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The Welwyn Hatfield Museum Service records, collects, exhibits and interprets the archaeology and history of the Welwyn Hatfield area.
We collect a broad range of items including photographs, costumes, sound recordings and artefacts relating to the district, which have been kindly donated by local people. If you wish to donate or loan an object to the museum service please contact us.
Brief Local History
Before 1920 the area was largely rural with centres of population in the small town of Hatfield and the village of Welwyn. The main industries were agriculture, its associated crafts and trades, retailing, brewing and the railway. The establishment of Welwyn Garden City in 1920 heralded a major change. In the 1930's the de Havilland Aircraft factory moved to Hatfield which became a crucial factor in the town's history. Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City were designated as New Towns in 1948.
Our comprehensive collection includes building implements, agricultural hand tools and milling equipment. Domestic life is represented by furniture dating from 1870-1960, laundry and cooking utensils, children's toys and family hobbies. Social and community life, local government, royalty, schools, churches and civilian life in wartime are also represented.
There is material representing local industries including de Havilland/Hawker Siddeley and BAe, Lonestar Toys, Murphy Radio and Cresta silks, as well as a small costume collection of items made or worn locally.
Local artists and personalities are well represented including two bronzes by the sculptor David Evans; Arts and Craft Movement tiles and British Studio pottery; Charles Paine's group of five posters advertising Welwyn Garden City as a fine place to live; a number of pen and ink drawings and etchings by George and Eileen Soper and a purchase of 150 caricatures and cartoons of Welwyn Garden City personalities in the 1930's and 1940's captured by Cyril Hards.
How Can I View Objects Not On Display?
Only a small fraction of our collections are on display. Our collection of oil paintings can be seen on the Art UK website, which is supported by the Public Catalogue Foundation. If you wish to view any of items not on display, you can contact us to arrange an appointment.
The Resources Room
Would you like to find out more about the history of your old workplace, street, school or village? We may be able to help. Our resources room is open on Thursday mornings between 10am and 12 noon, or other times by appointment. You can browse through old photographs, search local history information files on anything from highwaymen to privies, or just chat to our volunteer local history experts who staff the facility. To book a visit or make an appointment please contact us.