Documents from the Archives of

William Brown & Co

Auctioneer & Land Surveyor, High Street, Tring

Papers in the
Dacorum Heritage Trust Store

Dacorum Heritage Trust

Preliminary Report

There are a significant number of documents in the store, some of which are on lone from Brown & Merry, and some reached the store without going through the Tring Local History Society. I spent about a hour looking at the contents of four boxes - and it is clear that a full report would take many days .... So just a few notes of what I discovered:

Tring Agricultural Show 1842-1889

This is a small collection of documents mounted in book form. It starts with a manuscript list of members of the Tring Agricultural Association in 1842, together with the competitions for the 1842 show. This was followed by an assortment of documents including a large folder poster (fragile - so I didn't unfold it.)

Tring Agricultural Show Press Cuttings 1902-1930 & 1931-1938

Two huge scrapbooks filled with press cuttings from a very wide range of sources. It includes reports from local papers and articles from specialist agricultural journals.

Tring Agricultural Show Visitors Book

A medium sized conventional visitors book with a large number of entries between 1905 and 1914.

Tring Agricultural Show Programmes

A good collection of printed programmes. The earliest I noted was 1859 and the latest 1939. The oldest was a very slim booklet, while the 20th century booklets were significant paperback detailing all the entries.

Customer Account Books (Insurance Valuations, etc)
1875-1885, 1885-1893, 1893-1898, 1899-1912, 1912-1921

These books contain comparatively detailed descriptions of property together with a valuation for insurance purposes. (One from 1875 contained details of the old Rose & Crown, Tring, and other property) There may also be records of other types of transactions as well. However the books clearly were distinct from the Customer Account Book we purchased on ebay.

There was also an index book of property Auctions and Valuations 1928-1955 - which had one line entries with a reference to a bundle number (lowest noted 1786, highest 4200). This may be a continuation of the above volumes - with the details being filed separately in numbered bundles. The numbering suggests that 50 years ago there could have been of the order of 5000 bundles of document, etc, stored in the Brown & Merry Offices.

Box of Assorted Documents

There was a box of miscellaneous documents - many from the 19th century - including some with William Brown's signature on from 1837, show programmes, property particulars, bundles of documents (which I did not open), and some material whose relevance to Brown and Merry was not immediately obvious - such as a box of glass negatives with place names I did not recognise. The kinds of documents and dates seemed similar to some of the material in the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, Aylesbury, and may be complementary - with the original material being split into Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Farmers Annual Account Book
by William Brown, 3rd edition

William Brown published a specialist diary for keeping farm records which was sold, in various editions over many years. There is a copy, used on a farm. probably at Marsworth in 1876.

Ordnance Survey Maps

I noticed in the DHT index that there were a large number of large scale ordnance survey maps with properties identified. (It could be that someone went through the B&M archives and took out most of the annotated maps - and most of the maps being sold on ebay are the unmarked residue.)

Other Material

There are other boxes containing relevant material which I did not see, including some referring to court cases (perhaps where valuation or survey evidence was involved??).

Overall Comments

There is a wealth of material in the store relating to the Tring Agricultural Show and to Brown & Merry. It is clear that some years ago quite a bit of material was transferred to DHT, with some going to the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies. However the sales on ebay show that some important material remained in the office - especially the Client Account book from the 1850s - and it may well be that more was discarded at that time.