Hello. I'm a new member and a volunteer researcher for the Herts Gardens Trust. As researchers, we use archival documents, maps etc. and other sources to research the "lost" gardens of Hertfordshire. These are gardens that once existed but often are no longer be there. My current (and first!) project is to research the Victorian garden that used to be behind Presdales mansion. Presdales became the school in 1964 and new school buildings were erected over the gardens behind the mansion in 1963. The Presdales School Librarian has been very helpful and the school have a small archive of 35mm slides. I have also found a lot of old documents and maps etc. at the Archives at County Hall Hertford (HALS).
I have a lot of documentary evidence and illustrations from the 19th Century - Presdales Mansion was completed for Charles Cass and his wife in 1864, he was a wealthy Maltfactor in Ware from a family of maltsters and bargemen. The Presdales Sales particulars from 1879 have a black and white illustration of the beautiful garden that used to be behind the mansion and I have a photograph of the original colour version of this painting which has been passed down to a Cass relative.
I am struggling to find many photographs or documentary evidence from the 20th Century. A G Sandeman owned Presdales from c 1896-1917 and the McMullen family from c 1917 until 1947/8 when the property and estate was sold to Herts County Council. I am in touch with Fergus McMullen who is trying to help me.
If anyone has or knows of any photographs/articles of or about the school and its grounds and parks from 1900 to 1960's I would be very pleased to hear from you. I would be happy to make copies of any photographs at my own expense and will treat personal photographs with respect for confidentiality etc.
Hoping that someone may be able to help me with my research. Thank you.
Questions and discussions about the town's past
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