The new programme for 2024 

If you are interested in the Gade Valley area, maybe as a resident or as a former paper mill worker, or even as someone interested in local history, this is a programme for you. We have invited a number of extremely knowledgeable historians to speak on their areas of expertise. If you thought Hemel Hempstead had no history, or you knew everything about the local paper industry, we guarantee you are wrong!

Your ticket will cover the talk, a fish and chip supper, tea and coffee.

All talks take place in The Tudor Room at Apsley Mill Cottage,  HP3 9RL  The Tudor Room is the preserved boardroom of the former John Dickinson and Company and there is one flight of stairs to get there. The Cottage is the white building with the Basildon Bond clock, opposite Apsley Station. There is plenty of available parking in the shared Apsley Paper Trail/Paper Mill Pub carpark. Please register your car on the day with us.  We will collect registrations to add to the system at the start of the talk.

*The programme below is to be expanded. tickets will go on sale soon.

The Lion Goes To War – Michael Stanyon    

From Napoleon to World War I. With additional information and images, to the book of the same name. – Friday 26th April, 7-9.30pm

Riot and Insurrection in Hertfordshire – Michael Stanyon     

The Swing Riots in the Chiltern Area. – Friday 24th May, 7-9.30pm

The Basildon Bond Story – Michael Stanyon    

The development of this well-known stationery brand – Friday 14th June, 7-9.30pm

The Arrival of the Railways in West Hertfordshire. – Michael Stanyon 

London to Birmingham, Apsley Station and the Croxley Paper Mill internal rail system. – Friday 6th September, 7-9.30pm.

Note: we do not have a drinks licence for this site, so no alcohol will be available.

Idle Women and the Grand Union Canal – Brian Hill

The Land Girls of WW2, the Idle Women were trained to operate the narrowboats.  Learn all about them in this presentation. Friday 18th October, 7-9.30pm

The Fire Service in Britain- Peter Hailes and Paul Sturman

The history of the fire service in Britain, from Roman times to the present day. Factual and anecdotal presentation by two former paper mill firemen and members of the Frogmore Paper Mill Heritage Fire Brigade – Friday 15th November, 7-9.30pm.

Our Speakers

Michael Stanyon

A talk by the authority on paper mills in The Gade Valley, the creator of the Apsley Paper Trail Archive and brilliant speaker, Michael Stanyon. since handing over the reins of the archive to our Collections Officer, Mike spends his time researching, speaking and writing works about the heritage of the area. He is an associate of The British Association of Paper Historians and has contributed to many publications, as well as authoring his own books. If anyone knows the history of the Gade Valley, Mike does!

Peter Hailes

A valued member of the Frogmore Paper Mill Heritage Fire Brigade, Peter’s knowledge and first hand experience of the paper mill fire services, will enable him to deliver a fascinating presentation. Peter is a part of the team that attend events including the annual Potten End Steam rally. When Peter’s stepped down after more than 15 years as the Leighton-Linslade Town C rier, he received the town’s Honorary Burgess Award. Peter also takes on the role of Santa for our Storyboats but shh, please do not tell the children!

Paul Sturman

Paul is a fourth generation fire fighter, with an extensive knowledge of  the fire service in the Gade Valley paper mills.  Paul is a member of our Heritage Fire Brigade, who maintain and care for our heritage fire equipment and promote the industrial fire service, by maintaining the John Dickinson Fire Brigade Facebook page.  Together with the HFB team, he takes the Frogmore  Mill 1938 Dennis Fire Engine, to steam fairs and events.  Paul’s historical, technical and hands-on experience will enable him to answer any of your questions.

Brian Hill

Brian is one of our stalwart volunteers, assisting with restoration of artefacts post fire, second in command in our bookbinding section and currently transcribing a number of the ledgers in our archive.

A former engineer with a lifelong interest in maritime affairs, in retirement, Brian consolidated his practical knowledge with a Diploma in Maritime History at Hull University.  With experience in vessels from Canal narrow boats to Ocean-going sailing ships, it seemed natural to use this knowledge to give pleasure to other interested persons.