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Hertfordshire County Council

Learn about Hertfordshire's history through workshops, talks and tours.

Alternatives to in-person workshops and talks

We can provide workshops or talks remotely through Microsoft Teams.

Contact us about a workshop or talk

Group visits to Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

Groups are welcome to visit us to see original documents or go behind the scenes at the archives.

Choose 2 or 3 options for your visit:

  • Tour of reading rooms and archive stores
  • Visit to the conservation studio
  • View original documents (to suit your group’s interests).

2 options

  • £35 for groups up to 15 people
  • £65 for groups up to 30 people

3 options

  • £50 for groups up to 15 people
  • £80 for groups up to 30 people

See all fees and charges


Hands-on workshops

Come and learn new practical skills from our expert staff. The following workshops are currently available:

Family History / House History

Join our senior local studies librarian as they reveal the best ways to take your research forward, whatever stage you’re at.

Workshop (up to 2 hours) – £65


School and university visits

Your school or university group can visit us, or we can hold a workshop at your venue. 

School or university session – £65

Our collections date from 11th to 21st century. There's so much to explore. Diaries and photos can inspire art and creative writing. Records about crime and punishment can reveal social and psychological change over time.

Come and talk to us about your area of study and together we can create a session for you.

Hertfordshire's Home Front online

Keystage 2 and 3 students can discover the little known world of Hertfordshire’s Home Front during World War One at Herts Past Policing.

Ebenezer Howard and the Garden City Movement

A session for Year 1 pupils which can be delivered at HALS and include viewing of original archives, or take place at your school for the same charge. 

The aims of this session are to :

  1. Gain a sense of who Ebenezer Howard was
  2. Understand his vision for the Garden City
  3. Appreciate how Welwyn Garden City has changed over time


Talks at your venue or online

We can come to you to give a range of lively talks about different aspects of Hertfordshire in the past.  Alternatively, we can deliver our talks online.  We recommend that you give at least one month's notice for your booking.

Talks at your venue are subject to a risk assessment.

1 hour talk, including questions – £65

(If your venue is outside Hertfordshire - £75, plus travel expenses)

Available talks

Hertfordshire’s Masonic Connection

This talk delves into the history of Freemasonry and its connection to Hertfordshire that has existed since the mid-18th century, whilst exploring some of their practices and secrets. Discover original records that were once present at Lodge meetings and learn about the different titles a Freemason might hold. We’ll also look at how these records can help you to trace your masonic ancestors


Protest and Change: Hertfordshire People Taking a Stand

In the half century since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England, views and laws have shifted. This talk charts a course through the Wolfenden Report, Section 28 and civil partnerships, tracing the protests, charities and individuals who helped bring about change in Hertfordshire and beyond.

Hertfordshire’s Notorious Witches

Witchcraft has a long history in Hertfordshire, with dozens of convicted witches. In this talk we explore the lives and cases of some of the county's most notorious witches, from Jane Wenham, one of the last people to be condemned to death for witchcraft in the country, to Joan of Navarre, Queen of England.

Welwyn Garden City: its ethos and development

2020 sees the 100th anniversary of the second garden city. Discover the ideas behind the town and find out how it developed over time.

Tudor Hertfordshire

A look at aspects of the Tudor era through contemporary Hertfordshire documents.

Treasures of the Archives

An introduction to the work of Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies and a look at some of the most beautiful and interesting documents in the collection.  This talk can be tailored to your local area.

Hertfordshire and the Slave Trade

A look back at Hertfordshire’s involvement in the slave trade, both as active supporters and fervent abolitionists.

Remarkable Women in Hertfordshire’s History

Starting in 11th century, this talk explores the contributions of some of Hertfordshire’s finest women, from Juliana Berners (bestselling Tudor author) to suffragette, Lady Constance Lytton.

Hertfordshire’s Literary Connections

Hertfordshire has both bred and attracted a large number of literary figures. We explore the county connections of Beatrix Potter, Graham Greene, Rebecca West and many others.

The New Town Movement in Hertfordshire

This talk explores the first post-war new town in Hertfordshire and explores the utopian ideals behind its creation and the realities of life for its residents.  The talk includes some early film footage and covers the Commission for New Town records.

Aspects of Hertfordshire in World War One

This talk gives an overview of life on the Home Front during World War One.   Find out what happened after the troops left.

Julian Grenfell – Hertfordshire's War Poet

Discover the life of this extraordinary young man whose life, which held so much promise, was tragically cut short in the Great War.

Ettie Grenfell

Learn about Ettie Grenfell, Lady Desborough – the last resident of Panshanger, whose extraordinary force of character enabled her to overcome both terrible loss in her childood and later as a mother to two soldiers of Lost Generation of World War I.

Apsley Cherry-Garrard: Hertfordshire's Antarctic explorer

A look at the writings of Apsley Cherry-Garrard of Lamer, Wheathampstead who accompanied Captain Scott on his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole, 1910 – 1913.

Land Girls, Brocket Babies and Beyond

Discover the many ways in which Hertfordshire people gave their support to life on the Home Front during World War II.


This illustrated talk explores the many diseases that have gripped the county from the 1300s to the end of the 19th century. We will be tracing the first steps in preventing and managing disease and taking the long view on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Let us know if you're interested in a different topic. We could create a new talk for you from £100.

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