The event was attended by over 80 invited guests, including the mayors of both Tring and Dacorum, the Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, our local MP, a representative of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and many individuals who had contributed in many different ways towards achieving this long-awaited and hard worked for goal. In particular, a very special welcome was made to Lord Rothschild, who kindly agreed to attend and take part in the opening ceremony.
The ribbon across the outer doors was cut by Tring Mayor Roxanne Ransley, and Lord Rothschild ceremoniously unveiled an engraved brass plaque to commemorate the event. The special guests toured the Museum, then the formal event was followed by an excellent buffet lunch in the Tring Auction rooms.
Since its inauguration in 1994, the Society grew steadily in numbers, and covers the parishes of Tring, Aldbury, Tring Rural (including the villages of Long Marston, Wilstone and Puttenham) and Wiggington. It is entirely voluntary, and obtained charitable status in 1996. It began to collect historic items which were stored in the Dacorum Heritage Trust store in Berkhamsted until such time when they could be properly displayed in the town’s own museum. After several possible premises were rejected, in 2005 the former office of Tring’s cattle market became available. Built in 1893 by Tring Park Estate and designed by William Huckvale, it now belongs to the Town Council, which agreed to sign a 20-year lease with the Society.
An application was made to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a modest scheme which depended on finance from a third party. This could not be obtained, so a new, more radical plan was drawn up to restore the building fully, and a further application made for lottery funding with the Town Council as formal partners. This was successful and work was started in 2008 when volunteers stripped out the old interior before the contractors started work to refurbish the building and restore the frontage to its original appearance.
Volunteers, advised by consultants, prepared the content of the museum, and a museum designer gave his time to design the interior. Artefacts were brought out of the Store under the supervision of the DHT curators, and The Museum finally opened to the public on 24 th September 2010.
The museum is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. It is stewarded by volunteers and there is no admission fee. School and other parties are welcome by appointment. Topics include archaeology, Domesday, the medieval Tring Tiles, straw plait, the Industrial Revolution, the Rothschild era and two world wars. For children, there is dressing up, an “archaeological dig” and large sized jigsaws. Do drop in if you have not yet done so – you will not be disappointed.
by Janet Painter, Tring Local History Museum Curator