Look out for the Historical Society’s contribution to the YoC2020. All our talks and other events will be listed on the YoC Events and What’s On pages on the Creative Hertfordshire website https://www.creativehertfordshire.com/resources/year-of-culture-2020/, and we expect the network will grow quickly across the county. There’s going to be a lot going on – and not just in Rickmansworth!
The Open University has a project to locate historic ‘cages’, lock-ups, prisons, police stations and the like across the country. We have contributed the information about the original ‘cage’ for Rickmansworth, which was at the rear of the now-demolished Beresford Almshouses in the High Street, adjacent to what is now the Fox and Hounds. It was replaced by the new police station cells in Talbot Road in 1864.
The research was done by our founder Godfrey Cornwall and first published in the third edition of The Rickmansworth Historian in early 1962.
The BALH website is at https//www.prisonhistory.org/local-lock-up/lockup-search. Search for Hertfordshire, 1700-1799, and go to the map to find Rickmansworth: but there are another 718 lock-ups listed!
There has always been an interest in the original courses of the three rivers Chess, Gade and Colne as they met at Rickmansworth before the Grand Junction Canal was cut and changed the courses of all three. At least two local residents are working, independently, to follow in the footsteps of Geoff Saul and resolve the matter for once and for all.
One problem, of course, is that the rivers did not stick rigidly to their bed – so when do we define ‘original’? A major flood, such as that of February 1795, may well have made significant changes as the rivers flowed though farmland. Few of the old maps, which seem to offer vital clues, were surveyed suficiently accurately to be reliable. And there are very few primary sources which describe the rivers clearly enough to help.
So work continues on this long-standing conundrum, helped (or perhaps not) by a constant commentary, with maps etc, on local Facebook pages. This Society may take this as a proper research project in the near future!