Meet the Trustees – David Dent

Lowewood Museum is now under the management of the Lowewood Museum Trust; a new charitable incorporated organisation. In this series of posts, meet the members of the Trust Board, with this article featuring David Dent, the Chair of the Trust.

David Dent has lived in the Borough of Broxbourne for most of his life. His family connections with the village of Wormley date back to the 1880’s.

David is a keen local historian and has collected information and old images of Wormley, Turnford, Broxbourne and Hoddesdon since the late 1970’s. Some of his collection appeared in two books, Hoddesdon’s Past in Pictures and Broxbourne and Wormley’s Past in Pictures, which were published in the 1990’s. His interest in local history was actively encouraged by two Cheshunt and Waltham Cross historians, Jack Edwards and Peter Rooke. Although they are sadly no longer with us, David acknowledges that their contribution and their donations to Lowewood Museum have added greatly to the wonderful collection housed there.

He is a former chair of the Friends of Lowewood Museum and is still a committee member. He is also a committee member of the Friends of Wormley Open Spaces.

David retired in 2017 when the family business of H. Dent and Sons, started by his late father, closed after nearly 60 years.

The long-term future of Lowewood Museum is something David cares very passionately about and he and his fellow trustees are determined to make it an asset that the local community can be justly proud of.

Meet the Trustees – Pete Dockar

Lowewood Museum is now under the management of the Lowewood Museum Trust; a new charitable incorporated organisation. In this series of posts, meet the members of the Trust Board, with this article featuring Pete Dockar.

Pete Dockar lives in Broxbourne with his wife and two young children, having moved from London 10 years ago to be closer to his wife’s family who have lived in the area for many years.

He is responsible for customer and digital banking propositions at Virgin Money UK and is a director of a number of the bank’s subsidiaries.  He was previously at HSBC, holding senior UK and European positions including UK Head of Mortgages.

Pete has a keen interest in Broxbourne’s rich history and local architecture. He is hugely excited about the opportunity for the museum to be a hub that by connecting people to their heritage, strengthens communities and deepens family ties. 

In his spare time, in addition to history he also enjoys running as well as composing and performing music.

Meet the Trustees – Claire Haggarty

Lowewood Museum is now under the management of the Lowewood Museum Trust; a new charitable incorporated organisation. In this series of posts, meet the members of the Trust Board, with this article featuring Claire Haggarty.

Claire Haggerty - trustee of the Lowewood Museum Trust CIO
Claire Haggerty – trustee of the Lowewood Museum Trust CIO

Claire Haggarty is a qualified primary school teacher and volunteer manager from Bedfordshire. “I began working in museums as soon as I graduated from university taking on various seasonal visitor services roles and freelancing as a museum educator. I had great fun working in museum education using costume and theatre to bring history to life. It offered balance to the sometimes stressful duty management of busy visitor attractions dealing with anything from ticketing problems, or visitor complaints right through to first aid calls and broken-down cars in the visitor car park.”

Claire received a Highly Commended at the 2016 Volunteer’s in Museums Awards for Supporting, Managing and Encouraging Others in her work recruiting and training volunteers on the Painted Hall Project at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. The project which received £7.7million from the Heritage Lottery Fund was a unique opportunity for visitors to see the conservation of 40,000 sq feet of fresco ceiling up-close, and volunteers were recruited to lead visitor tours on the 60-foot internal scaffolding.

Since then, Claire has gone on to work for organisations like Age UK and Bletchley Park as a Volunteer Manager advising on policy development and people strategy. She actively volunteers as a part of her hometown’s good neighbour scheme and as a steering committee member of the Heritage Volunteering Group, a group of heritage professionals who come together to promote best practice in volunteer management across the heritage sector through training and events.

A keen quilter and chef, Claire can otherwise be found in the garden or on her allotment.

Save the Date – Saturday 17 July 2021

David Dent, Chairman of the Lowewood Museum Trust CIO, preparing the temporary exhibition space ahead of re-opening on Saturday 17 July 2021
David Dent, Chairman of the Lowewood Museum Trust CIO, preparing the temporary exhibition space ahead of re-opening on Saturday 17 July 2021

Lowewood Museum can now announce that we will be re-opening to the public on Saturday 17 July at 10am.

