Contact us’ to let the Chairman know of your interest.

We’ll keep members informed of developments in the usual way, and the public through this website.

The Three Rivers Museum has also been back – briefly!

We were happy to hear that our colleagues at the Museum planned to re-open, on Saturdays only, from Saturday 5th September, 10am to 2pm. They had to put in place various measures, of course, most of which will now be very familiar – and the numbers they could have inside at once were severely limited.  But they were there, and ready to show off Rickmansworth and Three Rivers history!

But of course, at the start of November they had to close again. They’ll return once the situation permits – but only when it’s really worth while, and so not before Christmas. HOWEVER – the Museum too is moving on-line, and you can find their YouTube channel here.  They plan an occasional series of short items on various aspects of their collection – so stand by for more – and subscribe to the YouTube channel!

So Welcome to our website!

The Rickmansworth Historical Society was founded in 1954 on the initiative of Godfrey Cornwall, its first Chairman.

We’re still taking part in the Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020 – you can see the official launch video here!V4 square green

Our interests embrace the history of the “old parish area” of Rickmansworth which includes Chorleywood, West Hyde, Mill End, Croxley Green, Loudwater, Batchworth and Eastbury as well as the town of Rickmansworth.

We publish the Rickmansworth Historical Review three times a year, and welcome articles on topics of both local and wider interest.

We usually meet at 8pm on the second Thursday of the month from September to June inclusive in the Cloisters Hall, The Cloisters, WD3 1HL, opposite St Joan of Arc School in Rickmansworth High Street, and we have a number of events during the year. We welcome visitors to our talks and meetings – the fee to visitors is £3, payable at the door, with no need to book!

The Committee meets about four times a year to conduct business and plan the programme.


The annual subscription is £10 for individual membership, £15 for family membership and corporate membership. Apply for membership by contacting the Membership Secretary, using the ‘Contact Us‘ page.
Payment is due on 1st September to the Membership Secretary. You can now pay your subs on line, by BACS transfer!


The website promotes the Society’s meetings, activities and publications, and the ongoing research of members or local people even if not members (although we hope you’ll all join). It will also promote other local history publications, and the work of relevant societies and organisations not necessarily local to us.

So we intend an increasing number of articles and items about the story of Rickmansworth. We will also be developing our Blog, which will allow short items to be posted. You can contribute by ‘commenting’ on a ‘post’ or a page, or by submitting an article for publication, after appropriate review.

We don’t intend an extensive gallery of images and photographs, although articles will often be illustrated. Those will be found on the Three Rivers Museum website, and on the Social Media posts of a number of local residents.

2 thoughts on “About The Society

  1. I reckon there were only two – the Rickmansworth Picture House (12 March 1927 – 22 June 1963), which became part of the Essoldo empire in 1954; and the Odeon (Jan 1936 – Jan 1957) (see Anthony Walker, ‘Walkers of Ricky’, pp.145-153). Other may know otherwise, and will no doubt say so!

    The Rickmansworth Electric Picture House (confusingly, not the same as the Rickmansworth Picture House!) was licensed in 1906 for plays and for cinema in 1911, but when the Picture House was built in 1927 the license wasn’t renewed and it was wound up in 1929 (see Adrienne and Christopher Jacques, ‘Rickmansworth – a pictorial history’, image 51, and Tony Walker, ‘Walkers of Ricky’, pp.148-149).

    There were some other proposals (for example in Mill End) in the early years of the 20th century, and some may even have shown pictures, but none seem to have survived long, and the Picture House certainly filled a gap by providing a ‘modern’ cinema in the 20s, 30s and 40s, and into the 1950s.


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