Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews

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In 1974, the Reverend Robert Tebbutt of Tilehouse Street Baptist Church made a slideshow on the history of Hitchin. His slides and recorded commentary were rediscovered in 2015 and turned into a YouTube video by Sam Hallas. Thanks to Hitchin Historical Society for sharing this, which is now itself an historical artefact, showing views of the town from almost half a century ago.

You can see the video here (you need to switch on sound).

An urban street scene in 1973, looking towards a church in the distance

The west end of Hollow Lane in 1973, with the extension to the Telephone Exchange under construction; © 1973 Robert Tebbutt

Guest post by Lucy Slater

Lucy with a swimming trophy that she cleaned

As a university student with no prior museum knowledge, completing three weeks worth of work experience at North Hertfordshire Museum has been an eye opening and incredibly fun experience. Coming in to the museum for my first day as a complete novice was nerve wracking, but everyone at the museum was helpful, kind and willing to answer my constant stream of questions. My time at the museum has consisted of undertaking a multitude of tasks, such as digitising accession records, cleaning objects of interest (from local swimming trophies to ancient axe heads), and even locating a painting needed by the museum. Each of these tasks brought to light a new aspect of the challenges of museum work and provided me with new knowledge and skills. My goal for this work experience was to learn as much as I could, and the team at the museum made sure I reached that goal.

Local History truly comes to life at the North Herts Museum. My time here gave me a fascinating glance into the world of museum work, but also into the detailed and at times incredibly personal history of the district. From impassioned correspondence between the curator of the former Hitchin football museum and the clubs he requested objects from, to the extensive, colourful, and occasionally abrasive geology collection, North Hertfordshire Museum contains some of the most interesting objects I’ve ever had the opportunity to discover.

If ever you’re in the mood to be immersed in an engaging and dynamic museum experience, or wanting a challenging and fulfilling work experience placement, I cannot recommend North Hertfordshire Museum enough.

Guest post by Isobel Bailey (All Hallows Catholic College, Macclesfield)

My week at the museum has been an amazing experience filled with learning new skills, information and meeting new, fantastic people who have passed their knowledge onto me. I have thoroughly enjoyed this week and I feel as though I have had a real taster of what working in an historical environment would be like and has made me certain that it’s what I want to do in the future. On Monday I was given the opportunity to help Lucy, a masters student from York who was here this week as well, to identify the sexes of human remains; I really enjoyed doing this as Lucy taught me what to look for in the bones and so was able to determine the sexes independently. On Tuesday I was cataloguing stone artefacts many of which are fantastically preserved and were wonderful to look at. On Wednesday and Thursday I was cataloguing flint stones which involved drawing them, labelling my diagram and photographing the flints. On Friday I was lucky enough to look through the social history section of the stores for medical equipment for a display the museum is showing next week which will celebrate the NHS’ 70th birthday. My time at the museum has been wonderful and I am so thankful to the museum for my experience and how its sparked an excitement in me for my  career and the future.

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