This will include the start of the new exhibition ‘Tankards, Tales and Taverns’ recording the history of the Borough of Broxbourne’s pubs and inns.

Admission is Free. Social distancing and Covid-19 secure measures will be in place to keep everyone safe.

The museum will then be open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 4:30pm; with the intention to expand to other days and times in due course depending on volunteer capacity and external funding bid success.

The Lowewood Museum Trust CIO looks forward to welcoming visitors old and new into the wonderful museum.

Meet the Trustees – Bryan Hewitt

Lowewood Museum is now under the management of the Lowewood Museum Trust; a new charitable incorporated organisation. In this series of posts, meet the members of the Trust Board, with this article featuring Bryan Hewitt.

Bryan Hewitt – – trustee of Lowewood Museum Trust CIO

Bryan Hewitt was born in 1959 in the same house as his father. Actually he lives in the same street in Waltham Cross where his family has lived for over a hundred years! 

He has been working for the Lee Valley Regional Park , based at Myddelton House Gardens in Enfield, for 37 years where Bryan is their first Gardener/Historian. His interest in the Borough’s history was sparked by his father and encouraged by his early friendship with the legendary local historian Jack Edwards and later by Cheshunt historian Peter Rooke, both of whom became close personal friends.

A keen local actor for 50 years , he won the adjudicator’s award for best actor in the Hertford Theatre Week 1990. He is a member of Broxbourne Theatre Company and Potters Bar Theatre Company .

Bryan was a committee member of The Friends of Lowewood Museum for 10 years and is the author of “The Crocus King :E A Bowles of Myddelton House” (The Rockingham Press, 1997 , republished and updated 2017 ). 

Your Heritage, Your Museum

Lowewood Museum is scheduled re-open this summer and our new Trust Board is keen to forge a new direction for the Museum, reaching out to local communities across the Borough from Waltham Cross to Hoddesdon, Goff’s Oak and along the Lea Valley.

We are planning a three-year project, starting later this year, that will develop a series of locally generated projects enabling people celebrate their heritage, past and present, drawing on personal memories, local stories and the Museum’s collections, including our rich collection of historic photographs. 

We are seeking funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support locally generated exhibitions and pop-up events, virtual trails as well as to recruit a team of Community Curators to help us redefine the Museum’s displays and develop our website and social media content to share these stories and conversations.

We are particularly keen to engage younger people and socially isolated adults, particularly those who have been shielding.

Would you or your organisation be interested in participating in this project? If so, we would be keen  to hear from you. Please contact: museum@lowewoodmuseum.com

Meet the Trustees – Siobhan Monaghan

Lowewood Museum is now under the management of the Lowewood Museum Trust; a new charitable incorporated organisation. In this series of posts, meet the members of the Trust Board, with this article featuring Siobhan Monaghan.

Siobhan Monaghan – trustee of Lowewood Museum Trust CIO

Siobhan has lived in the Borough of Broxbourne for the last 20 years and became a local councillor in 2018. She took up the role of Cabinet Member for Housing & Community Services in 2019. 

She started her career as a Picture Researcher for Sport & General News Services in London in 1982. Not only working with TV, newspapers and magazines but also assisting on the cataloging of an extensive glass plate negatives collection housed in a church crypt. 

Following a period of time with The Heart Corporation in Soho working for Cosmopolitan, Company, Harper’s & Queen and Good Housekeeping, Siobhan moved in the world of Investment Banking and a career recruiting top graduates across Europe & America. 

Always returning to her creative side she continues to develop her skills as a silversmith and is currently studying jewellery design. 

She says “I see a museum not only as a link to the past but also a window to our future.  I want Lowewood to be a place of discovery, excitement and somewhere you want to return to time and again.  Working with this incredible team of Trustees & Volunteers the museum will be somewhere that you not only visit but will come to you.   It is for everyone throughout the Borough & beyond.”

Siobhan is also a Foster Carer, Chair of The Police & Crime Panel for Hertfordshire, member of The National Association of Police Fire & Crime Panels Executive, The Fawcett Society, The Conservative Women’s Association and The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.  

