History of the Friends

In the late 1990s, Dr Dennis Lewis and John Deans together established the Mill Green Heritage Trust, chaired by Dennis. The main object of the Trust was to develop the whole of the Mill Green site as a heritage centre, utilising all the buildings. However, in 2000 the Council sold off the three remaining untenanted cottages to fund the new store and meeting room now adjoining the museum, so Dennis and John suggested forming a separate body to support the Museum Service. A formal note was circulated to the Trustees by Dennis, dated 17 November 2000, which included the following:

'Our role as the would-be developers of the Mill Green site as a heritage centre is therefore called into question ... However, there might be something to be said for establishing a 'Friends of the Museums Service' to support the work of the staff and to provide a means of recruiting further volunteers...'

The Mill Green Mill Restoration Trust remained, helping to manage and to look after the mill.


In November a small working group, chaired by John Deans including Carol Rigby, Caroline Rawle, Richard Busby, Keith Armstrong-Jones and Brian Lawrence, planned and established the framework of the Friends' organisation.


In June The Friends' group was publicly launched, with Jubilee Gardens formally opened at Mill Green. A formal inauguration meeting and election of the first committee followed.



Shown in photograph, left to right: Sylvia Clarke (Treasurer), John Cast (Secretary), Dennis Lewis (President), Bernard Williams (Editor), John Deans (Chairman), Derek Fitzhugh (Vice-chairman), Brian Lawrence (Membership), Caroline Rawle (Museum Manager), Carol Rigby (Head of Community Services).


 Tony Rook

In July the first talk was given to the Friends, by Tony Rook: 'Recent work of the Welwyn Archaeological Society'.

In the Summer the first edition of Friends' Forum, edited by Bernard Williams appeared.


In September, at the Friends' first AGM, the Chairman reported membership of over 160.


Friends' Forum 17


The 16th edition of Friends Forum was enlarged from A5 to A4 and produced in full colour under the new Editor, Hazel Bell, assisted by Celia Gould.



Group photo


In July Lord Salisbury agreed to become the Patron of the Friends, and visited Mill Green, with Lady Salisbury.

In September the fourth AGM was held at Bush Hall Hotel, attended by Lord Salisbury who addressed the members.



Friends 10th Anniversary Celebration

In September the first ten years since the Foundation of the Friends was celebrated.

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