Hertfordshire Genealogy

Guide to Old Hertfordshire


Hemel Hempstead

The 1898 Charter



Hemel Hempstead

The story of the granting of a Borough charter to Hemel Hempstead is as follows. The idea was first suggested by Mr. E. Pearman in 1866 and 1876 at the time of the election of Bailiffs, and he raised it again at the Pie Powder Court in 1866 after a Municipal Reform Act had been passed. A Civil Engineer, J. Harris, urged incorporation in 1894, after doing a careful study of the town's charters, but he failed to secure these from the vicar's custody. A much respected headmaster, Henry Dowling, was Bailiff 1895 to 1896 and during this year Harris and the Reverend D. Tatton, Congregational Minister, petitioned the Bailiff to call a meeting to consider incorporation. There was considerable feeling in the town at that time about the control exercised by a small group led by Stallon. Eventually he was the only person on the special committee to oppose the petition for a charter sent to the Privy Council in 1896. In July and October a Court of Enquiry was held. By the end of that year the matter was practically accomplished and Sir Astley Paston Cooper became the first mayor when Hemel Hempstead in 1898 achieved the direct transition from parish to municipal Borough, the only town to do this.

History of Hemel Hempstead


The following pictures of the Charter celebrations are by R. Schwabe and appeared in the Heath Brow Chronicle

The Procession

Hertfordshire Yeomanry





Ironmonger (2nd Prize)



Reading the Charter in the Market Square

Outside the Heath Park Hotel



Mounted Policeman

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