Meet the Trustees – Stephen Harris

Lowewood Museum is now under the management of the Lowewood Museum Trust; a new charitable incorporated organisation. In this series of posts, meet the members of the Trust Board, with this article featuring Stephen Harris.

Stephen Harris has lived in the local area all of my life and has run a successful self drive rental business since 1977. He currently chairs the Events and Promotions Committee of the Love Hoddesdon Business Improvement District leading on Town Centre events.

He works on a voluntary basis in partnership with others, structuring/marketing/promoting/advertising many outside events including preservation rallies, heritage gatherings and street entertainment. He also report on such events as a correspondent for national journals.

His hobbies include; the history of British commercial vehicles; the heritage of the Country’s towns and villages; the culture of the touring shows and pleasure fairs and consequently has been made an Honorary Member of the Showmen’s Guild.

His other memberships include; The Fairground Association of Great Britain; The Fairground Society: and the Whitewebbs Museum of Transport.   

Meet the Trustees – Lee Rayner

Lowewood Museum is now under the management of the Lowewood Museum Trust; a new charitable incorporated organisation. In this series of posts, meet the members of the Trust Board, starting with Lee Rayner.

Lee Rayner, one of the Trustees of the Lowewood Museum Trust CIO
Lee Rayner, one of the Trustees of the Lowewood Museum Trust CIO

Leone ( Lee) Rayner has lived in the Borough of Broxbourne since 1971 and taught in a local school until 1991. She then worked as a free-lance tutor in films and TV, as well as providing private coaching in English and History for O and A level students.

She has enjoyed a long  association with the Arts, most particularly with literature, theatre and music and has been involved in performing and directing in amateur theatre, locally, also creating some original material for performance and running children’s musical theatre workshops.

Since 2000, Lee has been Director of Programming for the Broxbourne Arts Forum (BArts) organising and promoting numerous ‘home-grown’ events and booking professional performances . For five years, from 2000-2005, she was Director of the Broxbourne Midsummer Festival.

Currently, in addition to devising an annual programme for BArts, she designs and produces publicity material for them, also for several other groups, and is creating numerous presentations and courses on Zoom, most recently a ten-week course on Shakespeare.

She has two daughters, six grandchildren, all grown-up, and seven great-grandchildren,  ranging in ages from eleven to four.

Lowewood’s logo – why is there a swan?

Have you ever wondered why there is a swan on the Lowewood Museum logo?

The Borough of Broxbourne, situated in the Lea Valley, is made up of four small towns —Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Hoddesdon and Waltham Cross—that originally were settlements along the course of the River Lea.

The river, its environment and wildlife have always influenced many aspects of life in the area and this has continued, in spite of urbanisation, providing street names, trade names for local businesses and the names of numerous local inns and pubs, some of which date back at least to the 16th century.  The name Broxbourne is itself a typical example of naming from the environment, from brock, an old Celtic word for badger and bourn, meaning small stream, a southern variation of the Scottish burn.

Swans are a common sight on the River Lea and other water courses in the district, so these have become particularly significant and representative of the area.  

The Four Swans Hotel, and gantry, in Waltham Cross in 1940
The Four Swans Hotel in Waltham Cross in 1940

At the southern end of the borough, in Waltham Cross, the Four Swans Inn was established around 1600. Its gallows-style sign once spanned the main road as approached when travelling north. The inn itself was demolished some years ago, but the sign has been preserved and now spans the pedestrian area in front of the Pavilions shopping centre. The four swans on the top of the sign  have been re-made of durable fibre-glass, but the original swans, carved out of elm,  can now be found in the reception area at Lowewood Museum.

In the centre of Hoddesdon, facing the landmark clock-tower, is the White Swan Inn,  a 16th century building. Known originally as simply The Swan or Old Swan, its current name has been established since 1756, when it could boast of stabling for sixty horses. The original inn sign, also gallows-style, once also spanned the main road north, as did the Four Swans in Waltham Cross, but, sadly, it wasn’t preserved.

The White Swan public house in Hoddesdon
The White Swan public house in Hoddesdon in 1960