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Heritage takes centre stage at North Herts Museum this January

20 January 2022
A Lost Heritage, de Havilland, Hatfield, oil by Edmund Miller, 1987
A Lost Heritage, de Havilland, Hatfield, oil by Edmund Miller, 1987, lent by Welwyn Hatfield Museum Service

Two new exhibitions featuring the heritage of Hertfordshire are on display at North Herts Museum in Hitchin.

Running to 27 February in the main museum, ‘Hertfordshire’s heritage’ is a collection of paintings and objects from museums across the county, and until 20 February, ‘A commute through time: History in the station underpass’ takes place in The Arches, part of the Terrace Gallery.

Hertfordshire’s heritage, until 27 February

The Red Curtain, oil by William Ratcliffe, 1916

More than 60 paintings and objects borrowed from museums across the county from Bushey to Stevenage will be on display, including William Ratcliffe’s 1916 oil painting of a house in Letchworth, The Red Curtain (right), from North Herts Museum's own collection. 

The oldest pieces on show are implements from a Bronze Age hoard and the most recent is Edmund Walker’s evocative 1987 oil painting The Lost Heritage, de Havilland, Hatfield (above), both lent by Welwyn Hatfield Museum Service.

The exhibition takes place thanks to the help of Hertfordshire Heritage Fund, which was founded in 1988 in response to concerns that historic treasures and artworks were leaving the county, and often the country. In 2021, help from the Fund allowed North Herts Museum to acquire The Red Curtain.

A commute through time: History in the station underpass, until 20 February

Hitchin rail commuters might be familiar with the photo murals in Hitchin train station’s underpass, which saw North Herts Museum use their large photograph collection to decorate the tunnel which connects platforms, in partnership with Groundwork East and Govia Thameslink Railway. 

A commute through time brings seven of the panels out of the underpass and into the Museum for a far less hurried look.  The panels cover the themes of recreation, shop frontages, transport, historic moments, football, faces and agriculture.

At the station, along with town maps from the 1750s, 1818, and 1930, you can also see panels on the themes of industry, war and modern Hitchin. 

Councillor Sam Collins, Executive Member for Enterprise, the Arts and Transport, said: "Those who know me will know quite how passionate I am about the history of our area, from the Roman remains near Hitchin to farming and agriculture right across North Herts we have a fascinating heritage and one to be proud of.

"These exhibitions let us not only show off our local history but also that of the rest of the county, with some stunning exhibits. Thanks to the Hertfordshire Heritage Fund for letting us show all of these treasures for free to the people of North Herts and beyond."

North Herts Museum is located in Brand Street, Hitchin, open Tue-Sat 10.30am-4.30pm and Sun 11am-3pm and admission is free – please wear a face covering.